In Conversation with Elorm Praise Dela-Seshie of Adorn Me Africa
Describe your business in a few words?
Adorn Me Africa is an online marketplace and subscription box, exclusively featuring amazing creatives and mid to high end designers from Africa.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I’ve always been passionate about entrepreneurship, specifically how empowering and exciting it can be to create something from scratch. The risk and struggle associated with entrepreneurship has always been part of the journey that I saw as worthwhile, for the end result of creating something that would solve a problem, bring about change and even disrupt an industry.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I went to college with the intention of using my Political Science degree to pursue a career in law. After graduating in 2008, just in time for the economic downturn, I did several temp jobs specifically as an Executive Assistant while working on my entrepreneurial ventures on the side.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
The short answer is yes! The long answer; I always knew I wanted to do something out of the box but I didn’t know how to articulate that until after college when the economy tanked. At that point, I decided to start really exploring the possibility of building something myself.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
My first marketing strategy was very much Gorilla marketing and bootstrapping. I had no funds and just passion to drive me. I went to every related event, trade shows and door to door speaking to business owners to sign them up for my business at that time which was a hair salon directory and social media platform. Did it go as planned? Yes, in terms of building a network and getting my business out there; but ultimately I had to eventually closed the business as it was very challenging to monetize ultimately. I learned a ton, I regret nothing!
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
Being part of the Amex 100 for 100 Founders of Change has been such a huge accomplishment for Adorn Me Africa. I am so proud to be a part of such an amazing group of founders.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
I appreciate interview questions that are designed to show you how the candidate approaches the decision making process. Questions that allow the candidate to give critique of an area of our business that they are being hired in. It’s great to get a different perspective and also to see how they respond.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
The pandemic impacted the most important aspects of my business especially my supply chain. All of our vendors are in Africa and in the earlier part of the pandemic everything was shut down everywhere. There was essentially no shipping and the post offices weren’t in operation for weeks.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
Adorn Me Africa’s mission is to uplift and be a resource to up and coming African designers. We are working to create a hub for African designers to use as a workspace, education center and fashion gallery. The goal of this fashion creators hub is to gain access to new fashion software and continued fashion business education to accelerate their fashion businesses. We are working to achieve this in the next 2 years.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
I learned that when pressure is applied I can trust my instincts.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
I wish I knew that failing was part of the learning process and not a personal failure.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
Lots of prayer and meditation, family zoom calls and a few staycations with my husband.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
Yes, very much! I’m a work hard play hard type of person in general, but due to the pandemic, my play hard has been mostly cancelled. So I do my best to set hard schedules between my work and my down-time. I eat dinner at the same time with my husband everyday and we turn off screens to connect. Taking breaks and getting some sun is super important too. Balance absolutely helps me prevent burn-out.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I am a descendant of royalty. My father’s family in Ghana are from the lineage of Chiefs which are African royalty. While they cannot participate in official politics, they still hold an important role in Ghanaian society. They also have authority over traditional laws and customs, and have a great deal of influence in the community and government. The current Chief of the Ewe tribe that my father’s family descends from is located in the Eastern region formally known as the Volta Region. That guy is my uncle.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
- Plan your day the night before.
- Wake up early.
- Take breaks away from your screens.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
Seeing all of the amazing features that Entreprenista has done on so many amazing brands and founders it would be an absolute privilege to be among such inspiring female founded companies.