Being a first-time mum can be challenging especially if you have a baby who selects his or her meal.
Oluwatoyin Onigbanjo the CEO of August Secrets found a solution for every mum experiencing this. The award-winning nutrition company, August Secrets granted Exquisite Magazine an interview, detailing her journey and success. So read up!
Tell Us About You
My name is Oluwatoyin Olubanjo, I am the CEO of the award-winning child nutrition company called August Secrets Limited, at August Secret we make alternative healthy natural cereals all from African-inspired and traditional ingredients for babies and young children and for specific malnutrition problems, our products are selling in over 300 retail outlets in Nigeria, Ghana and other parts of the world such as North America and the UK.
What does your business do?
We exist to solve specific children malnutrition problems. Currently over 70% of food babies eat are imported which means food crops are wasting away on our farms and children are malnourished up to a rate of 25-30% due to dietary diversity problems and poverty.
So August secrets is saying we are making affordable foods from our food crops and we are making them into creative beautiful tasty meals that would be solving challenges such as picky eating and special dietary needs for babies and children.
How did the idea for your business come about?
The idea for August Secrets Limited came about from a personal challenge I had with feeding my son who returned to the country with all sorts of food, I already bought to Feed him when he turned six months I tried the cereals I bought, and he rejected every one of them and I was so frustrated.
I had to buy some from Nigeria and he rejected them also then I had to try homemade and he ate them, this got me thinking that I had this problem, my child wasn’t taking the premade food but wants the one made by mummy so why can’t we have that in the Nigerian market?
That challenged me to start making different recipes and when I did I started to share them online and a lot of mums started to bombard me with a lot of questions saying this is a problem they have been experiencing, and the demand came rolling in and I had to deliver the food I made.
Who are your ideal customers?
Our ideal customers are young mums and mostly busy mums, who could either be stay-at-home mums or work outside their homes, but specifically for mums that are looking for natural and healthier alternatives for their children.
Our products are quite different in terms of the look and preparation but it isn’t far from what mothers know already but the most important thing is that it’s healthier and can be made into different varieties to satisfy the babies.
For August Secrets a single meal can be made with about 10 different kinds of recipes and that’s what makes us different.
Can you describe/outline your typical day?
A typical day in my life use to be me resuming to work six times a week to report at the office but since the covid 19 lockdown.
I majorly work from home half of the week, do school runs and when I get so worked I try to take few hours to myself to relax or book a spa session or go swimming by myself or with the kids.
I also love cooking but lately, I hardly cook, but I enjoy cooking and baking for my family.
How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Being an entrepreneur is like every other job it isn’t any different, and to me, I see it as a blessing, being an entrepreneur makes it easy for your children or your family to say this is what you sell or what you do. It isn’t different from any other career.
The only way it differs is when my kids see the product they can say this is what mummy sells or produces and that’s the most amazing part of it, other than that, being an entrepreneur is harder than any other career because I work endless hours.
How do you generate new ideas?
I generate ideas from our customers and team, each time we ask ourselves what is our mission and how can we better serve with this mission.
Our mission at August’s secret is to raise healthier children and solve child nutrition problems using creative wholesome solutions. So we get insights from customers who discussed their problems with us and give us feedback. Then we discuss them with our team, and that’s how those ideas come.
What motivates you?
When we see that we are solving a problem. The more problem you can solve the more value, you can give to the world and the more value you can get.
Attracting value or capturing value for myself most importantly for my team, people who look up to you, if you are doing a business just to feed I say to my team we have gone past that, and if it was just for me to feed we wouldn’t have gone past the first year.
We need to get bigger value worth more than what you and your family would eat and capture value for people who work with us so by the end of the day by the time you grow older you can say because of this company I was able to pay someone’s school fees, get a roof over their head and that’s what makes life fulfilling.
How do you define success?
Being able to pave open doors for enough people and being able to help lives get transformed. If you don’t help people or transform lives to me your success isn’t complete and you would feel that vacuum in your life.
Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Yes, I believe so, apart from the grace of God and luck. If you don’t have certain things in place it will be difficult to become successful and they are putting customers first.
If you are in business and everything you are doing isn’t revolving around a customer, it might be difficult.
There has to be a market for what you are doing, a demand and a problem to solve. I always say at August Secrets we are a problem-solving company, we are not in competition with anyone. We do ours and others do theirs.
How do you solve your customer’s challenge?
I can’t tell you I have been able to solve all my problems but we have been on a journey making our customers find solutions from us and that’s our goal.
We’ve been able to make them see it and solve it through Jaden’s cereals.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
I love the fact that I have control over my time, I can leave during the day to go for a spa session and come back to work, that’s what I really like about it for now and also being able to measure my progress and have people look up to you and say oh Toyin because of you I was able to achieve this. That’s the biggest flex for me.
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Invest more in knowledge because I always say the things I know now if I knew them 5 years ago I would be operating at 5X of where I am operating right now.
Knowledge is key, I get it you are trying to start and you can’t know everything but maybe if I had dedicated 1 extra month to knowledge research, asking questions getting data, if I had all these in place some years ago I would be better, so if I could start over I would be dedicating six months to research
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
1. A problem-solving mindset.
3. Financial management.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
They are quite a number of people, it used to be my mum but now I’m an adult. So right now our customers are our greatest inspiration, if you look critically if you are not serving some people you would get frustrated, and something or someone being an inspiration isn’t something being in a frame or bubble.
Each time I see customers in need, my team and I get inspired to do more and get ideas and we start feeling important, and if people are no longer looking to you for help what’s the inspiration we are talking about. Although I have a couple of business women I look up to.
If you are an August secret customer and you are reading this interview I want to say thank you for keeping us in business and keeping us on our toes and helping us expand our impact, you are our biggest inspiration.
What business-related book has inspired you the most?
I have up to sixty books as we speak that I own and 30 of them are business books so I really can’t say which is the best, I have Playing Big by Tara Mohr, The 80/20 rule by Richard Koch, and also books focusing on Nigerian business that has exceeded generations, I have customer loyalty and a whole lot of books.
If you were to write a book about yourself, what would you name it?
This is so emotional for me because it got me thinking about my life in the past and where I use to be, so I think the title would be “Out Of The Rubbles”
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