Reflecting on the past 12 months, our 2023 end of year round up is a journey through the highs, the lessons, and the growth. Join us as we revisit milestones, celebrate achievements, and look forward to what this year holds. It’s a moment to appreciate the collective journey and the stories that have shaped our year.
We kick off this with a Letter from our founder Mrs Bukky Asehinde, to you;
As we bid farewell to 2023, I find myself reflecting on a chapter that almost didn’t happen – a chapter I was almost ready to close. I sat on my laptop about the same time last year ready to inform you that Bellafricana was shutting down!
I share this not just as a founder but as a companion on this winding entrepreneurial road.
Exactly a year ago, at the verge of giving up, I faced the daunting prospect of letting go of Bellafricana. Relocating to the UK with my young family added to the weight of uncertainty.
If you’re a dream carrier who recently relocated, the struggle might hit close to home! Balancing the need for a stable income against the pursuit of your entrepreneurial dreams can be a real challenge.
In pursuit of what seemed like a promising detour – 7 months of searching for a job, finally getting a new job as a Community and Marketing Manager – I walked away after just one month. Little did I know that this detour was a divine setup for a remarkable comeback.
At this juncture, I realised my passion for realising the Bellafricana dream had transformed into an unyielding obsession to achieve it.
This year, I dared myself to dream again: Have a look at the milestones summary –
- Re-Opened the Bellafricana tech-enabled community FREE in March 2023, a home for more creative entrepreneurs.
- Launched Bellafricana Pop-up Store in Nigeria in April 2023.
- Introduced Bellafricana Travels in April/May 2023.
- Launched Bellafricana UK with a pop-up event on London’s Oxford Street in July/August 2023.
- Introduced my first official course, the Invisible to Page One Google SEO Course in November 2023.
- Embarked on one-on-one business coaching sessions, charging at least £100 an hour, in November 2023.
I give all the glory to God for turning my test into a testimony. He has a way of working it all out for our good.
Why am I sharing this? Because I know the weight of uncertainty, the frustration of unmet expectations, and the contemplation of letting go. If you’re at that crossroad, let me be the voice that says, “Your detour might just be a setup for a remarkable comeback.”
Hold on, dear entrepreneur. Trust the process, the detours and the unique journey that is yours. It’s not always about the speed but the direction.
May your year close with hope, renewed courage, and the unwavering belief that, indeed, the best is yet to come.
Rooting for your journey,
Bukky Asehinde (Founder, Bellafricana).
We started the year 2023 with our members meet-up. We are always keen on having our members start the year on a high note and the meet-up is put in place to have them come together to network, collaborate, and set goals together.
By now you should know that Bellafricana isn’t just a community that helps creative business owners grow, we are a family.
The wellbeing of our members is as important to us just like the growth of their businesses and we are so glad that our members are always able to draw strength from one another to keep going.
In February, our founder, Bukky Asehinde visited the Pure London Fashion Week in Olympia London (an event that brings together the brightest minds in the fashion and lifestyle industry twice a year) together with some Bellafricana members and used it as an opportunity to collect buyers & key supplier’s contacts for members
We kicked off March with an extraordinary news that our dynamic CEO, Bukky Asehinde, has not only caught the spotlight but has soared onto the esteemed African Founders list of 100 Most Inspirational Female Founders in Africa.
Bukky Asehinde’s journey has been a testament to resilience, innovation, and a commitment to excellence. Being recognized among the most inspirational female founders is not just an accolade, it’s a celebration of her relentless pursuit of excellence.
In a bid to deepen our commitment to the African Creative community, we opened up our doors to even more creative entrepreneurs to come into the Bellafricana family for FREE.
We did this to allow us serve more people, grow the community, and provide the support and resources creative entrepreneurs need to succeed. In just days of opening, we recorded over 2000 more members join the community.
Bellafricana got attention through various press releases, shining a spotlight on our unwavering commitment to supporting creative entrepreneurs.
The press release is a testament to Bellafricana’s dedication for its pivotal role in championing the cause of creative entrepreneurs. It emphasised our tireless efforts in creating a nurturing ecosystem that empowers and uplifts creatives entrepreneurs.
We hosted impactful webinars, with remarkable entrepreneur who graciously shared their journey through the world of creativity and business.
They took us on a journey from the inception of their creative venture to the strategies they employed in overcoming challenges. Their story resonated deeply, providing a firsthand account of the highs and lows of the entrepreneurial journey.
The impact was profound. demonstrating the power of determination, innovation, and passion within the creative business landscape.
If you would like to get some of the recap, click here
We understand how every creative business owner with amazing products constantly ponders on how to increase sales and that was why we had a webinar with the founder of Naijasalesmaker on “how to sell out your creative product and increase your sales in 30 days”.
The best strategies to increase sales were taught, and the impact on community members was very profound.
March left us on a sad note with a heavy heart as we bid farewell to a beloved founding member of our community, Ghaneeyah Sulaima-Olokodana.
In April, we launched Bellafricana Travels, we wanted to encourage as many entrepreneurs as possible to explore the world and see the endless possibilities outside their Country of Residence.
Our first destination on the map? The vibrant city of Kigali.
Our first journey to Kigali was nothing short of spectacular, with 18 travellers from Nigeria (60% first-time travellers).
We were greeted like kings and queens in Kigali, where we reveled in the joy, beauty, and positive energy.
For us, this journey was very important. From the amazing sights of Kigali to the intriguing encounters. Click here to see the throwback.
We’re already thinking ahead to the next trip while we reflect on this amazing one.
Stay tuned for additional updates on travel in 2024.
In the continued spirit of empowering our creative community, we hosted another impactful webinar, this time featuring the founder of Happy Coffee International, this visionary entrepreneur generously shared her journey. From ideas to the strategic moves that propelled her venture to where it is today.
We had an online fashion workshop and it was all about the theme “Business of Fashion. We learned how to rock the fashion world without breaking a sweat. CEO Bluvelvet Consulting shared smart tips on selling clothes online, how to get noticed, and the secret sauce to make your fashion business shine.
We also learned quick tricks for online success and simple strategies for making your fashion dreams come true.
Bellafricana Marketplace pop-up store in Victoria Island (within the Good Beach) officially launched for small creative brands to showcase their products. Making it easier for them to be able to sell to a wider audience.
We gathered for an unforgettable Easter meetup at the good beach, and oh, what a day it was.
We had a blast at the good beach! From beach games to chilling under the sun, it was all about fun, play, and pure relaxation.
It was really an unforgettable moment.
We set off on a creative trip together for 7days. Creative brands jumped at the chance to showcase their amazing works, build new relationships with customers, and increase visibility and sales during our 7-Day Creative Challenge.
We had over 250 creative brands, who were part of the creative challenge.
We had a family virtual chat, which gave us a great chance to be together, connect, and work together on a range of subjects that are important to all of us.
The goal of the virtual conversation was to establish a welcoming environment where we could exchange thoughts, perceptions, and firsthand knowledge, all while strengthening our community of like-minded people.
The monthly virtual expert drop-in session was created specifically to help our creative community get in touch with seasoned pros and advance their artistic endeavors.
Our Father’s Day pop-up event in the Bellafricana Market Popup store was fantastic! It was all about creating a unique and unforgettable Father’s Day experience.
We organized an exclusive course titled “Dollars and Designs,” which focused on creating a strong financial plan for your creative enterprise.
The program focused on the specifics of funding creative endeavors and was led by the founder Kobaaccountant, who is a seasoned financial expert.
Dollars and Designs go hand in hand in the creative industry. The purpose of this class was to equip you with the financial knowledge necessary to fuel the growth of your creative enterprise.
Imagine spending time online with seasoned creative entrepreneurs who have overcome obstacles, broken through barriers, and successfully monetized their creative visions. That’s exactly what happened during our virtual events.
Our guests talked about how they achieved success in the creative industry. It was an incredibly entertaining and enlightening conversation. We discussed business, creativity, and the keys to overcoming adversity and succeeding in life.
We launched a masterclass together with Princess Adeyinka Tekenah, founder of Happy Coffee International on Grant funding for Creative Entrepreneurs who are searching for the basic key to unlock financial support for their business.
In May, we launched our monthly expert drop-in sessions, exclusively for members of our fantastic creative community. This was an opportunity to network with industry experts and advance their artistic endeavors.
Not one, not two, but four experts were on call in June! They were all ready to answer any of your urgent queries on grant funding, branding, PR, accounting, sales, and marketing.
The power of a determined mind is this tremendous force that can propel you past obstacles and lead to amazing accomplishments.
We held a revolutionary webinar titled “Imposter Syndrome: Overcoming Fear of the Numbers in Your Business”. It was an incredible session designed to help them overcome those obstacles and acquire the financial self-assurance required to succeed in business.
We had yet another fantastic Instagram Live session! We had the privilege of speaking with three amazing creative entrepreneurs, and I can tell you that they gave some really insightful information about their backgrounds and experiences.
These tales serve as fuel for your own adventures, regardless of where you are in your creative journey. Learning from people who have been there, and done that, has a certain enchantment.
We were overjoyed that Her Network honored our CEO, Bukky Asehinde, for her exceptional accomplishments and services.
Her Network is a platform that champions and celebrates the achievements of women across various sectors, shining a spotlight on those who are making a difference.
According to their statement, “In the bustling world of small creative businesses, there is one name that stands out as a beacon of hope and support: Bukky Asehinde.
With a passion for uplifting and enabling creative entrepreneurs, Bukky has become a renowned champion and ambassador for small creative business owners around the world.”
We are incredibly happy for the CEO’s well-earned accolades. Our staff and the entire creative community are continually inspired by her dedication and vision.
We understand that, particularly if you’re choosing to keep things quiet, it’s easy to feel a little alone despite being a part of a community.
Our meet-up in Lagos mainland was more than simply an occasion; it provided an opportunity for community members who had never before interacted to become friends. Envision the delight of finally putting names to faces, the relationships, the ease, and the laughter.
Our founder got featured in her first International Podcast on Third Culture Africans. Click here to listen…
Bellafricana officially launched and registered in the UK. We held one of London’s biggest pop-up events in Oxford Street, and it was a huge success. With a record of 21,000+ shoppers over the 7-day pop-up event. It was a celebration of culture, creativity, and community rather than just a spectacle.
But there’s still more! We provided the entertainment with activities that made everyone laugh, a karaoke session, and, of course, a mouthwatering spread of food that satiated every appetite.
Our CEO discussed how businesses may thrive by prioritizing community in a critical talk with Founders Institute.
Consider a discussion where the topic of the importance of community to startup success was raised. Our CEO gave tips, tactics, and experiences on how to take a community-first stance.
Talking with Founders Institute gave her a chance to add to a larger discussion about building community, connection, and cooperation within the startup ecosystem.
Bukky shared how she pulled off a successful pop-up London event on Oxford Street to community members as a means of encouraging them to DARE-to-dream-BIGGER.
We hosted a mindset webinar together with a mind hack coach who shared about the mind, money, and business.
We released free ebooks on getting funding for African Creative Startups and on how to boost sales to further enable our community members. See them here…
All work and no play, they say?…
We hosted a virtual movie night with Bellafricana members so they could chill, relax, and take a break from running a business.
In October, we teamed up with the team at Waffles AI to host a webinar called “From Chat to Check out: Mastering eCommerce Growth with Whatsapp’. A workshop to help them understand how to sell more online via WhatsApp.
Bellafricana showcased and promoted some black artists, creatives, designers, and entrepreneurs within the community across our various marketing platforms. This gave us an opportunity to not just celebrate and encourage them but to also have other members be inspired by their creativity.
Bukky Asehinde launched a Google SEO Course Program focused on showing creative entrepreneurs with handmade products how to rank on the first page of Google so they get found (online) globally and be in the top 10 in their industry without bothering about social media algorithms.
26 founding members got the opportunity to learn and join the Invisible to Page One Google SEO Course Program.
Can’t wait to join the next Cohort? Click here…
December started on a high note. Talk about ending the year with gratitude. Bellafricana was honored as one of the top 100 fastest-growing SMEs in Nigeria for 2023 by Business Day.
This award was a celebration of every creative in Bellafricana, every entrepreneur, every customer, and every partner who has been a part of our journey.
As a norm in the Bellafricana Community, we like to end the year with some warmth and extend an act of kindness amongst our members. We re-introduced the December Gift Exchange, where members of our community pick their fellow members to gift them as a way to appreciate and encourage them for the year ahead.
This always has a huge impact on our members…
The year is definitely one we would never forget.
Thank you for staying with us throughout the year and being a part of the Bellafricana journey.
Let’s countdown to the year 2025 (Happy New Year in advance). I can’t wait to send you letters.
Oh yes! Before I leave, here are 4 major focus for our first quarter of 2024:
1. Bellafricana eCommerce in the UK is coming…
2. Bellafricana storage and fulfillment solution for creative business owners who are ready to expand in the UK and global markets.
3. Invisible to Page One Google SEO Course Cohort 2 is coming..
4. The Bellafrica Pop-up London 2024 is coming..
Excited? We are too..
Thank you for reading.