I started off as a little kid in Hackney, one of the most under privileged and violent boroughs in London at the time, my childhood though a happy one was full of teen knife crime, pregnancies and gangs. My parents had big plans for me and they took education very seriously so I was whisked away to boarding school, that one move greatly impacted my life in a positive way. I was very ambitious, even from a young age and that kept me going, my boarding school had under 10 black students in the entire school and I was one of them, I was determined to succeed. Now a qualified lawyer residing in Lagos, Nigeria and managing director/founder of Coco Skincare; a brand dedicated to offering skin products specially formulated to encourage healthy glowing skin. My dreams were valid.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
The initial hurdle was - capital, the business only needed a small seed to begin but at the time I was juggling a lot and didn't have any spare cash. I didn't want the window of opportunity to go so I reached out and secured a small amount, enough to get started.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
Thankfully my family have been rather supportive even when they've not understood my plans. My first real successful business, my lash line, my mum actually gave me the initial capital, she was so supportive even though to others I sounded crazy! I think all you really need is one person (plus yourself) to believe in your idea, so when others have reservations about what I am doing it truly doesn't bother me. You cannot expect everyone to understand or accept what you are doing, thats life, it makes it that much more exciting lol
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
I wouldn't say I am successful yet but I am resilient. My ability to keep going even when I am tired or when others have given up seems to have worked in my favour. Also be sincere and be kind, always be kind.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
Goodness, so much, I wish I knew how much money it required! At the beginning (even now). I spend so much building/developing my brands/businesses I barely get to spend on myself. You seriously need money to make more money. Even when your business is successful, take it to that next level, to expand or grow, more money is needed. I wish in school they taught us more about savings, investing, it would have been most helpful.
What advice would you give to an upcoming young and old entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Do what you can, where you are, with what you have. Do not be afraid to start very small, start and learn as you go along. Keep your costs down and continue to reinvest in the business, do not start spending lavishly when you earn a little bit.
Ultimately, read a lot about those who came before you, you will find a blueprint so you can save time by avoiding some common mistakes.