Fashion Dictates My Personality, Mood ― Adekeye, CEO Royale Affairs

Rashidat Adekeye is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Royale Affairs, a digital startup dealing in jewellery. She is also the founder of Jewelry Business School and The Entrepreneurs Africa Trybe. In this interview with FLORENCE OLUGBODI, she speaks on her digital entrepreneurial journey.

Red Carpet Celebrities and Fashion

Q: What informed your decision to embark on an online jewellery business?

I started my business in 2013 after leaving my paid job and could not secure another one following the arrival of my first child. I didn’t want to sit idle, so I started searching for what I could do online. This was how I started mini importation. I dabbled into different businesses from selling children’s clothes to network marketing before I finally settled for the jewellery business. I sourced for top quality Zirconia and gold plated accessories that will make the working woman step out in confidence.

So far, we have served over 2,000 women and still counting, with customers cutting across the globe; US, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, Paris and even Denmark.

To the glory of God, I have been able to serve my customers from the comfort of my home using my smartphone. This was why I started coaching and mentoring women, especially the working class, on how to stay at home and do business. Because of the advent of technology which has made things easier, they can make money from anywhere, at any time using their smartphones.

I know that entrepreneurship can be lonely, especially when one is just starting, this was why I founded a Facebook community;” The Entrepreneurs Africa Trybe”, to help like-minds connect, network and learn from one another. So far, I have been able to impact over 1,000 women through my content, courses and mentoring. Because of this, I was recently given the VIP Woman of Impact award, amongst others.

Q: So what exactly is fashion to you?

Fashion for me is personal, it is my style, mood and way of introducing myself in a room. I walk into a room and I want people to deduce that I am a covered and chic lady; it is the subtle way of conveying my personality. I do not follow trends; I go with my mood and what conversation I want to spark in a sitting.

Q: Why the jewellery business and not any other business?

I must say that jewellery found me. At the time I started the business, I was just doing it to make some money and keep myself busy. It was meant to serve as a stop-gap; I did not know that we would have such a beautiful and profitable relationship over time. With that, I have now decided to reposition my brand in the business industry. I will say that I have a renewed motive, which is to ensure that top quality jewellery and accessories are served to the public. I also want to ensure that every woman clearly expresses herself using jewellery and regains their level of confidence by wearing colourful jewellery and accessories.

Q: What steps are there to expand your business beyond online marketing?

At this moment, I sell from home. All I have to do is to open a Facebook and Instagram page. I was selling strictly on Facebook initially before I moved my attention to Instagram in 2016 when I realised that my customers were spending most of their time engaging on the app. Later on, I registered the business to ensure that no one uses my brand name. With feedback from customers, I kept tweaking the packaging and presentation of my products and I just recently opened a website for the brand. This is what I tell my students and mentees – start with what you have and invest in the business gradually. The Royale Affairs Brick and Mortar Store is still in the pipeline. Soon, God willing, we shall unveil it.

Q: Can you say online marketing has been working for you?

I had to be intentional about the visibility of the brand. At the beginning of the year, I drew out strategic plans for the brand. To expand, one needs to understand the kind of clients one wants to serve. This understanding made me realise that I had to be more intentional about the rooms and groups I find myself in outside of social media. I had to also be intentional about the pages I engage with online so that I could position my brand for better visibility to the people who can afford to buy what I sell. So far, this has worked tremendously for me.

Q: Tell us what Jewellery Business School and The Entrepreneurs Africa Trybe is all about.

Jewellery Business School is meant to train those who intend to venture into the jewellery business, to teach them what it entails to run the business and how to go about it. It is one thing to know where to source for products; it is another thing to know how to make customers beg you to take their money. Entrepreneurs Africa Trybe was founded to help budding entrepreneurs who are struggling in different aspects of the business to connect, network and learn from other experienced business owners. It is meant to be a support system for entrepreneurs where they can share their challenges and wins even.

Q: With this kind of online business, there is no doubt that you must always be online to attend to customers. How have you been able to combine this with your responsibility as a mother?

Well, it has not been a walk in the park. But one of the things that have helped me is sticking to my routine. I also have a supportive spouse who helps me in different areas ranging from school runs, shopping together sometimes and supporting me in my business. I have a domestic staff as well, and this has eased the stress of running the home to a minimal level. Now, it was not always like this, but like I said earlier, sticking to routines, planning and support from my spouse has been instrumental in making me look like a superwoman. I have scheduled time to go to bed and when to wake up, I use the time that the children are in school to go on errands and do other chores around the house. I also create and schedule my content sometimes, especially when I have to focus more on the family needs. I automate some things in my business as well.

Q: What have been the challenges you face running an online business and how do you overcome them?

Hmm, the challenge of sourcing for quality jewellery and the rise in the foreign exchange rate in recent times. Like I always tell my mentees and students, once you find a seller who supplies quality materials stick with that person or company. Sometimes, the pursuit of better want deals may land one in the hands of a seller without credibility who will supply low quality jewellery.

As for the rise in the foreign exchange rate, this is the bane of every business owner who imports goods into Nigeria. We will continue to manage, check out books and pricing again to ensure one is not running into a loss while selling.

Q: How would you describe the use of social media for business activities?

Social media is very important for every business oriented person as much as a walk-in store is important. A business still needs to attract more eyes to the brand, thereby encouraging buyers to walk in and patronise you. No matter what one sells, one needs social media in this age of digital technology. This is the best time to be alive and make the best use of it. Learn the tools and rules of trading online and start cashing out. If business owners have not learnt anything, at least, COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that we can buy and deliver services virtually. Stay up to the trend, start using social media to bring visibility to your brand.

Q: What is the future projection of your jewellery industry?

I project a future when there will be an interface where customers can try on accessories, see what it looks like on them before making a purchase. This and many more will be possible with the use of technology. I project a future whereby my business grows in leaps and bounds and that will serve more women of substance. God’s willing.

Q: What do you think women who want to start up online businesses in jewellery like you should know before delving into it?

It is assumed that every woman loves jewellery but understanding who you want to sell to first is very important. Do your due diligence; do not just jump into the business because you hear that it is profitable. Learn about jewellery, understand your terrain and be willing to put in the work.


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