In the last two to three months, both sisters have taken the plunge and left their well-paying corporate jobs in law and technology. Jane used to be a software testing business analyst, which involved testing apps for industries such as mobile banking, marketing, TV and media. This role was the main thing that developed her understanding of running the back end of websites, which would be a vital asset to Cultureville. Throughout her day to day life, she was already on the ball with social media, so this was used to great advantage in the marketing side of the new enterprise. This, and a good grounding of knowledge in coding allowed Jane to develop the website with minimal outside help.
With Adeola, it is a similar story - by trade, she is a corporate lawyer. In Nigeria, after she had completed her time with the National Youth Service, Adeola went to law school for 18 months, to train in corporate law. The law degree and the legal experience has given her a strong grounding in the legal side of how businesses work, and gives her a good overall understanding. She oversees and completes anything in Cultureville to do with drawing up contracts. The leap from her legal job to running the business was, for Adeola, a big change, as she was in a high paying role, working on multi-million dollar transactions.
Jane says, “It got to the point where there was so much business, and it really started to cut into my 9-5. During the work day, I would have to take urgent phone calls relating to the business. In the middle of working, I would often have to duck into meeting rooms to take a call. It was at this point that I realised that the needs of the business were so much that I just could not do both any more. I had to give up either my job or the business, and I love Cultureville so much that it was never going to be Cultureville that I would give up, so naturally it had to be the 9-5 job. It was a really scary thing to do, and it still is, because I have given up my reliable monthly salary, so I don’t have that consistent income any more. But our faith in God has really been at the heart of our business, so we trust that our needs will be met, because we are trusting God above anything else”.
Jane left her tech job in June, and Adeola left her job at the end of July, so it’s only in the last three months that the sisters have taken the plunge to go all-in with the business. I really admire their courage and determination. But it is clear to see that when doing something you love, it makes it easier to take big steps such as the one they have made.
Both ladies thought that leaving their jobs would give them a lot more free time, but this has not been the case...since taking the plunge, the opportunities have come flooding in, so the space has been filled up very rapidly, so they are just as busy as they were with the jobs! It goes to show, that when you intentionally make that space for growth, growth happens. This big move increased their capacity for the business, so they were able to say yes to opportunities they had had no choice but to turn down before.
But also, they knew that if they did not carve out space to rest and refuel often, they would be at risk of burning out, and compromising their own physical and mental wellbeing. So, they set aside specific days to rest. Often, there are times when they have to push through when the demand is high. This week, for example, they have been preparing for the launch of their new collection. “It’s been mad”, said Jane, “but so much more rewarding as well, because I feel like the wins are so much more exhilarating than when you are just working as an employee for a company. Because of the mission and vision of the business, we are not just doing it for us, we are doing it with the bigger picture in mind of having a more positive impact in our communities”.
The company’s strapline is “Look Good, Feel Good, Do Good”, to reflect the company’s bigger goal of empowering communities in Africa, with a view to changing people’s lifestyles for the better, and creating a snowball effect of positive change by helping people who can’t help themselves, but who have the inherent potential, and the talents that could elevate them, but they may not have the means to put that into action, or, indeed the self-belief or the courage. Jane and Adeola are really passionate about communicating to these people that they believe in them, and offering to pay them to do what they are good at, and to develop and grow that skill in a way that will in turn benefit their livelihoods and future prospects, as well as benefitting the business.
“When I feel tired, and at times when I am wondering if I have made the right decision, this keeps me going”, Adeola says. “We remind ourselves and each other about all the people’s lives this impact for the better, and we are like, ‘let’s keep this up and see where it goes’