Meet Catherine, Grace and Chinasa

At some point in your entrepreneurial journey, you realize that what you know is no longer enough. The experience and knowledge you have cannot take you past where you are or take you where you want to go. At this point, you have to take a move towards learning new stuff or unlearning old ones. In my interactions with many business owners, I have observed how different people respond to this realization. There are people like Grace who at 38 realized that almost nothing she learnt in business school or through her 7-year career in banking had prepared her for the harsh realities of doing business in Nigeria and the business of fashion specifically. Grace got unhinged!!! She said she felt dizzy trying to manage the many moving parts in fashion retail. Eventually, she dusted up her CV and went begging for her old job back. Grace did not need an old job, she needed new solutions and a different mindset.

Then there are people like Catherine. Catherine is a force of nature!!! Her work ethic is unrivalled, and her parents taught her that hard work was the secret to lasting success, so she worked hard, extremely hard. Sure enough, like most fashion preneurs, she hit a roadblock. She was only 7 years into starting her dream label, and it was just not working. But she kept at it. Late nights, long travels, endless consultations with bespoke customers that did not respect her time. Giving up on this dream was not an option, she was not a quitter. Unlike Grace, Catherine knew what she was doing was not working, but she was not ready to do things differently. Catherines are the hardest to watch, expending time, passion and energy on a formula that no longer works.

Catherine threw good money and invested lots of energy in a business that had stopped moving. She was doing all she knew how, and the ghost of her past successes haunted her. She could not change the methods; she was not even open to the idea. By the time I met Catherine, she had pivoted. Long before pivoting became a buzz word due to the pandemic, Catherine was pivoting for survival to manage a crisis of her own. She started catering but still ran the fashion business in the same old painstaking way. I learnt from Catherine that sometimes strategy and insight trumps hard work (they do not replace it though).

There is a right way to embrace change when your old ways fail you. Enter Chinasa… oh Chinasa. I got to hear Chinasa’s story during our one-on-one session after she had completed my online course “How to start a ready-to-wear label in Nigeria”. Chinasa had been in business for 6 years before taking my course. Her business had taken a life of its own… It had become something she resented. The bespoke model worked in the early days before hubby and kids came into the picture. Her work did not reflect her style, and her bank account did not reflect her efforts. She watched my trailer and signed up for the course immediately. In her words, “I just knew transitioning to ready-to-wear was my lifeline”. Chinasa devoured the course and by the time we had our consultation she had taken the course 5 times over. She shut down her business and started from ground zero. Long story short, her business earned 3 times her previous sales. She was making clothes she loved, clothes that represented her. She was happy. Chinasa is a teacher’s dream. Chinasa taught me something that day. If it is not working, complaining won’t change it, hard work may not, time will pass but your frustrations will remain. What you need is to learn how to do things right and do it.

Meet Catherine, Grace and Chinasa

Why are they SELLING?

I think it is time we started talking about selling again. We have been inundated with gloom and doom and with images of big businesses shutting down. We have also been force-fed so much information through webinars and lives it’s easy to look so far into an uncertain future that we ignore or miss out on realities and worst still opportunities.

The reality is that there are businesses out there that are selling. I am not trying to put you under any pressure, but it is the truth. Now, why are they selling? That is the million-dollar question? What are they doing right and what possibly are we doing wrong? It is easy to throw our hands in the air and give up on our businesses, but it is not so easy to make changes that could turn things around.

In my latest podcast, I talk about five things that I have noticed that successful businesses at this time are doing right to get their sales up. I know we all have our peculiar circumstances that really may make our businesses suffer more than most but if this season has taught me anything it is that there is ALWAYS SOMETHING YOU CAN DO. YOU SEE SUCCESS PRINCIPLES CAN’T CHANGE BUT STRATEGIES AND METHODS CAN.

So, let us think differently. The new normal is here, post-COVID is here. Click the link and listen to the podcast.


Why are they SELLING?

This is a good thing

It feels like the old normal is gone and we have not quite defined the new one yet. What does that mean for our businesses and the way we live our lives? This is a question I have asked myself several times and what I discovered was comforting. Thankfully, I do not have to unlearn everything I have learnt in the past 18 years… What a relief!!!

This year has taught me that as a brand and a person I must never stop exploring and evolving. There is so much more to me (and you) than I have allowed myself to be. This is not about being busier, I repeat, this is not about being busier!!! I made that mistake earlier in the lock-down. I immersed myself in everything, every course, webinar and house chore available and then I was exhausted but had achieved nothing. So, this season, let us think, less activity and more impact. As we evolve, we may need new skills and new relationships to become our better selves. Our businesses may be leaner now, but that means they are more nimble and so now able to move and adapt with ease. That is a good thing.

I talk about my love for evolution and adaptation in my E-book “18 secrets from 18 years in business” One reason why my business, Xclamations by Tomi Rotimi, has remained relevant and vibrant through almost two decades is that I embraced every disruption I experienced as an opportunity to evolve and emerge stronger and more relevant and so much more resilient. This disruption is the worst yet but has presented another opportunity to be better.

My new E-book is a must-read. It is now available at 50% off its original price and I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has downloaded it and sent me feedback. It has been humbling.

Click the link below to get the E-book https://tomirotimi.com/shop/ and listen to my latest podcast where I talked a bit about Secret 11, one of my most important secrets. https://anchor.fm/ayotomi-rotimi/episodes/Secret-No-11-eh32qq


This is a good thing

Let’s Collaborate…

I have always believed in the power of collaboration and I have been blessed with some super special partners too. Before now I would have considered collaboration a mere strategy to acquire new customers or expand your network but now I can say without a shadow of a doubt that collaboration post COVID, will be a lifeline for your business and a survival strategy. Unfortunately, collaboration could go desperately wrong if you partner with the wrong person or brand. I have made enough mistakes in this regard to know that collaboration done wrong could be an expensive venture and one that should be avoided at all cost. Today’s podcast is all about simplifying the process of collaboration and I don’t know anyone I would like to share this conversation with other than master jeweller and my favourite collaborator, Abimbola Osunkunle. Bimbo and I have partnered on so many projects and I have seen how easily she makes partnerships work with many other brands. How do you recognize the right collaborator and avoid the wrong ones? Click the link to listen and learn.


Let’s Collaborate…

#Dearfashionpreneur S10

How are you doing?

Business is slow, right?

I don’t want you to get carried away by the anxiety around the pandemic and lose sight of a valuable gift this season has brought us; TIME. We now have all the time to reflect, adjust and develop. When the pandemic blows over and we get back to our normal routines, one thing will be sure everything will change. Only businesses that are strong and able to adapt will remain. I know my business Xclamations by Tomi Rotimi will be one of those businesses, and I hope yours will be too.

I have one loud message for you today. The message is for you to take my online course HOW TO START A READY TO WEAR LABEL IN NIGERIA while you have all this time on your hands. Also, I am offering a 20% discount off the course as an incentive. What is your excuse now? You have postponed enough. It’s time to make this period count and come out stronger and prepared.

We are getting testimonials regularly from our students who have taken the course, and the verdict is the same; It was a great investment in their business and one they highly recommend.

Click here to listen to a testimonial from one of our students https://www.instagram.com/p/B-foz5DHHT7/

Please take advantage of this time and discount before they both expire. Click here to register for online course http://training.tomirotimi.com/


#Dearfashionpreneur S10

#Dearfashionpreneur S9

I know you worry about your business.

I know you may be fearful and maybe you are panicking.

Your fears are valid, but panicking will get you nowhere.

Here are some facts.

This situation is temporary but will change the way we do business forever.

We have made more investment into solutions for this problem than anything we have experienced in our lifetimes. The experts have assured us that vaccination will be available in a year at most. There is hope.

As of today, you can still offer your customers your services, so do so. Tomorrow’s problems are not here yet. Do what you can while you can.

I have put together a list of 5 things you can and should do. These are things I am doing too. These are not quick fixes (I don’t do those) but these will benefit your business now and even after this challenging season passes. I am doing one more thing. I am opening registration for my course again. If you have more time on your hands, then use it. It is important that you are a better business person when this is all over and a stronger, more informed individual. So for my podcast subscribers, my newsletter subscribers and my Instagram followers, I am offering 20% off the price of my full course. This offer is open for two weeks only. I hope you take advantage of this and ensure you make use of this time well.

Click on the link to register for the course “How to start a ready-to-wear label in Nigeria” now.


#Dearfashionpreneur S9


So I put on weight, the picture in yellow is one year older and one dress size bigger. I wish I could say I prefer myself thicker but nope… Admittedly miss being thinner, my new size has its perks though. My skin is brighter and clearer, my hair is thicker and longer and I’m having a little more fun with food. On a new weight loss journey, I realize that the strategies that helped me lose 15kg may not work in losing 6kg. I’m older, more injury-prone, with new demands on my mind and my energy levels so I need to find a new way. There is good news though, my good habits are still intact, I work out every day, lost my appetite for ice cream and bread and still declutter often. I’m guarding these habits jealously and enjoying my new body and its new glow. 

Like our bodies, our businesses need new strategies as they get older too. We must delegate more, depersonalize more, and create more passive income streams. I’m trying all these too. Once you are past the 5-year mark, you switch to survival mode in an industry that celebrates and craves newness. Becoming yesterday’s hot new thing is dangerous, so consider your strengths as a unique selling point. Treat your tribe, those loyal customers that keep showing up like the royalty they are. Position yourself as an authority in your field and you will attract those who appreciate the expertise that that comes with age.

 P.S. I’m thinking of joining a Zumba class to shake things up… I’m open to suggestions?




Two things are going to happen to you in your business life and you can quote me on this. Two things that you should anticipate and be prepared for. What are they? 

The first are HIGHS, you are going to experience some seasons or moments when everything that could go right would. You will surpass your sales targets, hire a brilliant mind, customers will show up unsolicited, shop your brand and spread your gospel. You will be nominated and win awards and your creative juices will deliver bestsellers that will blow your mind!!! And then the next certainty will happen…. this will go down for sure.

 The downtime, sales will dip and if you are lucky it comes in trickles, loyal customers will express disappointment and try out the competition. Your best hands will leave without notice. In desperation, you throw money at the problem, but it bounces back as debt, crippling and overwhelming. Your creativity is stifled, the accolades and applause stop, the silence is deafening. Ups and downs, highs and lows are a constant. Don’t be fooled by Instagram curated lives that give the impression that it’s all about the high life. I have personally experienced everything I described in this post. I know that sustained success is who I am between the highs and lows. The reality of the two keeps me humble, open to learning, reinventing and adapting.

What to do when sales dip? I have a few ideas I like to share but remember this too is a reality we all experience.

Click on the podcast to listen.


#Dearfashionpreneur S8


People ask me how I do it? If you are a creative you know that is a difficult question to answer. It’s not really a process you can explain and talent is not something you can teach. Most creative entrepreneurs have the design bit locked. One of my students said to me once “ some designs wake me up at night “ so she always keeps a sketch pad by her night stand. Another one said “ it starts with a nagging thought , a very specific detail like a pleated sleeve and I flesh it out from there” I’m intrigued by the creative process and how it varies from one genius to another. You have the creativity it’s the monetization you struggle with, most creatives do. This thing comes to you so easily so effortlessly you undervalue it  because you could do it for free. You sit down with a client for hours and charge nothing for your time, you deliver an exquisite creation and charge peanuts for the finished product. You don’t have a life because your bespoke business demands all of your time. Yet you have other ideas you are desperate to share with the world, but you can’t, your bespoke business won’t let you. You design what is demanded of you but you have so much more… your sketch book is bursting with new innovative ideas but you are stuck. You need to start a ready to wear label , you need to at least have a vibrant ready to wear offering along with your bespoke services. You can do it. The world is waiting and I can help you.  click on the online course to learn how you can monetize your creativity.

#Dearfashionpreneur S8


Too many moving parts, that’s what the entrepreneur signs up for. It’s what I love and hate most about entrepreneurship. When you are a creative entrepreneur it’s worse because your bread and butter are tied to being inspired so throw that in your already overwhelming list of things to do “stay inspired”.

Inspiration is not overrated. How do you keep coming up with commercially viable designs and stay passionate and profitable. How do you keep them coming in and out of season? 

I have a podcast on staying inspired. In the middle of all you have to juggle , know that your creativity must be fed and protected. It ain’t easy though but nothing great ever is. #