“A Tiktok video inspired me to start my business” - Aisha Omonigo Salisu of Red Ribbon

 “A Tiktok video inspired me to start my business” - Aisha Omonigo Salisu of Red Ribbon


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In the bustling tapestry of life, where passion intertwines with ambition, there exists a radiant soul known as Aisha Omonigo Salisu. As the sun sets upon a vibrant Wednesday, Aisha finds herself adorning the mantle of a small business owner and a tenacious student with equal grace. 


From comforting period care packages that embrace femininity's essence to nurturing self-care parcels that lift the spirit, and not forgetting the joyous symphony of birthday packages and more – Red Ribbon's offerings enchant the soul and ignite the spark of joy.

As we step into the sanctum of Aisha's world, we are certain to witness the birth of a luminary, whose entrepreneurial spirit and academic prowess intertwine like the graceful dance of the red ribbon itself.


We want to know you better, can you recall the exact moment you knew you wanted to become a business owner?


Red Ribbon isn’t the first business I’ve started, but the 8-month ASUU strike was the main event that inspired me to start the business. The strike was long and tiring. I had too much time on my hands and when my sister noticed, she advised me to start a jewellery business. I liked the idea but I also knew I wanted to sell other cute items that can spark joy inside people. Then the idea of curating gift items popped into my head. At the time, I didn’t realize how saturated the market was. I thought it was some kind of special, super genius idea. Imagine my surprise when I realized that I had to work extra hard to stand out in the market. 


Let’s talk more about your first business, what was that about? 


My first business was a food delivery business called Yummy Grills. My friends have always been fans of my cooking skills and they were the ones that actually encouraged me to make a living from it. So I started trying out new recipes and asking my family members to test-taste for me. I eventually started the business and it picked up really quickly. Most of the sales I made were from referrals which was like a major ego boost. People loved my food so much, they wanted others to patronize me too. The business was thriving until my social media account which was the major channel that connected me to my customers got hacked. That was a really low point for me and it actually led to the end of the business. Also coupled with the fact that I still had to go to school, it just didn’t seem like a sustainable business. 


That must have been hard. So how did Red Ribbon come to life?

Red Ribbon’s story actually starts with Tiktok. I was scrolling through Tiktok one day when I saw a video of someone talking about importation and it sparked ideas in my head. I did my research, reached out to people that were into similar businesses and basically set out to start a gifting shop. Then I took a paid importation course and from there, I started importing gift items from China. Although I’ll tell you for free that running a gift shop in Nigeria isn’t easy because Nigerians are not really big on gifting. I’ve had people laugh in my face when they find out that I run a gift shop, especially because the business is still in its early phase. 


How long have you been at it and how will you say the journey has been so far?

We started operating last year in December and my best friend was my first customer.  So far, it’s not been so easy. For example, reaching my target audience can be an extreme chore. As I said earlier, the average Nigerian isn’t exactly big on anything that isn’t monetary gifting so the real struggle is how to reach the Nigerians that are fans of thoughtful gifts. I get so many DMs of people making enquiries but some of them back off before we make it to the payment and finalization stage. 


Can you remember when you made your first sale and what did that feel like?

The first gift box I curated was a period care box for my best friend. Her boyfriend reached out to me because he knew I had recently started a gift shop. He wanted to do something special for her and together, we curated the perfect period care box. It was a special feeling for me. I made a sale that made my best friend feel special. Talk about a major W. The joy that thoughtful gifts give people is unmatched. Knowing that my business can make a random stranger in a different state happy gives me the motivation to keep pushing. 


How do you manage to run a business as a student? 

That’s probably the most difficult part of running this business. I’m a law student, everybody has an idea of how demanding this course is. I’m also big on getting good grades so that kinda makes it tricky. Last semester, I had to put my business on hold because school was really demanding. I’m still trying to find that perfect balance if it exists.


Can you walk us through what your life looks like as a student and an entrepreneur? 

Today has literally been one of the busiest days of my life as a student and business owner. I had about two classes that were cancelled. Another class was shifted to the evening and I had an order to sort out around that time. I had to do a lot of running around to try to meet up with the class and still get the order sorted. Combining school and business is time-consuming. On a good day, I barely have time to rest. But the reaction from my customers usually makes up for it. The order I had to deliver today for example was a self-care package and the girl I delivered it to literally shed tears. 

What do you find the hardest about running a business and what do you enjoy most about it? 


The hardest part of running a business for me is the way I use my empathetic abilities to put myself in my customers’ shoes. This really affects my pricing. I always try to sell for the cheapest price they can ever get considering how hard things are. Balancing business with school also tops that list. It cuts into my profit but sometimes, I don’t mind because I love what I do and how it makes people feel. The part I enjoy most is curating gift boxes according to the customer’s personality. 


 Asides from Red Ribbon, how else do you make your daily 2k?

My parents are my surest sources of income. They don’t even see why I need to run a business because they don’t mind giving me everything I want. But they are also the biggest supporters of my business. They are so adorable. 


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