Ogunlesi is the entrepreneur behind Nigerian children’s clothing manufacturer and retailer, Ruff ‘n’ Tumble. The brand has 15 stores across five cities in the country and has another opening before the end of the year. There are further plans to open an additional 28 stores between 2016 and 2018.
It all started during a rainy season in 1996 when Ogunlesi decided to make her three small children pyjamas. These pyjamas caught the attention of her sister-in-law who ordered seven pairs. And this planted the thought in Ogunlesi’s mind: maybe other mothers would be willing to pay for them.
She began selling them out of the boot of her car after dropping her children at school. When they sold, her husband suggested she make other clothing for children too. It wasn’t long before she was selling them at church bazaars and school markets. And the day she realised she had a business was when she took 120,000 naira (about US$600) worth of clothing to a market and sold almost all of it.
She hired some tailors and started producing for a supermarket, where she was given her own corner to sell her clothes. But every time she visited it she felt disappointed. “I can’t remember where I was when somebody told me he was converting an old building into tiny little stores, but I said, ‘Okay, I am coming to take one. I am going to brave it. I am going to open a store.’” Read more