Ayo Naledi Agunbiade graduated from Covenant University in 2008. She studied Banking and Finance and worked in two different banks before quitting completely to start her own business, Ayo Naledi Designs. She talks to Joy Ehonwa about entrepreneurship, and goldsmithing in Nigeria.
CN: How would you describe your work and your responsibilities as a jewelry maker?
Being a jewelry maker has been a lot of fun. For those who are able to stick to it – because it will not always be fun – it is fulfilling. My designs speak through my hands and seeing a completed piece of jewelry is an amazing feeling.
I started out making beaded and wire jewelry before progressing to using precious and semi-precious metals and stones.
CN: What were you doing prior to this?
Right after graduation in 2008, I worked with United Bank for Africa (UBA) for my national youth service. After my service year ended I worked as a customer service personnel with Fidelity Bank and Sterling Bank before quitting to start my own business.
CN: What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
I would have to say the difficulty in getting most of our supplies for work is one challenging aspect of goldsmithing in Nigeria. Most of them are gotten from China, US, and UK. With the global bashing that the naira has taken in recent times, it has been quite stressful.
CN: What do you find most rewarding about what you do?
The satisfaction that a client feels when they wear an Ayo Naledi piece is something I find very rewarding.
CN: What do you consider to be the best career decision you have ever made?
That has to be leaving the banking industry to start my own business. Passion for what I do helped me stand by this decision even during the roughest of storms.
CN: How do you get inspiration for your different designs?
I get inspiration from different things, even the weirdest. Right now, I mostly work alongside clients to create their jewelry because Ayo Naledi Designs is about personalized jewelry.
CN: What advice do you wish someone had given you as an undergraduate?
I would have loved to understand my options more.
CN: Which books have really made a difference in the way you think and live?
Start With What You Have by Sam Adeyemi
Flight Plan; The Real Secret Of Success by Brian Tracy
Business Secrets From The Bible by Rabbi Daniel Lapin