SAP 015 - Olori Ajayi; making African communities better through fashion, multiple stitches at a time



Olori Ajayi on the #socialAfricashow.png

Olori Ayaji is the founder of the Katie Wang Company, a growing global fashion trading business based in Nigeria.

Olori began her entrepreneurial journey in 2011, starting the business with only £50.

She has now been listed as one of the top 100 female entrepreneurs in Nigeria and is set to pioneer a new turn for the fashion industry in Africa.

Personal life

"My birth name is Anita, a lot of people don't know this. My friends named me Olori, which means queen and I have grown with that name."

"I was in paid employment for about 10 years before owning my business. This was a really good time for me to see how things are done in that professional space and learn things that I can add to my own business."

"I’m from Delta state in Nigeria. I’m married with two kids and I live in Lagos, Nigeria, the best city in the world."

Your company name; Katie Wang, how did that come about?

"I got it from a dream. I slept, woke up and I was like what does Wang mean? It happens to mean royalty in Chinese."

"I did some research into business names and what entrepreneurs need to have in mind is that your business name should not be more than eight letters or two syllables.

And, it has to have the consonant K because the consonant K allows people to remember.

So, I thought to myself I need a K. I had always wanted to be called Katie. I just thought; Katie Wang, I love it."

Area of expertise

"My ability to see what I can do with something. Looking at something and saying; I can multiply this."

Lowest of the low

"It was May 2016. I went through self-doubt and fear. I was just in a place where I knew what kind of person I wanted to be but how am I going to get there? The blueprint of how was missing. I just could not figure out my next step."

"It took me 10 days in Barbados to go and think in a creative way and ask myself a lot of questions."

Light bulb moment

"It was the same day I got the name, after the dream. I was online looking at a website and everything they were doing and I thought this is it."

"This is exactly what I want to do. I read everything on that website. I called my friend and it all just started happening. It was awesome"

The Katie Wang Company’s vision

We are really about helping people. We want to make African communities better with multiple stitches at a time.

What’s got you buzzing right now

"Finding talent, over and over, in Africa. I have just returned from Ghana and I saw talented manufacturers that can match Asia and the rest of the world."

Lion’s Den

  • What is the best African Saying you’ve ever heard?

Ma wo ago aláago ṣiṣẹ́.

"meaning; don’t look at another man’s watch to determine your time."     

  • What was holding you back from building your brand?

"Fear."

"The moment you can take out that crippling fear, you'll be flying so high you won't even know when you started to fly."

  • Which is your social media platform of choice and why?

"Instagram. Because you can connect with people from different countries all over the world, visually."

  • Share one daily routine that contributes to your success.

"I don’t have a daily routine but I always arrange my thoughts, one by one."

  • Recommend a book for the tribe to check out

How They Started series by David Lester  

"I love reading his series because you start to feel like; I can actually make something great from what I’m doing."

  • If you had 24 hours to live, what would you do?

"I’d gather everyone I can influence and tell them the little I’ve learnt in my years of living. I will tell them all the lessons I’ve learnt, in marriage, in business, in dealing with God. I’ll do it with as many people as would listen to me."

Words of wisdom

"If I was to start again, this is what I would tell myself:

Just start. I need you to start with that bare minimum. As you start, you will learn what to adjust, what to replace and what to scrap.

But if you don’t start and you want to start with an almost perfected idea, you've started too late. Remember that market is always ready."

Connect with Olori