Branding and freedom aren’t two words you usually see together in a sentence. Let me tell you a story …
I used to go to job interviews in a suit. A nondescript black or navy trouser suit that was ill-fitting in so many ways. Firstly, the anatomy I’m blessed with makes finding a flattering off-the-shelf trouser suit quite difficult. Vanity aside, there I was, a young excited professional creative, going to find a job in my field, looking like an accountant!
Somewhere along the journey into adulthood, I had picked up this idea that this is how things were done. Serious situations like job interviews called for “serious” attire and, we all know that means a suit. Despite the fact that people who already worked at these places never/rarely wore suits. Despite the fact that I was largely being judged on my creativity and, we all know how your visual presentation has the power to influence decisions. My choice of clothing just didn’t make sense.
Presentation is everything
Continue reading “No new clothes: a story about branding and freedom”
Last week I launched the Afri-love Women Facebook group, for creative African women balancing self-care and professional excellence.
When I started this blog, almost 7 years ago, I always had a vision that it would be more than just a one-way conversation. That it would lead to activities and initiatives in the real world. In late 2015, I held the Afri-love Sundown Sessions – 3 intimate evenings of live music, co-hosted with musician Sirena Riley. Late last year, I co-hosted a Nairobi brunch for women creatives, together with the Nzinga Effect. Both events were successful in many ways and, I received such great feedback from attendees. I knew that I wanted to create more opportunities for interaction with like-minded people – in real life and virtually as well – and the Afri-love Women Facebook group is step one.
Continue reading “Real talk for creative African women – join in!”
Happy new year! I hope you had some time to rest and rejuvenate as the year turned. A good chunk of my holiday was spent in Moshi, Tanzania. I stayed at my late grandparents’ home – resting, reading and spending time with family. I came back to Nairobi with renewed enthusiasm and clarity! There are several big (and slightly scary) adventures – design and otherwise – on the horizon this year, for me and for the Studio. I look forward to sharing them with you.
The first one starts next week, when 3 creative friends and I set off for a 15,000km+ road trip through southern Africa (see below).
As we prepare to set off, I wanted to share some highlights from 2016. Many of you have been a part of these projects and endeavours and I thank you deeply for your different contributions. Continue reading “Lulu Kitololo Studio design and illustration highlights from 2016”
Regular readers may have noticed my blogging hiatus, as I reconfigured my life and business. However, Afri-love subscribers have been less neglected, thanks to A week of Afri-love: a weekly email I started a few months ago, where I share 5 Afri-love-worthy things. Each edition includes:
- Buy African: featuring exquisite African-made/made in Africa goods
- Something to look at, read, watch or listen to
- Some visual place to get lost in (usually amazing Instagram feeds that will fuel your imagination and take you places!)
- Events across the world
- Last but not least, an “expand” item – something that I’ve come across that has been useful for me in my quest for better health, creative excellence and success in my business
For those who don’t receive these nuggets weekly, I thought I’d do a round-up of “expand” posts, every 2 months, selecting just 5 of my favourite items.
Here’s edition number one! Continue reading “Expand in creativity, business and life – September round-up”
If you’re on the Asilia ‘Lunch on Asilia’ mailing list, you’ll have read a version of this already.
When talk turns to social media and the power of the internet – my eyes light up. The love affair started when I was in university and discovered MSN groups (remember those?). I created one called Taxi9 (long story), to keep in touch with my friends, who were all around the world. A couple years later I started blogging and the rest is history (Afri-love is actually my third blog. If you ask me nicely, I’ll share links to the other two).
Over the past four and a half years, my business, Asilia, has benefitted immensely from the relationships that we’ve established and nurtured, thanks to social media. We’ve been introduced to clients around the world; we’ve been given the opportunity to participate in exciting projects – virtual and in real life and; we’ve gotten to know like-minded people who have become supporters, collaborators and friends.
Social media has also been responsible, directly and indirectly, for many of the speaking engagements, workshop facilitation opportunities and interviews I’ve had the opportunity to be involved/featured in. You can find out more about those here.
The power of social media has been so real for me and my business that I’m big on helping my clients and my community leverage this too.
Continue reading “Workshop: social media confidence”
This post was originally written for Your Radiant Business – a blog created by my homeopath, Tracy Karkut-Law, and I, born out of our shared passion for the web and social media. On the blog we share everything we know about building a great online presence. It’s targeted towards homeopaths but a lot of the content is transferable for people building a business in other fields. This post fits that bill and I thought I’d repurpose it a little to share with you.
People are naturally very visual and, like it or not, many of us make judgements based on how something looks. ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ is a common warning for a reason!
It’s important to think about whether your communication materials are aligned with the personality of your business, your values, what you want to be known for and how you want to make people feel. All of these things can be expressed through the design decisions you make, be it the colours and fonts you choose, the style of your imagery and how you put all of these elements together.
Let’s face it, this can be fiddly. And it’s hard to know if you’ve got it right. What might seem sufficient in your eyes, may not be effective in communicating your message to the world and, specifically, to your prospective clients/customers.
How can you create materials that let people know that you’re the right option for them (and keep your sanity at the same time)?
There is such huge pressure for new beginnings in January. Reflecting on the month I've had, it's been more about recalibration, in preparation for new things.
Rather than be frustrated, I'm reminding myself that, ultimately, we can start whenever we like!
For those who are working on starting (or restarting/refreshing/revamping) a business, I'm running a 3-part workshop in London, in collaboration with business coach, Danielle Anderson of Step and Stone. It's titled, 'Stand out from the crowd.'
The sessions will cover: identifying and crafting your unique voice; building an online presence that is in alignment with this and; leveraging the power of social media, with confidence. We want you to be able to market your business in a way that's authentic to you, effective and fun!
You can take one or all three sessions for a comprehensive foundation. Find out more details here.
I'd love for you to join us!
Continue reading “Stand out from the crowd”
It’s less than a week to go until Christmas so, ordering your gifts online is now pretty much a gamble. If the thought of braving the madness shops this weekend makes you want to crawl into a dark hole, fear not – I’ve got some ideas that will hopefully keep you in the festive spirit.
The gifts here are all things that you can buy, right up until Christmas Day. They are organised by interest so, hopefully you’ll be able to find something appropriate for all the people on your list – whatever they fancy!
Continue reading “Buy African: Last-minute Christmas Gift Ideas”
I know many of us are counting down to Christmas and the opportunity to take a break; spend quality time with family and friends and; rejuvenate our energy and spirits. For some people, thinking about work is the last thing they want to do as the year rolls to a close. But for a few of us, whose work is fuelled by passion and a desire to realise a dream, there is no ‘off’ button. If you’re anything like me, you’re looking forward to the down time, so that you can spend it strategising and planning how to take your business to the next level, in 2015.
I have a feeling many of you resonate with what I’m saying and I’ve got some wonderful news for you! I’ve partnered with the coolest startup coach I know, Danielle Anderson, to deliver a ClarityCall webinar on the 10th of January, to help you get started the way you mean to go on. This is an exclusive opportunity for you, my Afri-love community, wherever in the world you might be.
I've done this exercise with Danielle myself and it really helped me to focus on what was most important for my business at that time. It can be really hard to have that kind of perspective when you're juggling the myriad day-to-day demands of work and life. The results and momentum that I've experienced in the past couple of months, are testament to the power and value of giving myself the time to do this with Danielle. I wish this sort of pause, clarity and progress for you all so, I'm thrilled that Danielle has offered to run this exercise for us.
About This Webinar
Entrepreneurs, startups, and small business owners share a common trait: trying to turn a vision into a reality. In this workshop, we’ll tackle the question responsible for many restless nights: “How will I ever get to where I want to be?” You’ll be guided through a powerful, reflective exercise to help translate your big dream into a clear, actionable plan and get your business off the ground.
- Be able to make decisions on where best to place your limited time and energy.
- Gain a realistic action plan for what to do next.
- Learn how to plan for your business without a wordy, conventional (and dull) “business plan”.
- Discover the most important areas for you to focus on first.
- Find out how to break down the barriers that impede your progress.
- Leave with a clear direction on where you’re heading.
Continue reading “Afri-love and Step and Stone present: ClarityCall – 10th January 2015”
The term ‘networking’ used to put me off. I’d imagine an awkward room full of strangers, standing around trying to impress others. Others who, had already made up their minds about who they were going to pay attention to or not.
Cynical, I know but, I’d spent countless evenings at networking events, hoping for a different experience, in vain. Instead, I’d come home feeling, if I’m honest, a bit less confident and wondering if there was something wrong with me.
Yup, been there. Over it.
A necessary evil?
At the same time, I knew there was a reason people were putting themselves through this. I knew it could be a solution to one of the common challenges that we touched on in the first CAKE Series Twitter chat, a few weeks ago: how to focus on your current plate of work, but also keep new work coming in.
The turning point
The past year has been very different and it’s all thanks to some amazing women that I know, who each invited me to be a part of something. I’ll get on to that in a moment, but first … Once I found ways to network that worked for me, I realised 2 things:
Continue reading “5 Better Ways to Network: Entrepreneurs Need People, Part III”