honey ogundeyi

Y Naija’s Nigeria’s 100 Most Inspiring Women – #YWomen10

LittleIMG_0028Little old me Made the list alongside some super duper faint if i was in the same room as them awesome women, check out here. Here is what they said.

Oyindamola Honey Ogundeyi: Driven by the desire to impact lives, she is the founder of e-commerce platform, Fashpa. She’s all about building a sustainable online retail businesses and is also convinced women are essential to the “Africa Rising” narrative.

 

Thank you Ynaija!

 

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On the art of not giving up

In the two quarters couple of Nigeria ecommerce startups have closed shop, most notably online marketplace buyam, general consignment store buyology , fashion retailer styd and luxury fashion retailer. 5th and Quansah. These were all companies with founders, visions, dreams and a team and now they dont exist, what always struck me was the way they do down, there is never a farewell message on their website, or twitter or Instagram even our local tech blogs ignore their demise, its almost as if death comes at night and  all your left with a home page link that dosent open.

I always imagine that if my company was not to not exist that I would want to have a message to share with our customers and followers that were going away with maybe a rose coloured view or candid story for why. My partner said it speaks to my branding core that even at my imaginary end how I go out matters.

For every ecommerce company that shuts down, theres 10 setting up in its a place. Most will last for a quarter, some a year, some two, and a small minority longer.

Whatever the case, what holds true is that there is a long winding road to sustainability and profitability for all Nigerian internet startups. The challenges are many. We still have a seemingly large but unaware internet population, logistics issues, slow internet, lack of funds  and a local angel network that doesn’t understand online or see the opportunity.  Giving up sometimes feels. appears. looks. easier that fighting for another day.

On my best days I am just happy to live another day to get to still run this awesome company and on the average day I am swimming against a tidal wave thats often seems bigger than me. Harder than I imagined and lonelier by the day.

The art of giving up is simply that. Not Giving up. NOT GIVING UP.

 

The post is for my 8 year cousin, Fike who is so proud of #fashpa

Making the “Forbes” List

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So this happened on friday along with the other SLA finalists, I made the forbes list of emerging women entrepreneurs list in Africa. On the same friday, I I spent the better part of the day with my tech team in search of the holy nirvana of power and internet.

With no working generator at Fashpa HQ and impending deadlines, I and the tech team literally fled the office, in our case in the first yellow cab to the nearest hotel/restaurant in search of power. We got there and their internet was also out! It took like three hours to get both POWER and INTERNET and be up and running.

So I guess I am not quite forbes ready or the EMERGING title is very well justified! Great thing I was wearing my sneakers, one needs to be comfortable of startup life in Nigeria!

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Starting Up!

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Its been five months since I made the transition from paid employee to startup CEO/Founder.  It took me at least ten years  to make this move and a some additional treacherous months of over thinking and analysing on how/when/if I should bite the bullet. Today I decided to make a Top Ten list, of what I would have told myself in Jan 2014. Its amazing how far I have come and for those thinking starting up, my advice is simple. just do it!

1) You will not miss your old job even by a day. Nope as much as you think you love it now, you will strangely not miss it.

2) You will miss the free food though, the fresh juice and the friday small chops conversations while arguing over which YT video is we love that week!

3) You will love building your dream, you will work till 3am and still be excited to be up at 9am in time to go in the office! yes Crazy

4) You will find that the hardest part is building a solid team, but you will find a few awesome people who think your company is pretty dope

5) You will get upset when your first hire leaves, it will feel like you were dumped when you were 13, everyone will tell you this is silly !

6) You will find People Management and finding talent much more difficult that you thought and wonder why no one talks about it, you will discover a new found respect for your manager and wish you hadn’t given her/him such a hard time

7) You will obsess about your company day and night, all conversations about anything can be linked back to life at fashpa

8) You will wonder how your friends and family put up with you, because you work all the time and you will forget birthdays. Shoutout to YF! I love you sorry for forgetting you and pampers bday this year!

9) You will stretch the truth at interviews about work life balance, because the truth is you dont have one, but that just sounds bad, so you will say you manage the two well!

10) You will genuinely be happy  about starting the F***k up and  building your dream, even on those bad days when you just want to run home and hide

 

 

ROUGH ROADS…

ROUGH ROADS

By Tai Solarin, Jan. 1, 1964

I am not cursing you; I am wishing you what I wish myself every year. I therefore repeat, may you have a hard time this year, may there be plenty of troubles for you this year! If you are not so sure what you should say back, why not just say, ‘Same to you’? I ask for no more.

Our successes are conditioned by the amount of risk we are ready to take. Earlier on today I visited a local farmer about three miles from where I live. He could not have been more than fifty-five, but he said he was already too old to farm vigorously. He still suffered, he said, from the physical energy he displayed as a farmer in his younger days. Around his hut were two pepper bushes. There were kokoyams growing round him. There were snail shells which had given him meat. There must have been more around the banana trees I saw. He hardly ever went to town to buy things. He was self-sufficient. The car or the bus, the television or the telephone, the newspaper, Vietnam or Red China were nothing to him. He had no ambitions whatsoever, he told me. I am not sure if you are already envious of him, but were we all to revert to such a life, we would be practically driven back to cave dwelling. On the other hand, try to put yourself into the position of the Russian or the America astronaut. Any moment now the count, 3, 2, 1, is going to go, and you are going to be shot into the atmosphere and soon you will be whirling round our earth at the speed of six miles per second. If you get so fired into the atmosphere and you forget what to do to ensure return to earth, one of the things that might happen to you is that you could become forever satellite, going round the earth until you die of starvation and even then your body would continue the gyration!

When, therefore, you are being dressed up and padded to be shot into the sky, you know only too well that you are going on the roughest road man had ever trodden. The Americans and Russians who have gone were armed with the great belief that they would come back. But I cannot believe that they did not have some slight foreboding on the contingency of their non-return. It is their courage for going in spite of these apprehensions that makes the world hail them so loudly today.

The big fish is never caught in shallow waters. You have to go into the open sea for it. The biggest businessmen make decisions with lighting speed and carry them out with equal celerity. They do not dare delay or dally. Time would pass them by if they did. The biggest successes are preceded by the greatest of heart-burnings. You should read the stories of the bomber pilots of World War II. The Russian pilot, the German pilot, the American or the British pilot suffered exactly the same physical and mental tension the night before a raid on enemy territory. There were no alternative routes for those who most genuinely believed in victory for their side.

You cannot make omelettes without breaking eggs, throughout the world, there is no paean without pain. Jawaharlal Nehru has put it so well. I am paraphrasing him. He wants to meet his troubles in a frontal attack. He wants to see himself tossed into the aperture between the two horns of the bull. Being there, he determines he is going to win and, therefore, such a fight requires all his faculties.

When my sisters and I were young and we slept on our small mats round our mother, she always woke up at 6a.m. for morning prayers. She always said prayers on our behalf but always ended with something like this: ‘May we not enter into any dangers or get into any difficulties this day.’ It took me almost thirty years to dislodge the canker-worm in our mother’s sentiments. I found, by hard experience, that all that is noble and laudable was to be achieved only through difficulties and trials and tears and dangers. There are no other roads.

If I was born into a royal family and should one day become a constitutional king, I am inclined to think I should go crazy. How could I, from day to day, go on smiling and nodding approval at somebody else’s successes for an entire lifetime? When Edward the Eighth (now Duke of Windsor) was a young, sprightly Prince of Wales, he went to Canada and shook so many hands that his right arm nearly got pulled out of its socket. It went into a sling and he shook hands thenceforth with his left hand. It would appear he was trying his utmost to make a serious job out of downright sinecurism.

Life, if it is going to be abundant, must have plenty of hills and vales. It must have plenty of sunshine and rough weather. It must be rich in obfuscation and perspicacity. It must be packed with days of danger and of apprehension.

When I walk into the dry but certainly cool morning air of every January 1st, I wish myself plenty of tears and of laughter, plenty of happiness and unhappiness, plenty of failures and successes. Plenty of abuse and praise. It is impossible to win ultimately without a rich measure of intermixture in such a menu. Life would be worthless without the lot. We do not achieve much in this country because we are all so scared of taking risks. We all want the smooth and well-paved roads. While the reason the Americans and others succeeded so well is that they took such great risks.

 

Tai Solarin (1922-1994) was one of Nigeria’s foremost social activists his legacy includes the famous Mayflower School, Ikenne and Mollusi College Ijebu-Ode. This article was published in Daily Times Newspaper of January 1st, 1964.