Metrowoman entrepreneur of the week: Oluwatoyin Onigbanjo
Oluwatoyin Onigbanjo is a Child Nutrition Educator, Recipe Developer and Nigerian baby food manufacturer. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public and International Affairs from the University of Lagos and a Diploma in Child Nutrition from Stanford University Continuing Studies. She is the founder of Augustsecrets Nigeria, a growing food company with a focus on natural, home-grown innovative meals for babies and toddlers. She recently launched her Baby & Toddler recipe book selling to hundreds of mothers within and outside Nigeria.
With strength in food art, she is often called The Picky Eater Specialist because of how she helps mothers get their children to love healthier meals. She was the first runner-up at the food art competition organised by Samsung Nigeria in 2016.
While working at her 9 to 5 job, Toyin started making her own range of baby meals from her kitchen in 2016 and has since then expanded to selling in 15 Nigerian cities, Ghana, UK and USA reaching over 60,000 mothers from all over the world using the digital media. She has been featured on various media platforms and taken part in CSR projects involving women and children. Her company, Augustsecrets, was listed among the 100 Most-Innovative Female-owned businesses in Nigeria by SME100. It also won the Bell-Africana award for the Most Innovative Company in Nigeria in 2017.
What problem does your company solve?
We provide creative and nutritious recipes to help solve the problem of “what should I cook for my child” for children between ages six months to 5 years, especially those of busy mothers.
How did you come about the idea for your business?
I had my son abroad and bought all sorts of pre-made baby foods, but at six months, he rejected them. I was frustrated as a mother that I had wasted all my money and then I had to look for locally-made weaning foods as an alternative. I started trying homemade foods with the support of my mom and nutritionists close to me, sharing my findings with friends and on social media, then the demand began to increase. I found out later that my son became a picky eater, then I moved on making food into creative art to get him to eat. My experience is what became my business.
What would are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Self-belief. Hunger to learn. Genuine love for people/people management.
How did you handle failure?
Well, some of our sales strategies didn’t work, but we have learnt from them and moved on.
How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
I am a very resilient person. I am always self-motivated so I must have tried every means possible before giving up.
How many hours do you work a day on average?
I sleep for four to five hours or less sometimes. So the other hours are for work!
Describe your typical day?
Wake up. Pray. Check my mails. Get up to work in the factory. Do school runs if there’s no meeting for the day. Then retire home to cook. I cook all my family’s meals.
What motivates you?
I love family dinner times.
How do you generate new ideas?
I generate new ideas by listening to the needs of customers, my intuition/God, and listening to suggestions.
How far are you willing to go to succeed?
I am willing to word hard and pray to create a business system that will outlive me.
What is your greatest challenge and how do you manage it?
Greatest challenge will be the supply and distribution chain of our business, but we are working on it
What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
The best way is to plan and prepare for it. You cannot have what you don’t wish or plan for. I also believe in prayers and hard work a lot. They are the major ingredients to success.
Where did your organization’s capital come from and how did you go about getting it?
Our organisation’s asset base is in millions and I started with a very low savings, and then with my monthly ‘esusu’
How did you build a successful customer base?
We built a successful customer base by satisfying the current ones with so much value. They go about telling their friends about us. Our best marketing tool has been word of mouth.
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