SIDE HUSTLE ON A MISSION

When I decided to make the announcement that I have started AOB, I realised that I was making a bold statement. I was stepping away from what people know about me and leaping back into the ring to start round two of my fashion journey. Despite the success I have seen from my HR career, I decided that life is too short to sit and wait for when the time is right. The time is never right. So, I figured it was either now or never.

 

Having previously described my first fashion brand Twin London as a failure, I know now that Twin London didn’t fail. I think it was the fashion industry that failed Twin. Too many gatekeepers. The people loved Twin, but the gatekeeper protocols and criteria didn’t love Twin. I know now that I should have stuck to my guns and maintained plan A, rather than try to convince a retailer to stock me I should have stayed with my plans to go direct to the consumer, and kept it moving.

 

Looking back, Twin was not even my first fashion brand! I have dabbled in lingerie, shoes and accessories and swimwear, each time using the then blueprint of designing a collection and presenting it to someone to sell on my behalf, and to my dismay, radically altering my vision and equally bad, the intended retail price.

 

Fast forward several years, a 9-5 career, two kids, a break-up and Rocky the dog, my outlook on life and business couldn’t be more different. Throw in the boom of social media (I still feel like a dinosaur), a global pandemic and the black lives matter movement, my whole perspective has changed. My ‘side hustle’ has a mission.

 

Finding balance and the right pace is tough. I always have to remind myself to apply what I have learned along the way to navigate the AOB journey. It means leaning on my network to build a team, calling in a lot of favours, freelancing to raise extra cash, waking up earlier than I would like and get this, having to schedule in my ‘downtime’.

 

I am happy to admit that I am not great at multitasking, so I have to break down my time to fulfil the multiple roles I hold.  Mum and homemaker first thing and AOB CEO before its time to log on to the world of HR, Diversity and Inclusion. Sprinkle a dash of mum throughout the day in the form of breakfast, lunch, chats and walks, before zoning back into business development and client work.

 

Evenings are spent cooking, watching a movie or playing a game with the kids, and another dog walk before I settle into creative mode. Sometimes building a server on Mindcraft or house Roblox overtakes everything, but I am ok with that! The last thing I do is revisit the plan and set my intention for the next day. Sounds tiring? It’s not really that bad! There is something about AOB’s mission that fires me up, even when I am feeling the pinch. It is because to me, Ankara prints are amazing, and I will continue to share why that is. My mission is to elevate Ankara and share my love of prints with the world. It really is that simple.

Nina, Founder x