In April, we are happy to showcase the life and work of a phenomenal woman named Toyin. She is the Creative Director and Founder of Augustsecrets Nigeria, a company established out of the pure passion to make creative and healthy meals suitable for the Nigerian child.
Her work has received rave reviews from a growing community of customers. Accolades have been knocking too, with a recent nomination from The Future Awards and Her Network’s Entrepreneur of the Year.
It was a pleasure interviewing this rising star. Read on for the interview:
What inspired you to start August Secrets? And what’s the story behind the unique name?
I had my son abroad and bought all sorts of meals for him to eat at weaning stage. Unfortunately, he refused to take any of the meals, and I had to resort to finding healthier local alternatives. I started documenting my recipes and my cooking tips and later went ahead to study on Infant and Young Child Nutrition, while I fed my son with my unique recipes. Sharing this gift with other mothers as they demanded for it was the beginning of the company; Augustsecrets.
I was born in August, and our creative kids’ recipes are unique to us. That was how the name came about. We started officially in 2016, and it has been an amazing journey.
Did you have any fears or concerns starting out? How did you overcome them?
I had so many fears starting out, but acceptance was not one of them. The idea of creating a venture around my dream never scared me, but running it as a business did. Regulatory issues, distribution and monitoring issues and how to manage my all of these to make a meaningful, structured establishment were my major fears.
I overcame them by committing myself to constant learning. I ask questions and surround myself with support systems. I also went ahead to make findings on the regulatory demands on running our business, and so far we have been making progress in spite of the challenges.
Congratulations on your 2017 TFAA nomination! Take us back to the moment you found out about it.
I sincerely was shocked at the nomination in the business category of The Future Awards. I was sent a congratulatory email and I had to check myself and my business again to find out why I or a small business like mine would deserve such nomination or award. At the end of the day, I just concluded that in life, you never know who is watching, so that invariably meant I was doing something good at least.
We know all your clients are your favourites 🙂 But tell us about some of your favourite-favourites, and how your foods helped their babies.
One of our favourites would be Mrs Adeleke. Her daughter takes only Augutsecrets Foods since 7 months, and she is almost 2 years old now. We keep getting positive feedbacks of how healthy she is. Most our customers have become my friends. We have customers in over 20 cities in Nigeria and we have a private Moms’ Club where we meet with them to give personal support on issues in childcare and feeding.
What would you say is the best decision you’ve ever made as a businesswoman?
As a businesswoman, it would be to surround myself with people who are visionaries and those who truly care. I only share my ideas and ask questions from people who are better and have gone ahead. I also value my family and team a lot. They are a huge part of the business, and this decision has paid off.
Now, let’s flip things. Looking back, what do you wish you had done differently?
Sincerely, I think all that I have gone through were preparing me for the future ahead. Even the actions I regret have all been lessons to me now. In fact, I wished I had started earlier so I could have learned more, but I still don’t have any regrets.
You were a speaker at the maiden edition of the Lunch With One Woman event. Please share on the impact networking and speaking opportunities have had on your business.
It was really an amazing one. Speaking engagements and networking opportunities like that are avenues for one to learn and meet new people. Indeed I have met so many great friends and supporters from events and they have been helpful.
What are your three biggest guilty pleasures?
Ice cream with waffles, travelling and Banana bread.
If you got a N1 million cheque today to splurge with, what would you get?
I will travel to a new destination and just eat Ice cream and good food, and do nothing for some days!