Atiti Sosimi is serial entrepreneur who’s run successful business ventures in fashion and also launched a thriving children’s board game.
In this Edition of Naija Living chat, we caught up with the talented fashion designer and inspiring business woman in the run up to the Women4Africa awards where her fashion line Eyato staged an incredible catwalk show on the night.
She shares her nuggets of wisdom on succeeding as a woman in business, her various business interests and how she stays ahead of competition.
You’re a serial entrepreneur who’s run successful businesses in completely different sectors, tell us a bit about your businesses and your niche market
Atiti- Whilst each business is very different, they have a common theme running through them;
- Tea with Atiti – requires you to take time out to replenish yourself and reinvigorate yourself by surrounding yourself with seasoned people who have a vast array of diverse personal and professional experiences to share. This setting is not a hard sell networking environment it is more relaxed encouraging you to savour the experience time and be kind to yourself. This event focuses on you getting something back from being the selfless ‘giver’. It’s an appreciation of you!
- Shhh or Tell it – is a novel scenario based board game with vibrant colourful game components. It is great fun and also has educational value. It has versatile uses and leads us to pay attention to how we make decisions learn about our friends, family, colleagues, employees or whoever else we’re engaging with without being judgemental, but rather appreciating what informs how people around us act and seeing the similarities between ourselves and others
- Eyato – The ‘Eyato’ story is simple… it’s all about you; designed with a high-end couture niche clientele in mind. Eyato is for the Business woman, the Boardroom woman and the Senior Executive Management woman; the woman not to be messed with who dares to put her intellectually driven femininity right into the equation.
What inspired you to create Shhh or Tell it?
A board game seemed an excellent way to get family friends and people in general together to play talk, share deliberate, give us greater insight into who our friends and family are in a safe non- threatening, non-judgemental engaging way. I decided a board game would be the ideal way to confront serious issues alongside fun issues and situations (a healthy balance).
How has the reception been so far?
Positive and constructive and a growing interest from within and outside the UK
Who would you say are the main market for Shhh or Tell it?
The general public wishing to buy a family fun board game to play with family or friends.To date it has also been purchased by schools and youth groups. Equally it has been purchased by learning and development practitioners running team building and decision-making workshops
New scenario cards have recently been developed which will be available for sale later in the year. The information will be on the website, twitter and Facebook page.
So about Tea with Atiti……will there be one this year and when and how can people get involved?
Yes. Tea with Atiti will be back this year with an event at the end of September. The information will be available on the website www.teawithatiti.com
As a working mum who has to joggle a hectic work schedule with looking after a family, what would you say are the main challenges and how have you worked round this?
I plan a lot and organise my businesses against specific days of the week, which helps scheduling my time in the main. Sometimes keeping appointments can be a challenge and one must prioritize. I talk about everything and negotiate everything too
How important would you say is your family’s support to the success or smooth running of your business?
My family is my life, I value and cherish their honesty, curiosity and concerns. Being structured and disciplined means I get to enjoy family time and still work hard
A lot of black and ethnic minority businesses struggle in the first few years of launching and many don’t make it past the first year for various reasons including lack of finance, support and mentorship, what would you say has kept you going these past few years and how can other aspiring entrepreneurs learn from this?
Being in business is about educating oneself to understand what business is and what it demands from those who venture into it, it isn’t an alternative to an education and whilst willy nilly wheeling dealing may in the short-term appear to be lucrative, it isn’t sustainable without proper growth and development of the business owner and the team if one exists.
Being honest and true to myself. Not every great idea is a good business. I also try to listen, learn and research everything. I read and learn about people who know more than I do, ‘earn from their failures and successes
My advice to people starting out is that there is no rush. I Learn from my mistakes, which goes back to the first point. You need to stay focused and disciplined. Be committed to your business and engage in continuous development.
You should also ask for help and get a mentor.
The quality of what I do and produce has no colour, this is pivotal to black and minority ethnic businesses being able to cross into all available markets. Learning about business either as apprentices or from courses that offer practical hands on experience could be of value.
What are Atiti’s plans for the next few years?
To keep growing and investing in: Eyato, The Big Secret Company and Tea with Atiti
The most rewarding part of owning and operating a successful business?
There isn’t one thing that is most rewarding there are a few:
- Personal growth
- Doing what you love and it returning you a livelihood.
- Having greater flexibility in how you work to ensure you can also spend quality time with family and loved ones
- Knowing you are giving your best and seeing satisfied customers or receiving feedback which indicates customer satisfaction.
Your favourite quote and mantra?
Most recently my favourite phrases are ‘Why?’ and ‘Are you sure?’