Small Business Interview: Bolanle Williams-Olley, BeauBelle Africa
Meet Bolane Williams-Olley. A super mom of two who works full time, is back in school and recently launched a new business, BeauBelle Africa, (while pregnant!), in addition to other businesses she owns. Are you inspired yet? Bolanle is a self motivated, self starter who is chasing her dreams head on and in this interview she shares her accomplishments, progress so far with her new business and some awesome advice for all you budding entrepreneurs out there. Enjoy!
Please introduce yourself and tell us about your business. What is it called and what products do you offer?
My name is Bolanle Williams-Olley and I wear a few hats, I am a Wife and Mother to two beautiful kids, I work full time as a Senior Project Accountant, in school part time getting a Master’s in Education and Social Policy, I make crochet and knit items for kids under Bola Krafts, I run donations projects under BKCares and I am the owner of BeauBelle Africa – an African Infused, Kids Approved Clothing Line.
Can you share a bit about how you choose this line of business? What transition did you make to owning your own business?
BeauBelle Africa was inspired by simply wanting to have ready-made Ankara/African Print clothes for Children, I felt Adults were well catered to and there was a void for children, also having my daughter in 2014 was a big push for me because I pictured seeing her in cute clothes made from vibrant prints. The idea for BeauBelle Africa was birthed April 2014, and a full year after May 8th, 2015 BeauBelle Africa’s site went live and ready for people to shop. I currently run BeauBelle Africa while working full time.
Do you have any special training?
No, I don’t, it is all self-inspired :)
What are some of your biggest accomplishments as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment would be launching my business – I had just found out I was pregnant not too long before and I could have easily said timing wasn’t right but I felt so proud when the website went up and got my first purchase, many more to come.
How soon after you started did you start seeing profits? Or when do you project to begin earning a profit?
I project to begin earning profits in 2016, I am excited about both new and old stock and looking to see an influx of customers.
How did you decide how to price your services? How did you determine what your services were worth?
I price my clothes based on all my input costs and then factoring profit but keeping in mind what the price point I would pay for my son or daughter’s clothes if I went to a comparable store, I wanted my clothes to be affordable to the next door mommy.
What mistakes, if any, have you made with your business? What have some of your biggest challenges been? What did you learn from the experience and how did you bounce back?
I would say one mistake was not clearly defining my high and low seasons and how to keep customers engaged during the low seasons, I’ve learnt that people are actually always interested in your brand depending on what you are selling no matter the times, so I bounced back by coming up with creative ways, for example, coming up with content to post on my social media to interact and keep present with followers and customers.
What do you consider the most important elements of running a successful small business?
I think its key to stay true to yourself, knowing who your market is, when setbacks come see them as a learning experience, applying the lessons learned and putting in the effort to grow organically, when you have a good product and brand you believe in, success is then not a probability for you but a sure thing that will happen.
Do you have any start-up advice you can share with women reading this who would like to launch their own businesses?
Start your business with passion and just hold on! The path you might end up taking will most likely deviate from how you imagined but just keep pressing on. Someone out there needs what you have to give.
Do you have any advice on managing your small business finances?
Keep track of every dollar that goes in and out, it’s quite easy to foot some of the expenses by yourself but it has to be factored into the cost of the business.
How do you balance work and life owning a small business?
With all that is going on in my life, time management and prioritizing is key, I am also learning to plan ahead when it comes to my business so I can maintain consistency.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see BeauBelle Africa being the go-to brand for African Print Clothes for Children, being known in the households as well as being carried in stores, I will be back to tell you when we get the first store that wants to carry us!
Please share a fun fact about yourself?
I love to travel, I’ll be on the first plane to see any part of the world if I could right now