Adenike Ogunlesi founded Ruff ‘n’ Tumble, a nigerian clothing brand that specialises in children’s apparel in 1996, the brand has since grown to become a household name, producing and retailing clothes for boys and girls.
Here are the lessons that entrepreneurs can learn from the Ruff ‘n’ Tumble’s journey
Entrepreneurship Is About Solutions:
When Adenike Ogunlesi ran out of pyjamas for her children, she decided to make them herself. Soon, someone heard about it and requested 7 pairs for her own children. Adenike realised there was a need and therefore a market, and quickly made 50 pairs; they all sold it out.
She adviced that Instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle.
Don’t Be Afraid To Start Small And Grow From There:
Ruff ‘n’ Tumble started in Adenike Ogunlesi’s home, then moved to the boot of her car, and eventually to a store. Today, there are 13 Ruff ‘n’ Tumble stores across Nigeria, and counting. Start where you are, with what you have!
Learn A Skill:
It’s good to have an education, it certainly comes in handy even in business but it is great to have a skill. At the time Adenike learnt to cut and sew from her mother after her A-levels, she did it just to help her mother who was a clothes maker specialising in Afro-centric clothes and adire making. She had no idea it would turn out to be her seed of profiting.
You Are Your Own Best Marketer:
It’s good to hire people to push your brand, but nobody can sell a product or service quite like the person with the vision. Especially in the early days when you’re keeping overhead costs low, don’t feel shy about selling your product/service by yourself. In those early days, Adenike would take the pyjamas to her children’s school every morning and let other mothers know she was selling cotton pyjamas for children…and they bought! She found out when embassies and churches were doing bazaars, and got a space. She would show up with her stall, kids in tow, and she would sell out. Put yourself out there and be aggressive about your marketing!
Have a good product:
No matter how you market, you won’t really achieve greatness if your product/service isn’t top-notch. Her clothes were so good, people didn’t believe they were made in Nigeria, and this motivated her to get labels made for the clothes. Good things can come out of your product, commit to excellence.
Adenike never got round to earning a degree, but she has taken some management courses and reads countless books on the fashion industry, marketing, and other subjects related to her business and its growth. Education is not all about paper qualifications.