I literally started out, by STARTING! Leaving the “Ideapreneur” status and becoming the “Entrepreneur”.- Bukky Asehinde {CEO Bellafricana}

By Kemi Mobuse - Monday, November 20, 2017


After opening a page for my blog on Instagram, I came across Bellafricana's page by chance and I noticed that she was doing exactly what I had always dreamt of doing .....promoting Nigeria Talents and Services...I loved her page and I followed her immediately.  The passion that Bukky exudes when it comes to all things African is not easily explained and this led us to having a Chit chat with her to tell us about her brand, Bellafricana and all it stands for.

Read below....

Kemimobuseblog:     Who is Bukky Asehinde and what led to you birthing Bellafricana?

Bellafricana: Bukky Asehinde popularly known as an “Afrocentric Marketer” is a passionate young female Nigerian entrepreneur that has a dream that one day, Afrocentric businesses in Nigeria (Africa) will be globally accessible. This led to the birth of Bellafricana, a business focused in promoting quality Afrocentric creative (Made-in-Nigeria) business development through a platform that bridges the gap between producers of quality creative/indigenous products in Nigeria (Africa) and their consumers globally. She is very committed, highly motivated and self-driven in her effort to make an impact in job creation and building-up of local talents for economic drive and growth through the use of digital marketing to grow the community.

She started her business in the hope of creating more jobs and to help develop talents in her area of creative expertise. This is underscored by the fact that she observed a vast increase in the number of unique products made in Nigeria (Africa) but noticed a huge gap between local producers and consumers. Hence, she has created an online platform to bridge that gap. What better way than through online platform, which gives it a global opportunity.

Bukky is of the opinion that if as many products and services which are made by local people can be showcased to a wider audience both local and Global, then we stand a chance of creating more jobs and developing more talents which are things that impact directly into the country’s economic growth. She has directly impacted into over 500 local producers and working towards promoting more.

Kemimobuseblog: What was the brand created to achieve?

Bellafricana: To empower Afrocentric brands in Nigeria (Africa) to grow through an Afrocentric community. The vision of the brand is to actually promote the beauty of Africa, starting by making quality Afrocentric products in Nigeria (Africa) easily accessible. Future plans is all about Africa, from food to destination, culture and so much more

Kemimobuseblog:Why the name “Bellafricana”? Bella to me sounds like an attractive Lady…..

Bellafricana: As a young girl, my dad used to travel to Italy for business and on his return, he will call me “Bella” which means “Beautiful” in Italian. When the idea of my business was laid in my heart, I basically thought of promoting the beauty of Africa. So I just randomly loved the latin translation of Africa “Africana”. The combination of these two brought about Bellafricana, which simply means Beautiful Africa. This is the Bellafricana vision.

Kemimobuseblog: Why mainly Afrocentric Products?

Bellafricana: As you might have noticed, also from my research, every Country/Nation has their unique culture, history, identity etc. Asides wanting the world to see and feel the beauty of Africa, the unique creations that comes from it, I also look forward to bridging the global buyer-seller gap of quality Afrocentric producers and their consumers.

Focusing on Afrocentric products was inspired by my Nigerian heritage. Yes, as much as I love my country Nigeria, I also love every neighboring African country because they each have their beautiful and unique identity.

Another key thing to note is that Bellafricana is playing a vital role in the non-oil export value chain for creative arts. I believe that a support group/community for these Afrocentric businesses will enhance the Non-oil export in the Nigerian economy.

Kemimobuseblog: What motivates you when promoting SMEs in Nigeria and how did you advance to where you are today??

Bellafricana: The motivation is seeing their business grow and not just the business, but the business owners too. Understanding the business of their talent and how to be sustainable, have access to market, get access to the right target audience, building right partnerships whilst joining a network of other business and so much more via Bellafricana.

I will truly say I have advanced to where I am today because I didn’t relent, I remained consistent, and I was persistent. I understood what it meant to grow, starting from almost nothing, with what I had, who I knew, building the right relationship, recruiting thought leaders as mentors, surrounding myself with forward-thinking-positive-wise people, staying focused, improving my knowledge… oh dear, the list is endless.

Kemimobuseblog: How did you start out and what challenges have you had to deal with?

Bellafricana: I wondered –“Why should we wait on financial backing from the government and big institutions to help this industry? When we can create a platform to connect these Afrocentric businesses, they are maximizing raw materials in Nigeria (Africa), providing employment for local talents within the country and creating wealth for the Nation”.

I literally started out, by STARTING! Leaving the “Ideapreneur” status and becoming the “Entrepreneur”. Trust me the first fear you break through is starting.

Challenges are endless if you choose to focus on it. You see, I am a very positive person, so this attitude keeps me going. If I were to pick a few challenges, it will be self-doubt at the beginning, when you are not sure you can actualize what your mind conceives. Another major one is Focus, geez, “I wanted to do all”, have meet ups, organize events, build the community, do this and that. Until I realized that for a tree to stand the test of a strong wind, it must be rooted and grounded. I love to use the tree so much as an illustration. If you focus on building your business and ensuring it is rooted with the right business process, team, growth strategy, etc. Then gradually it can start having branches, the leaves and fruit eventually come out. But these processes take time to grow.

Another major challenge was pricing, understanding what made the business profitable. I will leave these few challenges here.

Kemimobuseblog: How do you join The Bellafricana Family and what benefit comes with doing so.

Bellafricana: Joining the Bellafricana verified family is so easy. First, reach out to us by mail (info@bellafricana.com/community@bellafricana.com), phone (08086363970), dm on Instagram (@bell_africana).

We want to know 3 things; that you are a quality creative afrocentric producer operating in Nigeria (Africa), we have to see a physical sample of your products; you have to be a registered business/company holder in Nigeria.

Once this is clarified, you pay an annual membership cost of N50,000

Benefits are huge: - Free listing on website, Unlimited product listing, Exhibition notification/priority, Discount from partner services, Listing on partner magazines/websites, Social media mentions, Email marketing mentions, Video Interview on Bellafricana TV and so much more.

Kemimobuseblog:What don’t people know about Bukky Asehinde that you wished they knew?

Bellafricana: I think it will have to be the fact that I am actually camera shy

Kemimobuseblog: Describe a typical day in the life of BELLAFRICANA’S CEO, What are your key responsibilities.

Bellafricana: Wow, a typical day in my life is often long, ha-ha. Firstly, I sleep late and wake up say between 6.30am – 7.00am daily. Once I am awake, I thank God for the gift of life and say my prayers (no day goes by without this). After this is done I say “Good morning” to my hubby and always want a hug, which always makes me happy (lol). Once I’m up from bed and getting set for the day, I actually meditate on yesterday’s to-do-list, think of what was done and what needs to be done today.

Open my email, check social pages for any messages and respond if need be.

I head to the office from about 8.30am, resumption time is usually 10am, but target to get there atleast an hour early.

Daily devotional/worship is often done in the car. Once at office, I list my to-do-list for the day, this is so important for me and makes me less anxious once I am able to tick off as I complete.

Progress report from the previous day is looked at, I try to see what the team members are doing and ensuring more is achieved. We try to constantly watch motivational videos to keep us going.

Generally, my key responsibility is ensuring smooth operations of the business amongst other things. Depending on the task ahead, making sure monthly goals are broken down into weekly and daily goals to achieve the desired result.

Kemimobuseblog: What are the most rewarding aspects of your job?

Bellafricana: Seeing results, hearing feedbacks, getting testimonials of good reports, membership growth, partnership growth, getting paid and much more

Kemimobuseblog: the most challenging aspects of your job? What causes you the most anxiety?

Bellafricana: Geez Deadlines, procrastinating on something that needs to be done like today but stays in my mind, staff not turning up and having to cover for when you have so much to do, spending too long on the road due to traffic, undermining my efforts, doubting that things will go wrong before trying. Oh dear! The list is endless, but this is why I make a conscious decision to remain focused, be positive, and never relent through it all.

Kemimobuseblog: What do you consider your greatest achievements in advertising SMES thus far? Biggest setback?

Bellafricana: Seeing them succeed, seeing them win awards globally, seeing their products sold

Biggest setback is human capital amongst other things. One of the major challenges of these SMEs is building capacity, and this is one of the things we are looking to impact at Bellafricana.

Kemimobuseblog: What are some of your personal and/or professional goals for the future?

Bellafricana: To be the biggest platform connecting QUALITY Afrocentric producers in Nigeria (Africa) to their global consumers

To have a Bellafricana village in Nigeria where Afrocentric products and so much more is showcased

Bellafricana, presently started in Nigeria, but the vision is the whole of Africa. We aim to keep celebrating creative and innovative African creations to the world alongside, showcasing all about Africa (destinations, food, history, culture and so much more).

Kemimobuseblog:Who has served as the biggest inspirations for your career?

Bellafricana: God, family, mentors, friends, environment

Kemimobuseblog: Any three advices for upcoming Enterpreneurs?

Bellafricana: You asked for 3 but I will add 2 more.

- START: With what you have, who you know, where you are. The hardest thing in life is actually to start especially when considering a lot of things, then the fear of the unknown sets in.

- FOCUS: Don’t do too many things at the same time. Don’t let money stop you, because you can find valuable partnerships in which you can do trade by barter, you can pre-sell and so many other ways to be innovative. So many budding entrepreneurs try to do so many things at the same time and this cripples them. It’s important to focus.

- BE CONSISTENT: Don’t be in a rush to “make it”, the journey of a thousand miles, starts with one step. Being consistent gives room for growth and gets you to the end successful goal.

- SURROUND YOURSELF WITH WISE & POSITIVE PEOPLE: This is so vital especially when you know your personality type. I am an extrovert and a positive person, so having negative people around me was a no no. This I Know has certainly helped my journey. Another key one is surrounding yourself with wise people, as the bible says also “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed”.

- GET MENTORS: It’s important to have mentors who key into the vision of what you do and are thought leaders in their various sectors not necessarily celebrities. How, you might ask? By keeping a relationship with them and striking a mutually beneficial balance of what they do, they will give you more than their time when you show you care.

Kemimobuseblog: Lastly, how can you be contacted?

Bellafricana: By email: info@bellafricana.com, bukky@bellafricana.com
Call: 08086363970
Instagram: @bell_africana
Facebook: Bellafricana
Twitter: Bellafricana

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