Bisola Lawal is a hospitality consultant, personal shopper, luxury event planner, interior designer and a host of other services provided by her company, NattyLaw Concierge. She tells Tosin Clegg how she started her career, the challenges, building the brand, and much more
How did it all start out?
About 90% of my friends live in the Diaspora, so anytime they are home for weddings and all, or they want to do anything, they just call me up for help. That was how I started to study for things like ‘how to plan a fabulous wedding’ and all of that. So, I just employ someone who is a guru in that field but before then I was the one doing all that, running all the errands and all. I could just walk into a wedding store and they would be the ones to come up with the invitation cards and I will just do the running around. I didn’t charge any of my friends so in turn they recommend me to their friends and they will be like if you need anyone to do your errands in Nigeria we have someone.
Tell us about coming to Lagos?
Lagos just gives you that vibe of you don’t want to fail and since in Lagos there is competition, not that we are competing with anyone, it is just that you want to bring up new ideas to impress our customers so they can get a ‘wow’ feeling all the time. For example, if you come to an event today and you see something different and when they come the next day they see something different again.
Challenges so far?
Women as entrepreneurs, not just in Nigeria, are not taken seriously, you are talking about something and then they are looking at you in a different way entirely. So, how do you manage that and achieve what you want and this can be a bit very challenging and at the same time it helps. In a sense, it makes you stronger and firmer, as it makes you to know when to say yes and when to say no. Running a business in Nigeria, especially the kind of business we are running isn’t a cake work, convincing people that you can be trusted, especially when they feel like they have someone who can do it for them.
How did you come about your business name?
I started it as Errand Girl, then changed to Natylaw. Natylaw is from the name Natasha, Natasha means God’s gift of joy. Most of my very good friends know me as Natasha and funny enough my parents didn’t name me Natasha, it was given by my friend, she called me Natasha. At that time, I would always tell her not to call me Natasha until I knew the meaning of the name. You will never see me using the name, but I use it for my business and the ‘law’ is from my surname Lawal.