Vendorpreneurship series ft Hannah Ayilaran, CEO of StyleVendorsNg

Up until 2016, I never everrr saw myself as an entrepreneur. I’ve always been this fun loving, fashionable city girl with the ideal dream of finishing uni and getting a consulting job in one of the big 4s. Little did I know the tides & waves of entrepreneurship was coming to sweep me away smh.

After my undergrad degree in 2012 (studied Economics), I moved back to London and started working in finance. I worked for about 2years, got bored of my Job then decided to go do my masters in oil & gas management at Robert Gordon Uni (with the dream of getting a job in GE or Exon Mobil). Then the unexpected happened, the oil Industry crashed before I started my course. I had to re-strategize due to the layoffs and decline in that industry. I declined the admission and went back to work for 1year before deciding to go do a masters degree in Warwick (best decision ever made).

Started my masters degree in Engineering Business Management at University of Warwick in 2015. Excelled greatly in all modules and quickly became my tutors favorite (maybe because I always ask and answer questions idk), I still kept applying for Jobs in my ‘dream’ companies, going through countless of applications, psychometric test, assessment center and rejections. When dissertation period came, I wrote my thesis on a “comparative analysis between British and Japanese rail industry based on their operations & strategy”, I became a rail industry guru after 35,000 words (lol…I still am). At this stage, I was convinced I had to work with Network Rail or Tfl after Uni (still didn’t happen).

The idea of starting my business didn’t even come until after uni whilst I was waiting for feedbacks from interviews and assessment center. I decided to go to fashion school for a short 6wks course just to while away my time, this was when my sister suggested to me to start a YouTube channel since I love everything fashion. I remember saying “me! YouTube! God forbid” lol. Not like there’s anything wrong with being a YouTuber (ermm they make cool money) but I’ve always seen myself as a working-class lady plus I need to use the masters degree I just earned. After that conversation, I started thinking of how I could turn my passion for fashion into a business and not long after, the idea of StyleVendorsNg came to me. I spoke to a few people about it and every one of them thought it was a great idea & there was a market for the service. Someone suggested I plot the idea on the purpose Venn diagram and the result will help me know if it’s something worth pursuing. Based on the purpose Venn diagram, if the business or project is not a combination of your passion, talent and financial viability, then it’s not your purpose.

I plotted my idea for StyleVendorsNg and it was the perfect combination of all. I remember the Joy in my heart and the butterflies in my tummy, the feeling of finally finding a perfect mix of what I love, what I’m good at and what’s gonna make some cool money. If only I knew the journey of entrepreneurship is a lonely one way traffic and this was the beginning of my sleepless nights, negative account balance, social media suck-up, social-life suicide and many more.

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