Our Takeaways from the Most Perfect Black Entrepreneur We Seen to Date

The National Black Programming Consortium developed a series called “Africa: Open for Business” that highlighted real entrepreneurs and their journey creating businesses and opportunities in Africa. This is a great series on YouTube to not only watch but learn from. We are going to focus on one entrepreneur in Lagos, Nigeria and her operation and break the whole video down for brothas and sistas to learn elements of creating the kind of business that help us do for self, our people, our community and our future. I want to give two warnings to certain African-Americans who may be disturbed after watching this video. The first warning is we are going to cover an extremely beautiful, passionate, intelligent Black woman that is a real Black woman, not that stuff you see on reality shows in America. If a brotha watches this lady in this video, he is going to learn what a real Black woman look like and raise the bar on the kind of woman he really want to grow with, partner with and spend the rest of his life with. The second warning is African-Americans, especially young African-Americans is going to be further frustrated from Black Enterprise magazine and other garbage Black American media that focus on ego-stroking top 100 African-Americans instead of laying down the framework and patterns and practices of Black economic empowerment. After seeing this video and the break down the business model and business operation of this Black entrepreneur in Nigeria, African-Americans may never want to read these Black business magazines or the rest of that crap that ain’t showing brothas and sistas how to really do it. Now that you got your warnings, you have to deal with a cold hard fact before we proceed. Right now in the 21st century, Nigerians is leading the global economic development revolution for the entire African Diaspora. Nigerians are straight going at the gully and low-level street level of the hustle establishing themselves as immigrants in many countries and creating markets that other people from Africa as well as the rest of the African Diaspora can come in and help. While brothas and sistas in America got egos and too ignorant and divided to grow anything anywhere, Nigerian brothas and sistas has done a lot to accommodate other brothas and sistas from places like Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya, America and elsewhere to find work and establish immigrant communities throughout the world, particularly Asia which is a strategy market for us brothas and sistas. As a African-Americans that is thinking in the 21st century frame of mind for the African Diaspora, I fully appreciate and acknowledge the unselfish pioneering efforts of our Nigerians brothas and sistas and respect their leadership and guidance towards global economic development of the African Diaspora. The Nigerian lady in this video is extremely phenomenal and in my personal opinion, this is probably the best Black entrepreneur I’ve ever seen in the world that is relevant to everybody in the African Diaspora. I recommend you watch the video first, let us break the video down and watch the video one more time to fully appreciate and learn a lot from Adenike Ogunlesi, the founder of Ruff ‘n Tumble in Lagos, Nigeria. The Start In the beginning of the video, you hear Adenike Ogunlesi explain how she used to sew women clothes for a living. Then one day, she sew some pajamas for her children and others like it and wanted to buy it. She saw a business opportunity with her craftsmanship and pursued it. Many of you brothas and sistas have craft, have talent but you have to learn how to apply your craft as a side hustle. It ain’t going to be direct like a UPS truck driver can probably operate street marketing logistics and have a keen eye where the money is at and what places to avoid. Every last one of you got talent and an angle you can apply and you have to believe in yourself and look in yourself to find it. The second thing you should notice is her husband, a very wonderful husband was there helping her and advised his wife to think bigger and better, like a real Black couple should be doing for each other. Don’t just do pajamas, build a whole line of clothing for the kids. Notice she stated clearly, she stuff all of her clothing she personally sewed into her trunk and sold at every bazaar market out there. She started small and at the small level, another problem of African-Americans who think they need to blow up big from the start because they graduated from a 4-year college or got an MBA and think they too good for that. This is why I keep trying to explain to you cats about starting up a $5/month Godaddy web site to run hustles to start small and just get the name out around the people on the street level. Now, what was not mentioned and this is where we can fill in the blanks. She probably established her clothing line at multiple bazaars throughout Lagos and this probably helped her business skyrocket. This is a business strategy known as clustering and I have an article I have to finish editing because 7-Eleven in Japan use this model and explain how they do this in detail by clustering many stores in one area instead of being spread out. It makes better logistics and also, many people in Lagos probably traveled to many market bazaars and saw Adenike Ogunlesi clothing line at each one, reinforcing her brand and product line to that general population as a whole. Think about creating a product and instead of trying to go nationwide all over, you focus on flea markets or swap meets or corner stores only on the Southeast Side of Atlanta. Or better yet, you create Harold’s Chicken shack and focus only on the South Side of Chicago. Or Garrett’s popcorn and focus only on downtown Chicago market. This is the strategy of how you cluster and scale up your hustle and keep your hub and spoke model manageable for cheaper distribution and replenishment. This is exactly what Adenike Ogunlesi by using several bazaar markets, starting small in markets until she established her first storefront. Craftmanship Notice that Adenike Ogunlesi is not outsourcing but have her own factory to product craftsmanship. By having her own factory, she hires local people and gives her brand a source of local pride by the community as made locally in Nigeria. Also, customers are willing to pay a premium knowing she is building her products locally by craft. This is why I explain to African-Americans especially in places like Detroit that we got to go back to manufacturing, artesian and craftsmanship and start manufacturing our own products. Use the old warehouses in our community to create premium, local made and African-American made products that we can sell not only in our own communities but to a worldwide affluent audience like China and other emerging nations. Everybody in America want to chase quick money by trying to slap their name on a generic white label product that was made in China. Any African-American can get a white label tablet from Taiwan and claim they are the first “African-American tablet company” – that’s how ignorant and generic the game is among our people not trying to build from the basic artesian and craft level. President Barack Obama says it over and over again and says it passionately; we need the manufacturing sector kickstarted to create jobs again. African-Americans especially in places like Ohio and Detroit are on some nonsense not using their decades and decades of manufacturing line work to build plants to create products that can be distributed and exported worldwide to create local jobs in their local community. Adenike Ogunlesi in this video created her own sewing and manufacturing operation and you should have also noticed she used engineering processes similar to high quality craft operations in places like Milan and London. Yes, you should have figured out listening to her that she has a British accent but that is another area we are going to discuss. Real talk, we got to focus on building and manufacturing products even if it is a small team of 6 people. Personification I was quite pleased watching this video seeing Adenike Ogunlesi used her children for personification marketing for her Ruff n’ Tumble line of clothing. She stated it was the first time anybody in Nigeria marketed their clothes like that, meaning they using Black people to market a product made by Black people for a Black audience. I explained personification on this blog before as a pattern and practice we should take from Asia where we use images of our own people as the marketing brand. Right now, African-Americans are being marketed with a fake self-hate personification of light-skinned, long-hair Arab or East European looking women or some super dark bald-headed skinny African model, some thug or emasculated Black male image or a cornball corporate Black man or Black woman that talk through their noses about Chicken McNuggets on a Black radio ad spot. All of that is straight self-hate negative programming towards us African-Americans and it’s sad and need to stop. Notice the larger than life images of Black children on the second floor of the Ruff n’ Tumble store. She is showing her target consumers pictures of them, images of children that Nigerians can identify with and identify their own children in these clothing. This is the science behind the laws of attraction when used in marketing become powerful when we use personification to show real images of us using our products and services. This is the kind of marketing I demand from the African-American entrepreneurial community from this point on. Stop selling fake images of our people looking weak and servile and realize if this is our Black-owned and operated product, we are manufacturing own Black-owned and operated product and we know the only customers that are really going to support us is our Black people in our communities, then we need to use real personification towards our audience. When we go to Asia, we use real Asians as personification as well as when we enter markets in Latin America. Adopting Patterns and Practices from Successful Models Adenike Ogunlesi stated she went to Italy and sat in the Benetton store and thought to herself that this is what she wanted to do in Nigeria. Then she went to London and sat in Gap and said this is what I want to do in Nigeria. Adenike Ogunlesi went worldwide to gather patterns and practices and inspiration to bring back to the people in Nigeria. She didn’t only look at the boutique section, she learned to put the workshop upstair and the boutique downstairs like it is done in many modern shops in urban areas around the world, especially in Milan, Italy and London, UK. I used to work in the fashion industry and see that she adopted many of the modern fashion and apparel manufacturing techniques that she brought back to Nigeria to create her products on the same par as the Italian and London fashion houses. Notice she uses a sketch book and able to draw out and map out the hustle by hand, prototyping skills that I explain brothas and sistas here in America need to do. See, this lady was someone who probably sewed women clothes at a shop then start going all over the world to find her inspiration and pick up how the big dogs are doing it and apply those patterns and practices to her hustle. African-Americans always like to brag they go to London, they go to China, they go to Italy and so on but do they pick up patterns and practices that they can apply to their hustle? When are we going to learn as a people to start going worldwide and pick up hustle. If you don’t and cannot afford to travel overseas, you can get to Manhattan, even by Amtrak or you can get to Miami or Chicago and research what works and what does not work. Also, I mentioned retaildesignblog.net web site have wonderful examples around the world you can look at and be inspired. Look, you don’t need to go to fashion school or have a fancy degree or whatever to specialize in delivering top quality products. Don’t fall for that cute "qualified entrepreneur" narrative crap in Black Enterprise magazine where they try to embellish someone talking about they worked here, went to school there and all that other bullet point crap to fill content for an article. All you have to do is model your hustle after the successful operations and bring it home to your base of operations and serve it to your customers. Passion and Love for Her People What makes Adenike Ogunlesi the most perfect Black entrepreneur we seen to date is when she discussed her experience while in Zurich showing her Nigerian passport. She was told by the person handling her passport there was nothing good about Nigeria as if Adenike Ogunlesi should be ashamed of her Nigerian passport. In the video, Adenike Ogunlesi was moved to tears describing the event. She then turned inside herself and affirmed there is so much good in Nigeria and the possibility and opportunities and how the Nigerian people are very capable and dynamic. Adenike Ogunlesi loves her people and passionate about her love for her people and serving her people as an entrepreneur. She stated earlier in the video she has no need to expand to America or the UK as she is very fulfilled selling locally and possibly in other African markets. That’s because Adenike Ogunlesi invested in Nigeria and is reaping the rewards of loving her people and appreciating the love she gets back from the consumers who support her and her product line. I have the same passion as Adenike Ogunlesi where I’m not going to let anybody tell me there is nothing good on the West Side of Chicago, Southeast Atlanta, North Philly, Detroit or so on. I passionately believe there is plenty of good in our people and if we give ourselves the chance to go for ours and go out and get it, we can accomplish anything and not only prevail, we will take over the empire. I don’t need mainstream America to validate me or need Silicon Valley VCs to acknowledge or fund our ventures, I strongly believe my own people will invest in me through buying my products when they see I’m 100% invested in producing a quality product or service for my people. As a Family, the African Diaspora Can Learn From Each Other In this article, we highlighted an entrepreneur in Nigeria who created their own product line and retailing operation using some of the very same techniques and patterns we preach here on Dream and Hustle. Adenike Ogunlesi started the Ruff n’ Tumble brand from the trunk of her car selling at bazaar markets until she was able to get her own storefront. Then she focused on building the foundation of creating a manufacturing process to build and cater to her people directly. She then went worldwide to learn best practices and patterns and take home and apply to her hustle. She did all of this for her business in Lagos, Nigeria. As a result, Adenike Ogunlesi is one of the best blueprints we seen as an entrepreneur in Africa who started from small beginnings and able to scale her business and her operation by having that core foundation of knowing the craftsmanship. Now she is name-dropped all the time when it comes to African entrepreneurs and not only that, she is also one of our case studies of exactly how brothas and sistas should open and operate a business that allow them to do for self, their people, their community and their future.

5 thoughts on “Our Takeaways from the Most Perfect Black Entrepreneur We Seen to Date

  1. After reading this article the one spot I can think of is the North Lawndale community in Chicago. There are probably a handful of factories left and the others vacant. I can easily see someone obtaining the vacant plants at a low cost (properties in this area are dirt cheat) and ermploying the folks in this neighborhood.

  2. Yezir, godaddy grindin since july. Vendors on deck( some payin commsission and some flat rate posting fee) and tests been runnin through out. Ready to launch next month for end users. Every milestone reached has been enjoyed

  3. I agree. I like the fact that she studied Gap, went back to Nigeria and did her own thing. She didn’t try to get put on or get a deal with Gap. She created her own line and store based on what she wanted in Nigeria. You might be right….I can’t look at all these “Black Enterprise” ego businesses the same way anymore. She started from sewing pajamas to building an exclusive brand in West Africa for 16 years. That’s great. I like how she really wants Nigerians to succeed in business too. She is on her game..smart, beautiful, passionate businesswoman. I don’t know too many sisters doing business like Mrs. Ogunlesi. I’ll take this type over them bad girls and basketball wives anyday. Great blog and video.

  4. Ed,
    Thanks for doing this profile. It’s something that I personally needed to see to fully understand how to get this thing going.

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