Interviews

#CelebratingWomenCampaign: Say Hellurr to Chemical Engineer and Baker, Aisha Danesi!

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Hellurrr everyone!

It’s our second edition of the #CelebratingWomenCampaign, and this time we’re celebrating entrepreneurship in women!

 

Meet Aisha Otsemobor Danesi, a Chemical Engineer and the brains behind Aida’s Bakeshop, an exquisite confectionery that churns out delicious pastries including doughnuts, cupcakes, cinnamon rolls and anything mouth watering dessert that could come up in your imagination.

I have watched Aida’s Bakeshop closely and I am so pleased with its meteorite growth, and I believe that Aisha’s passion, creativity and diligence would inspire other ladies to take the plunge and follow their passion to start a business!

#Enjoy!

#CelebratoryFact: Business/Entrepreneurship

1. Tell me about yourself

Aisha: I am a Nigerian, born and raised in Lagos. I graduated with a B.Sc in Industrial Chemistry from the University of Lagos and an M.Sc in Chemical Engineering from the University of Leeds. I’ve always been passionate about the sciences and how solutions can be created with its knowledge and application and wanted to be a part of that. I have also always enjoyed cooking, I am a self-taught baker.

2. How did you start your business and how did you decide that making pastries was the way to go?

Aisha: I started my business when I returned to Nigeria from the UK in the last quarter of 2016. With the recession in Nigeria and difficulty in getting jobs especially in my field, I had to come up with something while I waited. I have always tried to be independent, even with my supportive parents and as far back as when we had strikes in my undergraduate days, I would do some sort of business, mostly buying and selling. I never liked being idle. So the idea of baking came up because I had done it here and there privately but not professionally and one common feedback I got was, ‘You should do cooking professionally’ and that’s how my business was born.

3. What were the initial challenges you faced, given the Nigerian business terrain, and how did you
overcome them?

Aisha: The major challenge was getting the word out and competing with the known professionals in the industry. Pricing was an issue and I later discovered I was under-valuing my offering. Some people do not understand what goes into baking, the difference between high quality and low quality and this was a challenge.
I would say I am still working on it but I was able to use social media to showcase my work and the feedback has been quite unexpected and great. I had envisioned it would take longer than it actually took and I am grateful.

4. Who are your business mentors?

Aisha: There are 2 people that have helped me a lot. Dupe’s Bakery is one of them. She is such a great person. I knew her in my undergraduate days before she started baking. She is very industrious and I had patronised her previous business. She has helped with advice and has been very helpful. Also a classmate of mine Teemahcakesnmore who also shared some knowledge with me. She is always willing to share her knowledge.

5. Please expatiate on the positive impact of tertiary and post tertiary education in the running a
business that one is passionate about.

Aisha: It may not be completely necessary to have tertiary or post tertiary education to be successful and also tertiary education may not guarantee business success, but it is definitely more helpful than not. Tertiary education provides you with basic life skills, gives you the exposure to all kinds of people and helps you learn how to deal with difficult situations and people.
Education opens you up to a whole different level of thinking. I have had to play the role of marketing, finance, customer service in my own business and I have also had to educate myself continuously to keep up with the industry both in Nigeria and around the world.

6. How do you merge your business and a full time job

Aisha: I started my business and in less than 6 months after, I started a full time job as an Engineer in Oil and Gas. I usually get at most 4 hours of sleep. I have worked prior to my job and it entails a lot of brain work, long hours and working under pressure, so I have been able to manage things to an extent. It has been tough because I had been baking by myself from my home and I really can only take limited orders but I am definitely working on expanding to accommodate the numerous orders I get. In such a short time of about 7 months, I have so many clients, it’s quite overwhelming and encouraging.

7.Where do you see Aida's Bakeshop in the next 5 years?

Aisha: I definitely have big dreams for Aida’s Bakeshop. In 5 years I hope to be a leader in my craft running a world standard bakery and maintaining high quality while offering affordable treats to Nigerians. I hope to also train people in the craft, impart some knowledge and give back to my society.

8. On what platform do you interact with other small and medium scale entrepreneurs and what are
the benefits of such interactions

Aisha: Instagram has been a very helpful platform. Interactions and even inspirations have come from Instagram pages. Also, some collaborations have come out of it. I get a lot of my raw materials from sellers who advertise on Instagram, so it has been very helpful. There are also some gatherings organised for entrepreneurs I have attended a few times and business relationships have come out from them.

9. What were the proactive things you did to get and keep clients?

Aisha: For me, quality is very important to me. Being a Scientist and Engineer, details and accuracy is important to me. I work with numbers and proportions so I am always trying hard to get the best recipes. I source for the best materials irrespective of price because the taste makes a difference. My customers value quality and my prices are very reasonable and competitive. I have numerous loyal clients from this. Customer service is also very important. The customer is always right and is he centre of everything and my job is to provide a solution which is my product. I also do give-aways, discounts and freebies with orders over a certain amount.

10. Please expatiate on the role that social media plays in small and medium scale businesses of
today

Aisha: Social media has been a great tool for small and medium businesses. Not only does it connect you with clients, it connects you with other businesses similar to yours and this creates a healthy competition where you want to be better. When you see what other people are doing, it inspires you and helps you to want to grow and improve. A lot of businesses are on social media now because people like convenience. You are able to reach a wider audience, get materials, and inspiration for your business with social media.

11. Please give a word of advice for an intending business owner who is not sure how to start

Aisha: If you have a business idea, just start! There is no set way to start. I started from my parents’ house and I didn’t pay for any baking class. All I did was turn a passion into a business by using the internet as my class and the kitchen in my parents’ house as my laboratory. Yes, indeed you need some money but you can save towards this. Instead of buying that new smart phone you don’t need or “aso-ebi”, save that money and start a business that would enable you to buy an even better smartphone in the future. Another thing is that it doesn’t happen overnight, do not enter it because of money because you are more likely to fail. Go in with the mind of actually providing a solution to people the best way you can and money will come. Lastly always educate and improve yourself, never stay the same because other people are improving and can take over without warning.

 

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That’s it folks!

Please follow @aidasbakeshop on instagram

 

 

Related Posts:

Say Hellurr to Aida’s Bakeshop!

#CelebratingWomenCampaign with Oyinkansade Fabikun!

#Newfeature! #CelebratingWomenCampaign

#TheHellurrrandomTalkShow: Branding in Show Business

#EventHighlights + #Interview: Surreal Moments From Lindsey Abudei Live with the Perfect 4th Stringed Quartet!

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Image Credits : @thefifographer (Instagram)
@radronline (Twitter)

I woke up to the sound of a quartet the morning after. The vibrato effects of ‘ Libra Man’ filled my mind; after effects of an evening with lovely Lindsey Abudei.

I walked in to the sound of ‘Viva La Vida’ by the Perfect 4th String Quartet at the Omenka Gallery, filled with beautiful paintings.. Lindsey was not yet on stage. I hadn’t missed much.

Image Credit: @alawodz (Instagram)

Lindsey Abudei came in wearing pleated brown pants, a horizontally striped top and teal earrings. Her tourquoise nail polished fingers grabbed the microphone with poise as she sang ‘Apologise’.

We sat on mats, carpets and throw pillows, and it was cozy and intimate,  almost like Lindsey in my living room serenading me.


Can anybody spot me😊?
Image Credit: @alawodz

She sang the track  ‘Have You’, accompanied by an electric guitar with an incredibly beautiful tone. The cello reigned supreme in ‘Drift Away’, with Abudei’s voice so sonorous, I am pretty sure she wasn’t losing her mind with that rendition. With finesse, she drank water after every number.

‘Taxi’ was my favourite track of the Brown SO, with the lead guitar sounding like an acoustic one. The ‘Letter’ was next, slathered with delicious vibrations from the strings. Lindsey told stories of the  inspiration behind her songs and she conducted her quartet with ease.

We took a little break and the quartet played the classical piece,  ‘Canon’, the aptest rendition for stringed instruments. They also did ‘Chariots of Fire’ with a Hausa-esque flavour,  performing a decrescendo till the al fine (You know the reduction of the volume of your tv till it’s zero…loool)

On Lindsey’s ‘Libra Man’, the quartet ran crazily amazing, arco-ing and doing vibratoes all the way, with Abudei reigning supreme as Queen of the Lower Octave. I caught the cellist enjoying the track almost as much as I did lool. I guess that was okay, because the cello wasn’t up on this track.The song was so good,  I didn’t want it to end, and seemed like Lindsey didn’t want it to. She cleared her throat slightly abruptly in substitution for the al fine, and so the song has still not ended in my mind.

Image Credit: @misslind_sea (Instagram)

When she sang ‘When You Don’t Drive Me Mad’ with only an acoustic accompaniment, she allowed her listeners happily snap their fingers along to it

Lindsey chanted ‘Freedom and I’, everybody’s favourite, and I felt like I was on a boat and she was rowing me gently, with the quartet forming the slightest turbulence and then mellowing graciously after her. It was such a paddle song, and with every performance from Lindsey, my favourite song kept changing throughout the evening.

Image Credit: @misslind_sea (Instagram)

‘Home Free’ was the next, giving me the Barlow Girl plus Enya vibe, with Lindsey conducting the quartet organically . Lindsey Abudei performed ‘Scream at The Sun’, and we clapped as she sang. As she screamed at the sun, she hummed with a heavenly tone toward the end.

Image Credits : @thefifographer (Instagram)
@radronline (Twitter)

Abudei chimed ‘Drift Away’ again, with the quartet giving this song more than a little umph! The dynamics of the quartet on this piece indeed had the power to wake one from sleep in a lovely way.

She pulled a slight Jackson 5 when she said ‘You let me drift away ‘ toward the end. Then there was a slight instrumentation diversion by quartet.

Image Credits : @misslind_sea (Instagram)

With her perfecto tone, she did  a cover of Alicia Keys’ ‘If I Ain’t Got You’ cover; incredibly light and sweet. On that spot I decided that I still need to see Lindsey Abudei live a few more times.

The Asa cover of  ‘Jailer’ was on, and it was almost like mass worship rendition as we knew the lyrics back to back.The quartet sounded like Robbie Williams’ instrumentation on the track,  ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Lonely No More’, starting with the solfas ‘la me fa …fa me’.

 ‘Out The Magazine, had all of Abudei’s adlibs and licks delivered more superbly than on the album ‘ And The Bass Is Queen’, further consolidating on the perks of live music. She let us sing the lines ‘Be patient…take your time’  at its incredibly high pitch and that felt really good. It was such a #dopaminemoment 🙂

She did a freestyle thing with words supplied from the audience, but it was not as amazing as I expected it to be though.

She also graciously answered a few questions from her listeners. Can anyone guess the questions that came from me? If you follow my sister blog, this would be easy peasy😊

1. Who are your musical influences?

Lindsey Abudei: A lot of people do not know but when I was about seven my dad had this tape and it turns out that that was the song in the ‘Key of Life’ album. I had that album as my own, so my sisters would want to play and I would give it to them with time slots. After 30 minutes, they would bring my tape back to me. I would always call Stevie Wonder the best. There’s  also Probita Black, Norah Jones and Sade.

Lindsey Abudei: You have two songs with Atta Lenell Otigba. Who would you like to work with professionally?

Lindsey Abudei: Hmmm…two years ago I fell in love with orchestras again and I would want to do something with Metropole Orkest or Snarky Puppy. But if I’m thinking African, I would want to do something with Youssou N’Dour or Angelique Kidjo

3. How do you get your tone to be so perfect?

Lindsey Abudei:  I try to sing everyday even if I’m humming. The thing I realise is that if you do not sing for a while, it’s like falling out of practice. So I warm up everyday, especially before performance. Like now I’m starving, but I can’t eat till I’m done. Err… I have voice lessons that I take as well.

4. How do you do your hair?

Lindsey Abudei: I wanted to go all natural but my hair is really think and stubborn, so I wasn’t taking care of it. So I went to the salon and I was told I was going to have to trim it. But triming it was going to make it a bob.  So I was like…naah. ..so I said I want to cut my hair low. There was no going back. Lol

5. How hard was triming your album to just 10 songs

Lindsey Abudei: It was difficult. There were a bunch of songs that didn’t make the album, but I wanted to go with songs that first off had very strong and recognisable  bass lines, and secondly,  I was going for the very organic sound and I had to take some out. Maybe in future, I might just add them for the heck of it, but it was not that easy for me.

6. How we get your album?

Lindsey Abudei: Well it’s on iTunes and Spotify, but there are also download cards that are being sold out for N2000

7. Do you write all your songs

Lindsey Abudei: For ‘Brown’ I wrote ‘ When You Don’t Drive Me Mad’ with Atta but for ‘And The Bass is Queen’, he wrote ‘Freedom and I’ and we wrote ‘Libra Man’ together.  I know I’ve been used to writing my own songs but with this album I wanted to try a different songwriter because I realised that with songwriting when someone writes a song for you you don’t sound the way you some when you write your own songs. So that was what I wanted to do, but i was very picky about who I worked with.

8. What is your favourite song on the album

Lindsey Abudei: Truth is my favourite songs are the live versions of songs.  I don’t have a favourite on the album as it is. So today ‘Libra Man’ is one of my favourite live versions, especially when it gets to ‘Let me …’, I love that part, but I don’t always have a favourite song. I don’t have one except it’s a live interpretation

9. You’ve been truly faithful to your sound so far. Are we ever going to see you experiment

Lindsey Abudei: Possibly. I think I’m ready for experimentation. The only thing is i need to find a producer, but I’m at the stage where I want to experiment. I’m still keeping bite

10 I think I know you studied law, so are there any lesson from law that help with your music?

Lindsey Abudei: Drafting agreements, and helping with licensing. Also, an understanding the business side of music

11. How long do you see yourself doing music?

Lindsey Abudei: For life. Music has me.

12.  What would you like to do after that?
Lindsey Abudei: Working with international organisations, which music can provide an avenue for

13 Where do you write from?

Lindsey Abudei: Everything, people I know, the scenarios I create in my head. I have a very wild imagination, conversation

14 Do you play an instrument?

Lindsey Abudei: I can play the guitar

Image Credits : @thefifographer (Instagram)
@radronline (Twitter)

15. It’s frustrating when your music is not mainstream. What keeps you going?

Lindsey Abudei: When Brown was released, I tried out for a French competition and I was one of the finalists, coming 3rd, and  I got 1000 euros. It moved me further to think there’s possibly more. It made me realise I don’t have to do a same thing everyone does in Nigeria.There were times when I wanted to end it,  but  a random message sent by a fan would  encourage us and we say let us try again. But the plan now is Nigeria is too small. I am not happy with representation of Nigerian music. It’s a bit of a bubble.  Nigeria isn’t really up there in music.

I’ve been trying for travel grant, but it seems one can’t even take advantage of what takes place in our own community. Nigeria has to be more than one genre of music. We need more than that.

After answering our questions with grace, poise and sweetness, she performed my favourite song, ‘Leaving’, whispering and humming intermittently. The Stringed Quartet performed ‘Viva La Vida’  by Coldplay and Lindsey rendered ‘Libraman’ again, closing the evening on an amazing note.

Image Credits : @thefifographer (Instagram)
@radronline (Twitter)

 

This is Ose Binitie,
Changing lyrics to line up with confessions since the 20-teens

signing out…😊

Xx.

#TheHellurrrandomTalkShow: Burgeoning Soul Sensation NJ Talks About Soul, Songwriting and The Nigerian Music Industry

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The Hellurrrandom Talk Show features NJ on its second episode, where he talks about soul music, songwriting and the Nigerian industry. It was such a fun and easy going interview shot at Dominos Pizza in Surulere. NJ performs a short acoustic rendition of his upcoming single, ‘Days To Come’!

#Hellurr y’all

The Hellurrrandom Talk Show features NJ on its second episode, where he talks about soul music, songwriting and the Nigerian industry. It was such a fun and easy going interview shot at Dominos Pizza in Surulere. NJ performs a short acoustic rendition of his upcoming single, ‘Days To Come’!

 

#Enjoy

#PS: Win an awesome prize of you can tell me what NJ stands for

*Hint* Answer is in the video!

#CelebratingWomenCampaign with Oyinkansade Fabikun!

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Demure, kind and sweet are some of the virtues that stand a lady out, and Oyinkansade Fabikun is no exception. Oyinkan’s ‘je ne sais quoi’ had been very apparent to me since our university days, but in actual fact I had not fully apprehended the length, the depth, the height and the width of her awesomeness. With her ‘Phylicia Rashad’ vibe and  super witty etiquette blog, hersocialhighness.wordpress.com, only a tip of the iceberg, I have no doubt that she deserves to be celebrated!

#Hellurrrladies! Our first guest on the #CelebratingWomenCampaign series of interviews is etiquette connoiseur and author of the book, ‘Back to Basics’ Oyinkansade Fabikun.

 

#Enjoy!

#CelebratoryFact: Etiquette

 

1. I feel like you are different from any other woman I know; a good different of course. How did you develop yourself to have that distinction?

 

Oyinkan: Thank you for the compliment. I just try to be myself in a good way. I try to hone my virtues.

 

2. How did you develop your love for etiquette?

 

Oyinkan: Etiquette is something that kind of came naturally; I like to be orderly, considerate of others and do things as they should be done. Sometimes I do things a certain way before I find out it’s actually a rule in etiquette.

 

3. Tell me one type of etiquette that is absolutely indispensable?

 

Oyinkan: Consideration for others.

 

4. How do you celebrate yourself as a woman on a daily basis?

 

Oyinkan: I dress up, try on a new hairstyle, experiment with different nail polish colours- it depends on my mood; I could come up with new ways to have fun or relax.


img_02125. How does a lady’s relationship with God help her become all that she truly desires to be as a woman?

 

Oyinkan: A woman’s relationship with God is important because when this relationship is active and healthy, it helps her fulfill her vision through at least, 3 major ways- divine inspiration, divine guidance and divine instruction.

 

6. When I look at you, I see a very confident and demure lady.  How did you in the past perhaps conquer any insecurity, however negligible it might have been?

 

Oyinkan: Thank you. Confidence has not always been easy for me. Most times, we have confidence when we have something we desire or eliminate something undesired (case in point: weight). The true test of confidence is having a certain, necessary measure of faith in yourself whether or not you have what you desire.

 

7. What is your opinion on placing value on education before a lady ventures into totally pursing her passion?

 

Oyinkan: Education, in the true sense of the word, plays a crucial role in preparing one for their calling. Sometimes your education is different from your passion in more than one sense but I say educate yourself still. You never know the unusual ways you could apply what you’ll learn. You may end up being the ‘mathematical’ event planner or the baker that bakes and designs with ‘surgical precision’. Our learnings mould us in peculiar forms. No knowledge is ever really lost.

 

8. Tell me about your blog, hersocialhighness.wordpress.com

Oyinkan: Her social Highness is a blog I created in a ‘light bulb’ moment. I have always liked to write because I think I communicate better that way. It’s a blog that started out addressing etiquette issues primarily but it has since diversified its theme to include poems and other informal reflections.

 

9. How do you constantly sharpen your creativity in terms of writing for your blog, including wit and other figures of speech

 

Oyinkan: Creativity is a function of inspiration and inspiration is a strange thing- sometimes it’s elusive when your will is strong and omnipresent when your will is awol. Whenever it comes, I capture it in my ‘junk book’ so I can use or recreate it when I want.

 

10. What in your opinion are the most important qualities of a lady?

 

Oyinkan:

Hygiene, modesty in dress sense, poise, hospitality, integrity, sociableness and progressiveness.

 

11. How do you define beauty?

 

Oyinkan: Beauty to me is abstract goodness- the content of a person’s character, the goodness of a soul and not necessarily of the body. To apply Steve Jobs words on design, “It’s not how it looks like and feels like, it’s how it works.”

 

12. What are your top 5 etiquette tips?

Be updated with the news.

Gentlemen should be gentlemen. Look good, smell great.

Join the queue.

Never litter.

Let me add a sixth- please don’t tap your tongue before counting money or flipping a book! Use finger tip moisteners instead. Thank you.