A Letter of Encouragement To A “Dear Entrepreneur”

A letter of encouragement

I know, my dear entrepreneur, that sometimes the beginning of the year can stir a mix of emotions, including anxiety and fear.

I want you to know that you’re not alone in feeling this way. I’ve been there, standing at the intersection of aspirations and uncertainties. Two years ago, I, too, faced a crossroads that nearly led me to give up on my business. But here’s what pulled me through, and I believe it can be a guiding light for you as well. And that is why I decided to come up with A letter of encouragement to a “dear entrepreneur.”

1. Show Yourself Compassion:

In the pursuit of ambitious goals, we often forget the importance of self-compassion. It’s okay not to have everything figured out. Be gentle with yourself, change your perspective, celebrate your victories, and embrace the learning curves.

A Letter of Encouragement
2. Prayer and Divine Guidance:

Lean into your faith and seek guidance from God. Personally, prayer became an anchor during uncertain times. Trust in the divine plan for your life, and let it guide you through the uncharted waters.

Enter the year knowing that “God has worked all things for your good” not that He is still in the process of working it out!

Meaning: It’s not going to happen in your future, it is already DONE!

So renew your mindset to this FACT and OPEN your eyes to the opportunities around you.

A Letter of Encouragement

3. Show Up, Despite the Feelings:

There’s tremendous power in showing up, especially when the weight of anxiety tries to hold you back. Sometimes, the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other opens up new possibilities. Remember, courage is not the absence of fear but the triumph over it.

A Letter of Encouragement

4. Stop Overthinking:

Overthinking is a silent thief of joy and progress. Break free from the shackles of overanalysis. Trust your instincts, make decisions with the information at hand, and allow room for spontaneity and creativity.

My dear entrepreneur, remember this; you possess a resilience that has carried you through challenges before, and it will continue to do so. The canvas of a new year is blank, awaiting the strokes of your creativity and the colors of your determination.

I encourage you to carry these lessons with you. Be kind to yourself, seek guidance, show up bravely, and release the burden of overthinking. Remember, you have the strength within you to turn the uncertainties of the future into opportunities for growth.

May this year be a canvas painted with success, joy, and fulfillment.

With unwavering support and belief in your journey,

Ps: click here to listen to this message from me

Rooting for you always,

Bukky Asehinde (aka Creatives Mother Hen),

Founder at Bellafricana.

Bukky Asehinde from Nigeria Created a Platform to bridge the Global Buyer-Seller Gap for Creatives.

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”] Bukky Asehinde from Nigeria aims to help creative Indigenous businesses in Africa connect to their local and global consumers.  [/dropcap]

With the current Rise of Made-in-Nigeria (Africa) products, which is making more Nigerians look inwards to recover from the Recession.

Bellafricana.com is playing a key role in the Nigerian economy by helping as many quality creative small businesses be at the forefront of the market and creating richer platforms to enable them grow.

“We are not in the business of waiting for the government to fix every hole in the economy. We believe in creating and innovating ideas to make our economy a better place”.

As part of her mission to bridge the gap between creative producers of Made-in-Nigeria Non-oil products/crafts and their consumers, Bellafricana, a company owned by Bukky that promotes the beauty of Africa launched an online platform in April, 2016 showcasing unique businesses of products and services made in Nigeria (Africa).
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Meet The Founder of African Things | Exclusive Interview

I haven’t met this talented lady just yet but after speaking to her, I can already tell you how cool she is. A creative mind with a company that promotes African designs and culture in our everyday lifestyle called African Things. A graduate of the University of Nottingham with a BEng (Hons) in Product Design and Manufacture. Her name is Tosin Lawal. Let’s meet her.

Q & A

  • Please introduce yourself and your background.

I, Tosin Lawson, am a graduate of the University of Nottingham with a BEng (Hons) in Product Design and Manufacture. Coming up with new designs, whether it’s a new logo or a new product is what I live for. Every time I am out with friends or family, I am constantly observing my surroundings and getting new inspiration for new designs and solutions especially to empower Africans. My aim is to produce creative designs that contribute to make the world an easier and more enjoyable place. With my background in Product design I am able to be more creative and find new ways to improve the current designs that we have available; see some of my product designs on tossysibi.wix.com/tlawson-designs.

  • Please tell us about your work. How did African things start?

The reason I started African Things was to promote African designs and culture in everyday lifestyle. After schooling abroad and seeing how foreigners saw Africans; as poor and backward, I was very inspired when I returned home and saw that Nigerian fashion design especially in the area of accessories was beginning to boom. But I felt I could push the business further to international standards and include lifestyle items such as plates, household furniture and home accessories.

  • Where did the idea for African things come from? Where do you find the inspiration for your designs?

We take our inspiration from “Africa of the old”. Our African culture is rich in tradition, colour and excitement, but due to westernisation young people are rapidly losing touch with Africa, especially in their lifestyles. We want to modernize Africa, specifically the way the western world sees us. With African Things customers can feel connect with their roots by using our products such as backpacks, jewellery and more in their everyday lives without feeling embarrassed to say it’s African.

  • Can you remember one of the first things you crafted? What makes it memorable?

A pair of Ankara earrings, I remember I took an Ankara making class and one of the first things I made was an Ankara earring. I was so proud of how they came out; they were neat and looked professionally done. Wore them none stop for a week.

  • What are the challenges you face in business?

Quality control and logistics are the major challenges for African Things. Production in Nigeria has not been up to international standards but we are looking in to international production companies to outsource production and hopefully in a few years to develop a relationship where those companies may establish partner factories in Nigeria. In doing so they would also bring their skills and experiences to the youth of the country.

  • What is your most popular item ?


Kente Back Pack made by African Things on meet the founders exclusive interview

  • To what extent do you draw upon your Nigerian heritage for your work?

African heritage is at the root of our designs. The whole aim of African Things is to promote the African culture not just Nigeria’s culture. We have taken inspiration from Ghana, South African Even Kenya. We hope to someday sell across Africa and have our products unite the countries in Africa.

  • What are your goals for the future, both work wise and life?

My most important goal is to be happy and make a positive impact in the world. To know that my life made a difference to somebody’s life is my ultimate goal.

  • What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I love movies and the beach.

  • For someone who wishes to take up this kind of career, what kind of advice would you give them? Also, if you could give one piece of advice to youths who want to start their own company, what would it be?

Stay positive; don’t just make excuses make solutions.

  • And finally, I would like to give you this opportunity to share two to four images of your work and tell us a little about each.

This was one of the first bags I ever designed. I was so proud of how it came out in the end. It was the stepping stone to future things. It was a mono-strap bag that could also carry a laptop.

Dela Bag made by African Things a Bellafricana Verified Merchant

Dela Bag

The name ‘Dela bag’ was inspired by Nelson Mandela as it was finally produced around the time he died. The Dela bag was the bag that made people finally take me seriously. It was amazingly well done and looked expensive even though it did not ever cost more than N10,000. Right now it even cost N7,000. This bag taught me so much about business and myself and continues to motivate me to push the limits of my creativity.

Ankara Detailed Had Bag made by African Things a Bellafricana Verified merchant

Here goes another Nigerian talent doing great things. Well done Tosin, I am so excited to meet vibrant artisans like you that have a vision and are chasing that vision. I pray by Gods grace you will be successful in all your doings. Can’t wait to open your shop on Bellafricana marketplace.

Thanks Tosin for participating in Bellafricana’s Exclusive Interviews!

Wish you the very best in your business and look forward to partnering with you soon.

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Meet The Founder of Organic Life Plus & Beautifully Nappy | Exclusive Interview

I am excited to introduce to you the founder of the brand called Organic Life Plus & Beautifully Nappy. This lovely lady happens to be someone I have known even before she started her business, but her journey as an entrepreneur as drawn us together. She is really down to earth, with a great sense of humour and can turn you to a natural everything from hair, body products and all if you give her the chance. This is one of the things I admire about her and you should meet her too.

Q & A

  • Please introduce yourself and your background.

My name is Esione Rachel Asakome. I live in Lagos and I am from Edo state, Nigeria. I was born in the United Kingdom, but I was whisked back to Nigeria by my parents very early on. I studied in Nigeria from nursery through to secondary school, after which I did my A Levels in the U.K and went on to study Accounting and Financial Management in Loughborough University.

Thereafter, I came back to Nigeria to complete my NYSC, afterwards, I went back to Grenoble, France, Grenoble Graduate School to study International Business. I moved back to Nigeria completely in May 2014, roughly about 7 months later, Beautifully Nappy was started.

  • Please tell us about your work.

Beautifully Nappy, is a store dedicated to the acquisition of organic, natural and vegan friendly beauty products all across Africa. However, I do include select African American hair products. We do not stock a large amount of brands, because each brand we stock has to be tried and tested, to make sure they are indeed as effective as they claim.

The ingredients of the brands we stock have to appraised and the ethical promises of the companies we work with have to thoroughly reviewed as well. We are also launching our line of African beauty secrets from oils to herbs and powders under the brand name OrganicLifeplus.


  • How did Beautifully Nappy start?

Well, Beautifully Nappy really just happened. My health journey began when I was about 19 years old, my natural hair journey followed shortly. My growing obsession with all things healthy and natural lead to friends and family encouraging me to start a blog.

Honestly I think they encouraged a blog so I would stop talking to them about natural hair and finally talk to the world about it. So I began documenting my natural hair journey, I got a surprising amount of emails and questions from Nigerians on natural hair and where they could get products, so I did a test run.

I put a post with a list of natural oils, hair products and their prices up on my blog about two weeks to my return from France, I got a shocking response from interested parties who paid for the products I listed. I mainly listed products from my favourite natural hair and skin care brand, Sheabutter Cottage. I returned to Nigeria, I delivered the products I had acquired, but I didn’t do anything about starting a business, at that point I was just trying to help.

It was after living in Nigeria for a few months, and trying and failing to purchase authentic tea tree oil that wasn’t through the roof expensive, that I decided that there was a need for me to share my life style commercially. I started immediately by stocking products from a brand I have used for 4 years, a lot of the products I stock are an extension of my own life practices. I quickly went from being all about natural hair, to being about hair and skin care.


  • Where does your motivation for body/skin care come from?

After my hair fell of and my scalp suffered burns from relaxers, I returned to natural and started the Beautifully Nappy blog. The Beautifully Nappy blog, started as a means to showcase the beauty of African/ kinky curly hair textures, that was what led to the founding of my company. However, my decision to stock only natural, and organic beauty products stem from my own experiences with cosmetics.

I struggled with sensitive, acne prone skin, and throughout my life, harsh chemical skin care products only served to aggravate my situation. I discovered several chemical ingredients, despite their claims at healing where highly toxic to both our skin and general well being.

The skin is the largest organ in the body, anything we apply on it seeps into our blood stream, its surprising how many people are not aware of this and as a result are not very mindful of their choice of skin care.

My older sister, already a medical doctor and a naturopath, introduced the entire family to healthy eating as well, so I was just about ready to ditch the chemicals. I first started eating healthier, then I progressed to organic products and my skin responded with delight! I found organic products to be gentler, more healing and had little to no adverse effects as opposed to their chemical alternatives.

This was true for both hair and skin products, while there are several expensive chemical skin products filled with toxics, their natural and organic alternatives where cheaper and more healing. Indeed, I said cheaper, because organic products are worth the price and great value for money. While chemical products no matter their price are never worth their side effects.

We don’t just get sick from the type of food we eat, thus, if you are using a toxic products, the toxic chemicals will affect your health and vice versa. There in lies my motivation, a desire to live a healthy life, all round, a desire to thrive optimally, everything I use on my skin both food and beauty products are geared towards living cleanly, healthily and optimally.


  • Do you currently make your products or have plans to?

Currently, I do not make my own products, I source from trusted brands. However, as mentioned above, I have begun to source raw materials directly from source countries where I can, for my own line of organic products called Organiclifeplus, which specializes in African oils, herbs, powders etc. I also intend, to roll out a line of hair products under the Beautifully Nappy name, these are still in the testing phase. Unfortunately, I cannot reveal the ingredients in these lovely products until they are ready!!


  • What areas of concern do you see the most in this industry (beauty)?

Regulation and labelling. Well I think this is more specific in Nigeria and quite frankly the U.S (as the FDA does not require the listing of certain ingredients, even though they might compromise the integrity of the product).

The beauty industry in Nigeria is highly unregulated, and unfortunately end users are not very informed. This I fear might lead to future health risks, you have bleaching cream companies masquerading as organic or natural, and individuals purchasing their products believing them to be healthy.

You also have labelling issues, I find many Nigerian beauty companies do not list out all their ingredients, or some don’t list at all. This is highly dangerous, especially in the event that an end user is allergic to an ingredient etc.

That being said, certifications like NAFDAC are also not easy to achieve for well meaning small companies who want to get approved. The procedure is made very tedious and expensive.


  • Would you refer to yourself as a body/skin care specialist?

No I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t because I don’t yet have all my qualifications under wraps. I do a lot of research and often use myself and family as guinea pigs to tests the various product claims.

I would say that I am very knowledgeable about how products work, and what’s dangerous for your hair, health and skin. Also, it helps that my older sister is both a medical doctor and a certified natural naturopathic doctor, so I always have her as a cheat in terms of debunking “green washing” (a term for when products claim to be natural or organic and they are not”), and giving me advice on holistic beauty. However, I am learning everyday and I would be getting certifications to back me up.


  • What are the challenges you face in business?

The greatest challenge is convincing people to ditch the chemicals and go organic or at least natural. Humans are creatures of habit, its never easy to pull them away from what they already know. Another problem is striking a balance between high quality products and fair pricing, especially in this situation of rising exchange rates.


  • What are your goals for the future, both work wise and life?

Okay lets see, my long term goals are to have my brand in stores in Wholefoods in the U.S and Planet Organic in the U.K! Wouldn’t that be amazing? A Nigerian brand in organic stores like that, at that point our goods would be truly exportable. I don’t know if I am expressing this point properly.

Basically, my long term goals are to have my brand trusted all over the world. Aside from my own brand, I would also like to own an organic super store in Nigeria, which is why I started out stocking various brands and not just making my own oils. I believe customers should have choice.

I intend to finish up my ACCA exams and complete a Masters in Financial Economics, because finance was my first love before my organic life style change. I would also want to get certifications as a cosmetologist.


  • What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I am really shy; I don’t like speaking in front of large crowds. I am really chatty and most people don’t believe me when I say I am shy, but I don’t fare well with public speaking. I also don’t like taking pictures, I never know how to pose.


  • For someone who wishes to take up this kind of career, what kind of advice would you give them? Also, if you could give one piece of advice to youths who want to start their own company, what would it be?

For anyone who wants join the natural beauty industry, I would say be true to yourself. It can be frustrating at times trying to get customers to understand why they have to pay more for your products than others, but as long as you know you are truly providing the best at a fair price, then stick to it, your quality will show in your work. For youths who want to start their own business, I would say just do it, don’t think about all the reasons why it wont work. If you don’t jump your parachute will never open.


  • Anything else you think we should know about beautifully Nappy?

Well, I have a blog where I give free tips for natural hair and skin care www.beautifullynappy.com, you can also contact me from that site. My Instagram pages for my companies Beautifully Nappy and Organic Life plus are @beautifullynapy and @organiclifeplus respectively. So join me on there and grow with me.


Check out some of Organic Life Plus products below;

Organic Life plus essential oils bellafricana verified. One of the best natural beauty brands in Nigeria, tried, tested and trusted

Organic Life Plus shea butter Made in Nigeria Bellafricana verified Organic Life plus coffee oil bellafricana verified Organic life plus moringa oil bellafricana verified Organic Life Plus baobab oil, bellafricana verified Nigerian brand



Thanks a lot Rachel for the beautiful response, we are always proud to see young people growing a business.

We hope to join you in your journey as a successful business owner.

Here’s a link to Organic Life Plus page as a verified lister on Bellafricana: https://bellafricana.com/listing/organic-life-plus-2/

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