Meet Nwanne and Moyo, the Co-Founders of Simply Asoebi
When we ask our members why they started their business, one of the most common answers is: “being my own boss!” This is at the centre of our latest campaign – the joy of being able to organise your days and having all the decision-making power!
As part of our mission to celebrate those who work for themselves, we love nothing more than to put our members centre-stage. And what better way to do this than on national television with our latest TV advert, ‘Get More Joy Out Of Your Business’?
Our new ad campaign features six real-life Tide members – we are thrilled to be introducing you to the stars of our latest campaign! For our second feature, meet friends turned business partners; Nwanne and Moyo, the Co-Founders of Simply Asoebi.
Hi Moyo and Nwanne! Can you tell us about Simply Asoebi?
Simply Asoebi is the UK’s first full asoebi concierge service making cultural outfits easily accessible for Nigerian and African weddings in the UK and abroad, through the use of modern technology.
Asoebi is the matching fabric worn by friends and family of the celebrants during traditional Nigerian and African weddings.
We started Simply Asoebi to take the stress of the asoebi process away from the bride and groom. We source, sell and deliver the fabric to guests on behalf of the couple, all whilst adding a touch of luxury to the process.
How do you know each other? What were you both doing before and what inspired the transition?
We met on our first day of Secondary school and later found out that we were in the same class – we’ve been close friends for almost twenty years! We both went on to study at different universities, but never lost touch and continued to visit each other.
Before what is now Simply Asoebi, we never considered going into business together and we were just working our corporate jobs. We decided to follow this business idea because of how personal the message of preserving our culture is to both of us having been born and raised abroad.
What a fantastic friendship! What do you love the most about running your company?
The fact that we believe in our business so much and how it has consistently pushed us out of our comfort zone. Whether that’s learning a new skill, trying out new ideas or networking and telling people about Simply Asoebi!
Can you tell us about your products and clients you’ve worked with? Do you have a favourite wedding in mind?
It would be difficult to pick a favourite wedding because each one is so unique. However, the ones we particularly enjoy are the multicultural weddings because we get to be creative in the way we represent both cultures in the asoebi. It can also give us the opportunity to introduce asoebi to guests who haven’t experienced it before.
What’s next for Simply Asoebi?
We have so many ideas and plans in the pipeline for Simply Asoebi but the next phase of growing our business would be to grow our team. Having someone to help us manage the admin and the client relationships would allow us to work on the business rather than in it.
Speaking about admin, why did you decide to choose Tide as your business account?
We chose Tide as our business account because of its low fees – as a pre-revenue start-up at the time, keeping our expenses as low as possible was definitely a priority. Also, we felt like Tide was built for small businesses like ours. Everything was so simple and straightforward so it made the whole process of opening a business account less daunting.
What feature do you use the most?
We use the invoicing feature quite a lot because it’s really easy to issue new invoices and also keep track of payments.
Our Women In Business survey, found that more than 2 in 3 Black female business owners find launching a venture hard. What advice would you give aspiring Black female business owners?
Really get out there and network as much as possible in your early days. It will surround you with a diverse set of people who may end up being pivotal in your journey as you grow your business. Secondly, we would say that you have a lot more to offer than you think – even if you haven’t started your business yet! The difference between you and a successful entrepreneur is experience, not the ability to succeed.
You organise regular networking events with fellow business owners. Could you tell us a bit more about this and why it’s important to you?
We launched our business, Simply Asoebi, at the height of the pandemic which gave us the opportunity to focus on growing our online presence and network with other vendors in the Black wedding industry via social media. Being new to business and to the Black wedding industry, we really wanted to meet the faces behind the brands we spent so much time interacting with and we thought what better way to do that than over great food!
We now host an annual Wedding vendor’s brunch which has helped us maintain relationships and has proven to be a great way to support each other; we share our experiences, advice and insight on different business areas. This event is important to us because we understand that sometimes the entrepreneurial journey – especially if you don’t have a co-founder – can feel isolating. Having people around you that have that shared experience and understanding and can support and encourage you along the way can make all the difference.
What are you most excited about this year?
Our mission is to make traditional outfits and accessories easily accessible to those of us in the diaspora. With this in mind, we have decided to expand our business to include an ecommerce site where brides would be able to purchase accessories for their traditional wedding.
Before you go, what’s one tip you would give to people who want to start their own business?
When you’re still researching for your business, start with the most daunting or less exciting parts like manufacturing costs and accounting, rather than packaging and branding. I find that it’s the daunting parts that end up being the main hurdle to starting a business and so it’s good to get those out of the way first.