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Friday, August 18, 2017

Mikaiferlux Founder on Building the Foremost African Lingerie Brand from Scratch

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Shamim Mikaifer. I am a happy outgoing person. All my friends call me Mimi. My parents are from Uganda Originally, but I was born in Sweden. I am a teacher by training. After I became a single mum, I was teaching one day and I looked at my life and it was not going anywhere. I was making money but it was just being recycled and never enough. Beyond that, I just didn’t have the passion for teaching anymore.

 Most of my childhood friends thought I would go into fashion and when I became a teacher they were surprised. They said to me, “Mimi, this is so not you”? I eventually decided to quit my job in 2015 and follow my heart.

Tell us about your business.

Mikaiferlux is my life! I put everything on hold for it. I believe in it so much that I breathe it and I live it.

It is affordable luxury lingerie for the African market. I don’t want women from Africa to have to travel to get quality lingerie anymore. They should be able to order it from the comfort of their homes.

Let us make our own, and show the world that we can.



 Why did you choose to start the foremost African Lingerie Brand

 A few years ago, I took a vacation and came to Nigeria. I didn’t like Nigeria the first time. But I came back again to see my boyfriend at the time, who was a model and worked in the fashion industry. I attended a lot of fashion events with him and that was what opened up my eyes to the fashion industry in Nigeria. It made me realize you can make a career doing fashion, which I never knew before then because I thought if you did fashion you would be broke.

African Lingerie Brand

 So I thought, what can I contribute to this industry? At the time, I was looking to buy lingerie but couldn’t find any one place to get indigenous lingerie in the right styles and sizes. I realized there was a need for it. So I did some research and put together a business plan and started looking for people to invest in the business.

What does Mikaifer stand for?

 It stands for pride. It is the African pride. It’s about empowering women. It’s my gift to Africa. I want to give back to my continent. I want to create lingerie for real African women, that takes into consideration their body types.

 Where do you get inspiration for your designs?

I get inspiration from everywhere and from my own self. I think about what I need. I am a tom-boy. I want something that is comfortable and sexy at the same time. I know what looks good on women. I want something practical and useful with good quality.
 We are not about mass-producing lingerie that is not useful or does not last. We create designs that are practical and functional but beautiful at the same time.

 What are the challenges you have faced so far in this line of business?

 So far it’s been up and down. Bumps and grind. Bringing the idea to product stage alone was a lot of work. The hardest challenge for me was having to leave my son most of the time and he’s just five. But I believe if I struggle this whole year through it will be worth it. It’s also been a lonely journey, only you truly understand your vision. Getting investors to invest in this too has been challenging but we made it happen.
 You have to have a thick skin to be able to take on this kind of project. Now I don’t have any salary but I am spending my savings. I am thinking to myself all the time, “if you fight and don’t give up, then one day it will be worth all my efforts.” 

 What motivates you to keep going?

 The feedback from my friends and family motivates me to keep going. There are many times I want to give up, but my brother has been like a rock behind me, encouraging me. I put naysayers on hold and then focus on whatever I am doing because I don’t need the negativity.

 How do you strike the balance between running your business and running the home?

I have a great support system, which is a great thing. My son’s dad is very supportive and he allows me to do all these things and he minds our son.
In order for my kid to be happy, he needs to see me happy. This is what I strive for. He has a good life. But I want to be able to give him the best out of the money that I make.  I want to be able to give him the best I can in life like any mother would. 

Do you have any regrets? If you could start over, would you do this again?

 Of course, I would! I am glad I chose to do this now because this was the right time. If I had tried this five years ago, I would have given up. I have traveled a lot; I have met new people, tasted new food and It has opened me up to a lot of new experiences. I am glad that I did it.
 I would do it again and again.

 What advice would you give to other mothers who would like to start a business?

Everybody needs to think hard about what they want to do. If your guts tell you to go for it, go for it! So you don’t regret that you never did it. People will judge and talk, but if you are not happy, your children cannot be happy. Develop a thick skin and do what makes you happy. Because only you know what makes you happy.
When you get to the point where you hate your life or hate yourself, then it's your inner self, talking to you that it's time to change your life. Anybody can make money as long as you have a dream and keep it alive.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

BELLAFRICANA AFRICAN CREATIVE EXHIBITION (ACE) AND AWARDS


The management of Bellafricana is officially announcing their first edition of Bellafricana African Creative Exhibition and Awards coming up on the 17th of April, 2017. This Annual Creative Exhibition and Award (termed Bellafricana ACE Awards) is fully endorsed by Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) and the Nigeria Britain Association.

The theme is “Celebrating Creativity and Innovation”, as it is time to encourage and reward the hardworking creative business owners for impacting lives and the economy.

Bellafricana is an initiative with a focus on Made-in-Nigeria (Non-oil) products where customers and suppliers engage and transact to bridge the buyer-seller gap and create a wider outreach for Nigerian products locally and globally.

Bellafricana has enabled African creative businesses a platform to receive the recognition they have long deserved. They aim to laud the creative works of Nigerians (Africans), which makes open competition affordable and accessible.

The organisers believe the time has come where we should all come together to recognise and encourage hardworking and greatly skilled men and women who are making a significant impact through their various Industries/sectors.

This event is proudly sponsored by Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and supported by other organisations such as Sovereign Guards Limited, Vibe Web Solutions, Noah’s Ark, Labule Restaurant, ASSETS, Lara Rose, Mensam Prints, Bakers Options, Inside Watch Africa, Timeless, and much more



What To Expect At Bellafricana ACE Awards 2017

This will be a three phase event in which two of the phases will run simultaneously while the third phase will be held as the peak of the event.

The phases are; Exhibition, Conference and Awards dinner.

Both the Exhibition and the Conference will be held simultaneously and the Awards will be held in a dinner fashion to close the event.

Exhibition

The watch-word at Bellafricana is Quality, to this effect; the organisers of the Bellafricana ACE Awards have assured the availability of top quality creative Afrocentric businesses to exhibit.

You will be able to access a wide variety of discounted quality made in Nigeria products all under one roof in these 5 focus categories are; Arts & Crafts, Fashion, Health & Beauty, Home & Living and Food Produce & Snacks.

HERE IS WHY YOU SHOULD ATTEND AND NOT MISS THIS EVENT?


· Mouth-watering BBQ Chicken, Fish and Steak at the Sea Front

· Free Massage

· Free Spa Treatment

· Free Health Check

· Get up to 25% discount to shop.

· Get giveaways worth over ₦1,000,000.

· Fun Area for Kids – Games, Dancing Competition, Arts and Craft Making, T-shirt Painting and many more

· Painting Competition for Adults

· Make New Friends and Connection

· Free WiFi to browse all day

· ₦1,000 off Taxi Ride

· Highly Secured


To register and find out more, go to event.bellafricana.com/shopping

Conference

Themed: Practical Steps to taking your business Global

Key Note Speaker: Mr Olusegun Awolowo (CEO, Nigerian Export Promotion Council)

Bellafricana is always finding ways to help both budding and established creatives to harness the resources available to build their businesses stronger.

To this end, the conference will feature enlightening and engaging talks from renowned business men and women who have quality experience in these fields;


· Marketing Your Creative Business Globally

· How to Monetize your Creative Idea

· Branding that speaks for you

· Taking Your Non-Oil Product Global (Export)

· Sustainability and Succession Planning for Creative Businesses

· Perfect the Quality of your Craft and Evolve

To register and find out more, go to event.bellafricana.com/conference

Awards

Theme: Celebrating Creativity and Innovation

This African Creative Exhibition & Awards opens for nominations in various categories and Award competition.

Participants are offered a unique opportunity to showcase their talents and to have their work judged by the consumers and experts.

1) Best Indigenous Textile Designer

2) Best Emerging Beauty Brand

3) Best Emerging Fashion Brand

4) Best Creative Solution (ICT)

5) Best Supportive Made-in-Nigeria Celebrity of the Year

6) Best Eco-friendly Product Innovation

7) Best Innovative Product of the Year

8) Best Pioneer Craftsman/woman of the Year (Over 10 years)

9) Best Food Produce Innovation

10) Best Creative Kid Entepreneur

11) Best Creative Social Enterprise of the Year

12) Best Creative Kids Brand

13) Best Emerging Artist

14) Best Emerging Home & Lifestyle Brand

15) Best emerging African Brand


VOTING IS CURRENTLY ONGOING FOR THE AWARDS AND ENDS 05/04/2017. NOMINATE YOUR BRAND TODAY.


Go to the event website: event.bellafricana.com for more information.

Why You Should Participate

· The event is an important annual occurrence aimed at attracting an audience that include Captains of Industry, Investors, Upwardly Mobile Youths, Marketers, Trade Delegations & Missions, Procurement Oļ¬ƒcers, Brand And Business Managers, Art Lovers, Governmental Representatives And Key Decision Makers.


· The event is for enterprising Nigerian MSMEs seeking wider access to both internal markets and International markets and investors seeking joint-venture partners.

EVENT FACTS

Theme: “Celebrating Creativity and Innovation”

Conference Theme: "Practical Steps to Taking Your Business Global"

Date: April 17, 2017 (Easter Monday, Public Holiday)

Venue: D-Venue, Water Corporation Drive, Off Ligali Ayorinde, Oniru, Lagos, Nigeria.

Time for Exhibition: 10 - 4pm

Time for Awards Dinner: 5 – 9pm

For partnership and sponsorship details, please contact the organisers;

Call: +2348086363970 or +2348184457403

Email: info@bellafricana.com, community@bellafricana.com

Register: event.bellafricana.com

Monday, March 6, 2017

2016 Highlights - Passion and Prudence was lit!

Happy new year people! (This is long overdue *covers face* lol)

Despite the recession, we made it this far and we are still here, that's enough to be thankful for. An attitude of gratitude is one the keys to success. So in the spirit of gratitude, I am sharing one of the milestones I achieved last year and drawing lessons from it. I hosted my first major event on the Global Entrepreneurship Platform and it rocked! See a few pictures below;


Actors after the show

Folawale Ariran


Precious Ajunwa












Can you feel the excitement? Hehe....

It started as just a thought in August, I was chatting with my adopted son, +Olabode Emmanuel  and he said, can we stage a play this year ma. It was like a lightbulb moment, immediately I started to see a stage production on entrepreneurship and it came just in time to submit as a global entrepreneurship week event. Note, at the time of conceiving this idea, I didn't have a dime and I am not even joking. Lol.

I called up +Akinola Akinlade and broke down the concept to him, trust the fella, in less than two days I had a script! The way he fleshed out the short narrative I gave him ehn! I was eggcited! We are doing this yo! Now to get the actors and buy in from the +Enterprise Development Centre I called up my friend, Bukola Ogunsanwo ever agile and ready to support my grandiose ideas and we jumped in the car and drove all the way to the Ajah campus to meet with them. They bought the idea pronto. Next hurdle crossed. Next was funding. We pitched a partnership arrangement to them, but that didn't fall through, so we targeted some big names and started the chase. Just to get a minute to pitch this idea, at some point I event thought my husband would send me packing. We went to an event just to see this one "big man" and were practically dozing in our seats around past 12 midnight while his wing man kept assuring us that he would see us? Shuooo na me kill Jesus! Abeg by 12:30, we got up and left. Which kain wahala be dis.

At some point, we had lost hope of ever pulling this off, but one day during aerobics class, my trainer, +Anthony Olubiyi Boyede Overheard me talking about staging a play and he said to me, this is what I do ma'am, leave the play to me, I'll bring it to life. This was after I had been waiting on some popular entertainment person to put the play together for me and got snubbed. Anyway, we came up with the cast for the play, mainly people I knew from different groups I am in, many who had never been on stage before and we started rehearsals, Friday nights at my place. The dedication and support from these guys blew me away. There was this day, my end was totally blocked as a result of road constructions; you won't believe that some of the actors had to walk a fair distance to get to mine, while those that drove, drove through hours of traffic. I can't say how much I love these guys.

Watch the play here if you missed it - Here's the link to the full play





The Red Carpet was handled by Yemi Bamgbose and below are some highlights. Watch in full here










This post is getting so long, let me just wrap up with my lessons here

1. Building strong Relationships is everything.
2. When you decide to do something and you want to do it bad enough, it will happen.
3. Money is not the only factor in making things happen.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Social Media Week Event: Become A Kick-Ass Tech Mum

Mumpreneur, Mofolusade Sonaike will present the panel “Become a Kick-ass Tech Mum” during this year’s social media week run of events. The panel will run attendees through the secrets of how mothers can run a super organized home, while building a successful business leveraging E-commerce, growth hacking and Social Media.

The question is often asked, can a woman have it all? The pull between fulfilling your career or business dream versus maintaining a home and raising wholesome children for those who chose to is a constant struggle. This is the bedrock of the mumpreneur brand. Taking advantage of technology mothers can run successful businesses and hold it down on the home-front at the same time.

www.mumpreneur.ng is a platform that seeks to provide mothers with access to information, tools and resources to help them become Kick-ass Mums. The “Become a Kick-ass Tech Mum” event for social media week brings together on a panel, women who have managed to make the most of their businesses without sacrificing raising their children by taking advantage of technology and social media. Also on the panel is the brand manager for the Mumpreneur.ng brand, the only man allowed on this panel, lol. He will be sharing practical steps for positioning yourself as an authority in your field through branding.

Panelists;









The event will hold on the 27th of February at the SMW studio, landmark event center in Oniru, Lagos Nigeria at lunchtime, between 12 and 1p.m. kisk-ass mums.

Passes are available here – https://socialmediaweek.org/lagos/events/become-kick-ass-tech-mum/ . Reserve your seat and come prepared to share, learn and network with other mums who are not afraid to kick ass.

It’s a digital world….we all just live in it.


Have you ever wondered where the world you lived in went? When we were younger, we were never warned that growing up is a trap. Alas, we find ourselves all grown up and there’s really nothing that can be done about it.

I usually ask myself this question, “How come everything seems to have changed?” from how we communicate, to how we interact, from how we do business to how we sell…the advent of mobile technology has changed the game on us and many people are still playing by the old rules.

The world has changed….deal with it. I am dealing with it by sharing my journeys through Digital Marketing.

Warning: Some of the info will seem conjured; but trust me, it will all be backed up by facts and opinions will be shown as purely opinions.

My personal goals are to help individuals and organizations transform their Image and brand personas to reflect the world that we live in. I am out to ensure that you know what you are up against. I also hope to help you achieve some of those great goals you set for 2017.

To do things the same way and expect a different result is the definition of Insanity. If you own a growing business…Please watch this space. You will spend less and make a lot of money before the year runs out.

My name is ‘Debo Ajayi…and I am the digital whisperer.


About ‘Debo Ajayi


A seasoned Project Management expert, Startup engineer and Serial Entrepreneur. I am a Google certified Online Marketing Expert. Consulted for a few Multinationals in Nigeria. Worked with close to 100 Startups.



'Debo Ajayi, PMP
Senior Sales Executive, Ringier Digital Marketing
Google Certified Online Marketing Fundamentals Expert
M: +234 (0) 809 576 3213
deboajayi1@gmail.com