NIEMATULAI’S GUIDELINES TO BECOMING A SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEUR
May 24, 2019
‘My mother always looked radiant and beautiful in the kitchen, wearing her ‘Lappa’ (a T-shirt and a head wrap). She reminded me of a ‘Shining Star’. She was always so stunning’.
My fondest memory was the day I used my lunch money to buy twelve yards of fabric for her. She sewed for herself and made a beautiful outfit. I was so proud to have contributed to that and that feeling stayed with me for a long time. I feel that pride whenever I am able to lend beauty to others through fashion.”
Niematulai is a successful entrepreneur with over twenty years of professional business experience. She has combined her talents in design, and culinary skills as a Chef to create a vibrant platform that is fueled by her rich cultural background. RNL Authentics LLC is an authentic African clothing and accessory line- which has slowly transformed into “The place where food and fashion meet”.
She acknowledges her family’s role in contributing to who she is today. Regardless of the fact that Her Father was an uneducated Fulani, she gained a lot of inspiration from Him. He was the epitome of hard work and success. On a daily basis, she strives to continue His legacy, learning from her own journey and experiences. Niematulai believes in the power of sharing knowledge and gaining wisdom.
BRAND YOURSELF AND YOUR PASSION
I want people to feel beautiful. How people perceive you is based on how you sell yourself. The amount of effort you put in branding yourself will bring the same level of respect for it from others. You may not have anything in your bank account or in your purse but if you walk into somebody’s office and sell yourself with confidence and a smile. The potential for your success is unlimited. But sadly, most people miss this point.
I believe that self-love and a good presentation of you is very important. The feeling that I get from seeing my work or my product being used by others gives me tremendous joy. I’m trying to create a world with a fashion sense. My task is simple, if only it is to attract one person each day. My passion leads me to them where they are and we journey on to their fashion desires.
HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY
I know there is a saying that the customer is always right. But that is not always necessarily true. In the world of fashion and other creative spaces, it’s not just about creating a garment, it’s about being honest. Sometimes the best way to be the best you can be for your client and yourself is, to be honest. When a new client shows up, I want to be able to say “Yes this looks great!” or “No it doesn’t” and then we work together to create magic.
It is not just about the customer or the client. It’s also about you and setting yourself apart. It’s about being consistent and creating authentic pieces. And that goes a long way to boost your brand and the clients’ confidence in you.
It’s a wonderful feeling to be considered edgy. I’m selling the truth and making good profit from that.
FIND CREATIVE WAYS TO OVERCOME CHALLENGES
The challenges must push us forward. I still struggle to meet all the needs of my customers; both here in the United States and back home in Sierra Leone.
Being a small business owner, I can’t afford a storefront at the moment. But that doesn’t stop me from doing my work. I make do with what I have; my house is open to my clients. This creates some sort of intimacy between me and clients. Weird as it may sound, it is a good feeling to be trusted!
My business relationship with Africa is a tough one. It’s tough because of the shipment system.
When customers approach me from Sierra Leone, it’s always a struggle. How do I package my products to my people on a cheaper level? When mailing just a simple letter will cost me a little over a hundred dollars?
I have realized that to keep that niche strong and that clientele going. I try setting up a pop-up shop on each visit. I also show them a little taste of Louisiana through food and culture. This is building ties and establishing a relationship and link between RNL and the Motherland. Otherwise Africans in the Diaspora get to make purchases directly through our US Distributors
DO NOT NEGLECT YOUR ROOTS
I am African and I am very appreciative of where I come from, so I give back as much as I can. My small business contracts African workers and it helps creates jobs for them. They take pictures with their cameras and keep me up to date on the latest African fabrics and it allows me to support the economy by buying local.
Do you know that beautiful women; young and old, strive hard daily to make ends meet. I’m blessed to be able to contribute somehow to their income.
Proceeds from the products I sell here in the United States also go back to an orphanage I set up back in Sierra Leone.
I follow a lot of African fashion brands closely; my two personal favourites are Kadiatu Kamara of Vivid Emporium and SWANK Couture owned by my beautiful Aunty Jenneh Amara Bangali.
THE SKY IS NOT YOUR LIMIT
I’m a BIG Dreamer and I am just going to keep it that way! Someday soon RNL will be recognized all over the world . Our products will be in department stores in every country. Our brand will be a household name and everyone will hear about us.
You shouldn’t be scared to dream big, in fact, your dreams should scare you because that is the only way to motivate you. I have big dreams for RNL and I am going to be able to influence the entire world through food and fashion.