What made you take the leap into creative entrepreneurship?
I was broke and needed money, even though I was a teenager I knew I didn’t want the life of borrowing my parents money to buy the basics. I’ve always wanted to be independent. The simplest way in my eyes was turning my hobbies and interests into a business. So at the age of 19 I started and registered my first photography business called B@A photography.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
Understanding my business as it grew I think was the hardest. It led to my confusion, no one ever prepares you for that, as much as you might get lots of advice, it’s a sea of sharks once you are in. I literally had to learn as my business was growing. Furthermore, nothing is ever guaranteed in business you just have to do you and be good and strategic about it.
What was your business’ original mission? How has that mission evolved in the time since?
I mostly wanted to concentrate on Fashion but now its expanding and I’m looking into other fields that I love
and enjoy as I spot business opportunities.
Do you prefer to pursue funding or build organically, and why?
Pursuing funding is a huge NO NO for me. I don’t know how I’d sleep knowing I have someone to pay off or investors to impress or loans to pay off. I’ll stop enjoying what I love most, and that’s when the passion dies and stress kicks in. I personally believe in building organically, it’s a type of business pressure that I personally can’t handle.
Did you have major competitors when you started, how did you plan to compete with them, and how did that plan play out?
Not at all, when I entered the market as a branded company, there was barely any competition unlike now. However, the beauty of competition is that it unleashes the inner entrepreneur within you, you start to think different and expand in strategic ways.
How do you facilitate a positive work environment that attracts and retains talent?
I believe in two things, ideas and comfort. I like when my employees can speak their mind when it comes to ideas for the business, you can’t be the CEO and dictates every idea, it simply doesn’t work. Comfort, in terms if dressing is also key, I encourage my employees to dress as they please to the office, I believe that’s having one less thing to think about as they deliver effectively, learnt that from Steve Jobs. I’ve seen so many of my friends who feel the pressure of dressing a certain type of way as they head to the office, that’s not what I wanted at all.
I encourage employees to be themselves therefore talent and creativity is retained. Only exception is events and
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business’ success?
Ability to think more like an entrepreneur rather than a creative. Entrepreneurship keeps a business alive, you
can be the best in your field but if you’re not strategic or are looking to expand there’s no point, You’ll be left
there with your talent and barely any revenue.
What is the biggest mistake you’ve made as an entrepreneur?
As cliché as it sounds, there are no mistakes in business only lessons learnt, that’s if you don’t give up. A s long as
you know your market, you are strategic, you work hard and deliver to your clients you will do good.
What has been your greatest moment of success?
This will sound weird, but when I stopped being employed and got the courage to fully concentrate on my company. It was one of the best things to ever happen to me, it was the beginning of a success story. It didn’t feel like that at first, but now I understand fully.
How do you approach marketing your business?
I wont say its one particular thing because it’s a series of things. However, social media is my strongest form of
marketing. Its done so much for me as an entrepreneur and my business.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
This is what I’d tell myself “Beata don’t be too hard on yourself, the stress and the doubt is all part of being an entrepreneur. Your business mind will keep your company going not your creativity. One last thing, learn to not procrastinate, you’ll still have to do the work so just get it over and done with.
What is the most unpopular opinion you have on entrepreneurship?
I don’t believe in investors/ loans when it comes to my own business. I know so many entrepreneurs might disagree but that’s just what I believe.
What’s the most important thing you’re working on right now, and how are you making it happen?
All I can say for now is that at OJWA we are expanding in a big way. It’s a surprise and I shall take a long time to
reveal. I’m researching and mastering it first before I let the word out.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
OJWA has expanded in terms of services and the revenue and gross profit has multiplied 7 to 10 times.
What kind of person will succeed in this industry?
Its not about a “kind of person”, its about being yourself in the industry. So many people want to do things because
they’ve seen someone else doing it or have seen another persons’ success or strategies. Guess what? You’ll always
be a step behind. You’ll never be ahead of the game. Do what you is true to you and the rest will truly follow. BE
How do you keep up with the changing trends of the industry?
Its simple, research. Research in any business should be your number one priority as well as always keeping your
clients and customers happy.
What are some strategies that you would recommend for making the best use of one’s time?
Be in competition with yourself and stop worrying about what other people in your industry are doing. You are wasting time instead of building yourself and making your own brand. Be your own competition, set our own lane and procrastination is the devil truly, don’t give in.