Welcome to the first in this series of interviews with some pretty inspirational women.
The key thing that all of these women have in common is that, imho, they are phenomenal examples of what is possible if you believe in yourself and your ability to achieve. I know. I know. It’s all sounding a bit like a Mariah ballad. So, what about this? If I were an evil villain, I would kidnap each of them, hide them in an underground cave somewhere, say, off the coast of Fiji and steal their superpowers. No, that’s no good either cos I’m not a villain and they don’t actually have super powers. Everything that they have achieved has come about through pure hard work and determination. Simple as.
I first met the founder of and designer behind N’Damus LONDON at primary school. Our parents also knew each other because Nigerian Diaspora. Our paths separated at secondary school and didn’t really cross again until social media. I can’t remember who found who, but Facebook brought us together again. We have chatted intermittently over the years via social media; she encouraged me to start my dreadlocks, I stalked her meteoric rise, including when she casually made bags for Nia Long and Gregory Porter. N’Damus LONDON has featured in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Instyle, GQ, Tatler, the list goes on and on… *cue India Arie ‘Interlude’*
So, what is a typical day like for her? Well, why don’t you just continue reading and find out…
Hey! Please tell us a bit about yourself…
I am the founder of N’Damus LONDON, a London-based, luxury, leather bags and accessories brand. I am also the designer where, amongst many, many other things, I am responsible for the designs, initial sample production and generally getting the business out there. I now have a small team based in the UK and we work together on sales, marketing, customer service and all other key needs for the business.
What time do you get up on a typical weekday morning?
Typically, 5.30am is when I rise (courtesy of my body clock).
Eek! That’s early! Ok, what’s the first thing you do?
Pray and thank God for another day and the glorious things which have happened and will happen. It goes without saying, after that I jump in the shower, have breakfast then start on the day’s working plan.
Do you have responsibility for anyone else in the morning? What does that entail?
There is always a responsibility! For loved ones, family and friends. On a daily basis, I check in to see how everyone is doing. In life, no matter what, it goes a long way to show people they are thought of and loved.
What time does work start?
Being self-employed, there is no typical start time. I do work to a schedule as much as possible, i.e. attend to emails at 8 am, work through my notebook ‘to do’ list, take breaks. That’s important. It’s very easy to do a Rhianna and ‘work work work work’. Not sensible. One needs to eat, take breaks and replenish in order to recharge and be on point.
Unless I have set meetings or product deliveries, the beauty of being self-employed is that I don’t have to leave home, prepare for sales conferences, account plan meetings, being told what to do by intellectual inferiors who don’t have a ‘scooby-do’. My internal compass of ‘The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k’ was further galvanized courtesy of Sarah Knight.
So what are you getting up to throughout the morning?
Emails, revising plans, actioning tasks, rummaging through the cupboards for sweet snacks, taking and making telephone calls, processing orders, contacting manufacturers and material suppliers, rummaging through the cupboards for more sweet snacks or brownies that were not there during my first rummage and liaising with the team on current and next steps.
Phew! Sounds busy. Do you stop for lunch?
In my head I am Wonder Woman. In reality, I need food…constantly. Lunch? Depends, but ranges from beef lasagne and chocolate brownies from my local cafe ‘Cherry & Ice’, home made food: Nigerian chicken stew, moi moi. If I’m in a ‘I need to eat something quick’ mood, tuna salad and yes…cereal. I’m not really a ‘Kellogs is for breakfast only’ type of lady. Oh…and rummage through the cupboards for healthy snacks aka brownies made of protein flour.
Ok, I’m hungry now. What happens after lunch?
Another bite to eat to recharge. In all honesty, no day is typical as it involves handling the various needs of the business and life.
And if you have been out during the day, what time do you return home?
Whatever time I choose!
No fair. OK, back to food. When’s dinnertime?
I typically make dinner at home at about 7 pm.
Wash those lovely dishes, tidy up and unwind on the lovely leather couch.
How do you relax in the evening?
By spending time with loved ones.
Now that you’re all relaxed and have wound down from your busy day, what’s a typical bedtime for you?
Never a typical time, although I strive for 11pm.
Be honest now: how heavily does social media feature in your day?
Massively. Hashtags are the new “LOOK and SEE” whether you accept it or not. The new “hashtag elephant in the room” is…wait for it…a “hashtag”. For the hashtag abhorred, you can’t ignore them. They are here (#fact). Ignoring the worldwide reach social media has for businesses is like wearing a pair of shoes with no soles. Even worse living in a land where stilettos don’t exist. OR, a world where fine leather handbags made for those sexy shoes is only available in HD…or Narnia. #Pointless. The world is very tech-orientated and driven. Social media is great as it allows you to reach a global audience and be seen by the world. The danger is letting it take over as opposed to being a positive feature in your business life. That’s the beauty of also having a great team to collectively manage things. It’s ok to be a light switch and turn ‘off’ and live your real (non-virtual) life. Embrace it.
Now you’ve read all about life in a day of the designer, I think it’s only fair that you check out her work. Everything that you need is below this line…