Prayers from mums who feed their children my foods is the most fulfilling part of what I do-Oluwatoyin Onigbanjo

 

Oluwatoyin Onigbanjo ceo AUGUST SECRETS
Oluwatoyin Onigbanjo ceo AUGUST SECRETS

 

She is widely known as August Secrets Toyin on social media, however only a few know her by her real name, Oluwatoyin Onigbanjo. The founder of Augustsecrets, her dream is to see the brand become a foremost Nigerian Baby and Toddler Food solutions company. Although this fabulous young mother of two has become the go-to-person for parents of picky eaters, she remains humble. Soft-spoken and down to earth, in this interview, Toyin shares her inspiring  story, speaks about motherhood, as well as her entrepreneurial journey.

 

 Please tell us a bit about your educational background?

I have a B.A degree in English and Literature and a Masters degree in Public and International Affairs from University of Lagos. I also have diploma certificates in Effective Children Teaching, and also another course in Child Nutrition (in view).

 

A few years back, did you envisage establishing August Secrets brand?

Yes, although not exactly what I am doing now. I have worked with children all my life. I love teaching and cooking, especially for children. I had a Kids Club of over 50 children in my neighbourhood as a single lady.

 

What is the inspiration behind the name of your brand, August Secrets?

I was born in August, and I believe it’s a month that represents honour. I have been blessed with the ability to churn out time-tested tricks and secrets in cooking for kids, so the word secrets just came along.

Toyin doing what she knows how to do best

You have always said that your son inspired August Secrets. At what point did you decide to take the plunge and set up the business?

I started at the point when other young mothers will keep me awake even at midnight and weekends, asking for recipes for their children. Some of them asked that I make foods and recipes for them, so I obeyed. (Lol)

 

Please take us through an average day in your life.

I always have a busy day. But when I wake up, I bath and dress up the kids, finish up the breakfast I had prepared halfway from the previous night, go back and check my goals for the day, then jet out to work. At the end of the day, I run through Augustsecrets activities for the day, and set new goals for the following day.

 

AUGUSTSECRETS LOGO

 Please tell us more about your brand and products?

Augustsecrets is a growing brand that is established to be a foremost Nigerian Baby and Toddler Food solutions company.For now, we make a range of call-to-order homemade baby and toddler foods and share recipes online. Our personalised support classes for mothers will be launched soon.

We also have distributors in major Nigerian cities and in the UK.

August Secrets
August Secrets products

You are a wife, mother, journalist and Kiddies food entrepreneur. How do you juggle all three roles almost seamlessly?

I have the support of my immediate and extended family. They always rally round me. That is one thing I am grateful for. I also have

Staff members that have come to love Augustsecrets like their own.

We delegate duties and set daily goals for Augustsecrets. It is not easy at all, but it’s what I love to do. Augustsecrets has become our second family.

 

Running a business in Nigeria at this time is no child’s play. What challenges do you grapple with and which have you overcome?

The major challenge is setting up a structure and sticking to it. A new business venture will always have daily challenges like meeting up with deadlines, satisfying customers, and so on.

I have made good customer service a priority, so our customers try to understand our shortcomings when we explain to them politely.

Another major challenge is the increasing prices of raw materials and farm produce. It is killing businesses.

Journalism is no walk in the park for a Nigerian mum. How do you ensure that your day job doesn’t suffer at the expense of August Secrets?

For me, this is the hardest part of my journey. Sometimes I return late from assignments. But for days I return early, I try to finish up my house chores and then go back to review my job for the day.

The major thing I do is set goals to meet up with my daily assignment as a journalist. Once that is done, I now face Augustsecrets. It is not as easy as it sounds though, but like I said, it’s the life I love.

 

In what ways does your husband complement your roles as a wife and career mum?

My husband is everything any career woman and mother can ask for. He makes sacrifices from his schedules to fit into my plans. It’s not always easy, but he believes in me, so we just keep pushing.

My husband is everything any career woman and mother can ask for. He makes sacrifices from his schedules to fit into my plans. It’s not always easy, but he believes in me, so we just keep pushing.

Toyin and her kids
Toyin and her kids

What are some of the things motherhood has taught you?

Motherhood has taught me to be patient and careful with how I live. The children of nowadays hardly listen to you but always watch what you do. It has also made me more prayerful.

 

What advice do you have for young mums, who are trying to strike a healthy work-life balance?

Get help. Always ask for help. Some people don’t like live-in-nannies; I suggest they employ part time domestic workers. Most African women have been accustomed to do everything in the home and in the office perfectly without any help, but I don’t believe in that, because these are reasons most women break down with sicknesses.

I also advise women like me to get good mentors and always set daily, achievable goals to ease tension.

mummy and daughter moment
mummy and daughter moment

What do you consider to be the most fulfilling thing about what you do?

The prayer I receive from mums who use my recipes and feed their children my foods is the most fulfilling part of what I do. I have always loved to work with children and mothers.

The prayer I receive from mums who use my recipes and feed their children my foods is the most fulfilling part of what I do. I have always loved to work with children and mothers.

Growing up, who are some of the people you looked up to in life?

Growing up, I only looked up to my mother, Mrs. Evelyn Olokun. She is a perfect example. She started from the scratch in all she did and made excellence out of it.

Business-wise, who is your greatest inspiration and why?

They are more than one. Mrs Tara Fela-Durotoye, Mrs Ibukun Awosika, Mrs Folorunsho Alakija and so on. They have built empires and also kept godly homes. They are living the kind of life I wish for.

Most mums are yet to key into the power of social media to advance their business and passion. What advice do you have for such mums?

Learn, learn, and learn. Ask questions. I am not a ‘techy’ person, but social media is my only shop because I use it well.

If it means paying to learn, please do. Most of your customers are on the social media networks, so go join them there!

What advice do you have for any mum who is yet to find her where her true passion lays?

Your passion lies in what you love to do everyday. It lies in what you could do for free all your life without getting paid.

For me, I can cook all day without getting paid. I can teach and dance with children all day without getting paid. Somehow, those are combined in what I do today.

Think first about what value your passion can add to people, then money will come.

If you need to speak with a life coach, please do.

Your passion lies in what you love to do everyday. It lies in what you could do for free all your life without getting paid.

Who will you describe as a fabulous mum?

For me, a fabulous mum is she who trusts in God totally, believes in herself, and also seeks to add value to others, not just to take from people.

A fabulous mum is she who trusts in God totally, believes in herself, and also seeks to add value to others, not just to take from people.

 

Do you take time out to also consider fashion and how do you love to dress?

I love to dress simply in brightly-coloured ball dresses. I also love Northern-style of dressing sometimes. I am not really fashion-conscious; I just love to keep simple, but classy looks.

 

Toyin can be contacted on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/augustsecrets_toyin/?hl=en

 

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