20-year-old Law student, Tijani Abimbola is our spotlight on this week’s Securing Her Bag series. She first made money from helping her schoolmates copy notes, now she runs a thriving skincare brand.
What Was Your First Memory of Money?
When I was little, my dad used to have this really cute envelope where he saved money for us and he used to encourage us to save anytime he gave us our allowance. Also, whenever we went to parties and they gave us money we would keep it in the envelope. So, I started to realise how important money was because, at the end of the year, we would use the money to buy anything we wanted.
What Did You Buy at the End of the Year? Did you save some money for yourself?
The goal was to save the money till the end of the year and spend it. It was the end of the year, so I used the money to buy balloons, toys and fireworks. One time I got a really cute watch for myself and got a gift for a friend.
What Was the First Thing You Did to Earn Money?
Back in secondary school, I used to help people copy notes and draw and they gave me small amounts of money, N100 here, N200 there and I used the money to buy things for myself. Mostly things I couldn’t ask my Parents to buy and I liked feeling independent.
What Career Ambitions Did You Have as a Child?
When I was little, I didn’t actually have any personal ambition to become anything that was for myself. My mom had her own ambitions for me to be a doctor or a pharmacist so I could take care of her if she was sick and I basically just went with that. It was when I was in SS2 in my third-term that I realized that I actually wanted to be a lawyer, and I switched from science class to art class.
Why Did You Want to Be a Lawyer? You Have a Passion for My Lord May I?
I found law fascinating because I’m the person that wants to prove a point and have the final say. Even though the practice of law in this country is shitty and there are so many anomalies but deep down at its core it’s still an interesting field of study. There are very practical real-life applications of what we learn which I find very interesting.
We get to save good people from trouble and put bad people away, so we are basically superheroes.
Enough of Law, What Inspired You to Start Your Business?
The whole reason for my business is my desire not to be dependent. I don’t want to have to ask my parents for every little thing, I like having my own money so I started my business during my diploma year. Everyone was always complimenting my skin even when I wasn’t doing much. So, I started researching skincare and DIY routines for better skin which led me to start selling coconut and carrot oils but now I’ve grown
How Did Your Parents Feel About You Being a Business Woman?
My mum was really supportive. Only my mom and my brother knew at the time because my mom used to send me the ingredients for the oil from Lagos. That’s how supportive she was and my dad didn’t know it at the time.
During the lockdown, I told my dad that I wanted to learn it properly but he was quite sceptical and worried that I’d burn people’s skin and they’d sue me eventually.
But I persisted and he eventually agreed to pay for the training. And it’s been 2 years since I finished the training and started running my business. But since then, they have been very supportive.
What Has It Been Like Running a Business?
It has been great for the most part. There are really good business days like this time a guy wanted to start a similar business for his babe and purchased a lot of products, in bulk and there are trying times, days I could go without any sales.
Moreso, it can get really overwhelming. Right now, because I’m recently transferred, I have to focus on school a bit more, so I had to teach my mother how to make everything, so she handles the production and sends them to me then I handle advertising, content creation, and coordinating deliveries and trust me, it can be draining.
On some days I just want to go off social media but I can’t because I have a business to run and customers to attend to. But really, I’m proud of how well I’ve built my brand so far, I enjoy the business and the pros outweigh the cons.
What challenges have you faced since you started?
Dispatch riders have frustrated me!!
Right now, I need a dispatch rider that works for my brand personally. Most of the ones I’ve worked with are simply unreliable, you call them and they delay you, when they eventually come and pick up the product, they deliver late, sometimes I disappoint customers and they get angry without me bearing any fault, I just bear the brunt of the anger.
Another major challenge is being consistent with content creation. Right now, my brand’s social media pages are lagging. When I have time, I create amazing content on my own and it’s no stress but I’m becoming increasingly busier and I need professional social media management.
What Is Your Experience Juggling School and Business?
It’s been really tough but I try not to let my business get in the way of school but it can be really stressful, especially during the exam period. Right now, is a good example, I recently transferred to a new school and it’s been a lot of work adjusting. I haven’t been posting work stuff as often as I’d like to because I don’t have time.
What Advice Do You Have for Anyone Starting a Business?
Starting a business may seem like a lot at first but you just have to stay consistent, consistency does help a lot, even when it looks like you’re making little gain. Do your thing and it will pay off in the end.
Securing Her Bag highlights the entrepreneurial and career journeys of Nigerian female university students. If you’d love to share your story on the Securing Her Bag series, please send an email to email@example.com