OK, so I figured it was time to come up with some highly practical ways to spend. Shopping was always a part of my life; I just didn’t put any conscious thought or energy into understanding it, or my relationship to it.


Recently though, I started wondering why I bought unplanned items and overspent with a ‘reasonable margin’. I also realised that 40% of items in my shopping trolley were unplanned, not immediately required and bought on impulse.
Guess I need to improve on my ability to say NO. Let me re-phrase, ‘Why can’t I say No’. or rather, will the direction in which I am looking within the store change my perspective?


All these different views can be taken in without moving my feet beyond one square foot. I only have to turn 90 degrees one way or the other, and what I see changes dramatically.


When it comes to shopping, so much of what we experience as shoppers and consumers has to do with the perspective in front of us which is based on the direction we are facing. And it is almost always within our power to change our direction, even if just a little bit. Sometimes just the smallest change in direction or approach can lead to the largest changes in perspective and outlook. Our shopping environment is much cluttered due to space constraints and also because the competition has become fiercer as alternatives and variants are on the increase. If it must catch the shopper’s attention, communication material must cut through the clutter, with unique ways of engagement that creates brand love and affinity.

I know what I want to be looking toward. And it ain’t the carpark…Most definitely, as there was this huge red signage in front of me that not only had sales written in my favourite yellow colour, but read 50% off!.

It was a no brainer, it was disruptive and in my face, seeking attention – I went for it.
Familiar experience? I guess.
Here are a few tips to that breakout and breakthrough the clutter.

• Campaignable Ideas/Communication: The fundamental law of successful is engagement: if you’re not engaging the consumer with a compelling story, they’re going to make up one of their own. It’s important to provide shoppers/consumers with memorable ideas and engagements they are compelling to talk about and share.

• Harnessing the creativity of shoppers/consumers: While conventional consumer research provides an essential foundation, it no longer creates a competitive edge. As there’s more need to experiment with non-traditional, sometimes radical and untried approaches that seek upfront inspiration – and actual ideas – from creative consumers who have a passion to innovate. These gives an opportunity to tap into consumers’ minds and passions to co-create products, solutions, communications and “experiences” that are truly resonant.

• Word of Mouth: Taking the time to watch / Listen /read feedback including feeds from Social Media for common themes and insights can provide a plentiful source of fresh, consumer-inspired ideas. Striking up relationships with the most prolific, influential bloggers with the aim of better understanding what makes their shoppers/consumers tick and how to improve the engagement platform is key.


Shopping these days have become defining moments with powerful choices instigated by compelling in store and out of home communication which usually brings consumers under the spell of ‘Fear of Missing Out’…but really, this butterfly called ‘satisfaction’ is going to be constantly out of reach, we need to start getting contented!.



Bamigbaiye-Elatuyi Omotola is a Regional Marketing Manager for West Africa in an FMCG.
A firm believer in empowering others for success in the work place as she is a well sought after facilitator on Marketing and Business management. She also manages Workplace Management columns and Consumer Insight columns in magazines published across West Africa as well as volunteering with NGO’s as a child educator.
Instagram: tolaspeaks
Twitter: alottola

Most organisations today operate in a highly complex matrix structure with multiple reporting lines and different levels of expertise requiring you sometimes to be vast across a number of skills.

This can be overwhelming sometimes especially when you have multi-functional projects and your delivery is dependent on others as you are not able to do most of the tasks on your own. Thing is, the priority level of each task is different from function to function but each action adds up as an essential for you. More importantly, you need not be overwhelmed but have the ability to ask for help , that way, you spend less time struggling.

It is important to have an enabling environment that allows you to function in a way that fosters better collaboration. Asking for help should not be seen as a sign of weakness but rather, recognizing what you are good at and appreciating what someone else’s is good at.  This enables both sides to benefit and gain valuable experience.  The person receiving helps adds nuance and texture to their thinking, overcome cognitive biases and flaws in their logic while at the same time giving someone else an opportunity to shine and validate their knowledge – this could make someone else’s day!

In asking for help, first acknowledge that you don’t have a solution to a task/problem or that you can’t do it alone – be sure to explore possible solutions as your own first step. Remember, no one person can know everything, so allow yourself to be human. It’s also better to build a reputation to be known to give assistance to others. This paves the way for reciprocity and encourages others to reach out without incurring social debts or negative repercussions, making it an admirable trait.  Additionally, ask for help smartly, as a ‘SMART’ request (Why you need it, what you need, When you need it, from who do you need help) is easy to respond to as you never know what people know or how they can help until you ask. Not only will you have the benefit of extra advice, you will also have people to share your successes with.

An enabling work environment makes it easy to ask for help by encouraging the practices and setting the tone and the norms. However, we must take time out to say ‘thank you’ and really mean it to express our gratitude for the help. It’s important to close the loop by letting the other person know how valuable your help was – people appreciate recognition and follow through. On both sides, emotional intelligence, diplomacy, self-awareness and patience are required to avoid damaging consequences to individuals and the organization.

To be successful in today’s work environment, you need to ask for what you need as it can become a powerful tool, if employed strategically – save yourself and others time by asking insightful questions that demonstrate your curiosity, inquisitiveness and your interest in understanding the process and not just performing your step of the cycle. Two heads… Or more…are better than one, strong people ask for help. Avoid muddling through a bad situation on your own, as challenges presents opportunities to cultivate our network and proactively build relationships.

Again, remember to frame the ‘ASK’ properly.




Bamigbaiye-Elatuyi Omotola is a Regional Marketing Manager for West Africa in an FMCG. A firm believer in empowering others for success in the work place as she is a well sought after facilitator on Marketing and Business management. She also manages Workplace Management columns and Consumer Insight columns in magazines published across West Africa as well as volunteering with NGO’s as a child educator.

Instagram: tolaspeaks
Twitter: alottola

Hello WORriors! It’s #WomanCrushWednesday and our Woman Crush is Doris Simeon!

Doris Simeon is an award-winning Yoruba and English actress, master of ceremony and TV show host. She was born in Lagos, Nigeria, raised and schooled in Ojota area of Lagos, Nigeria. She came to the spotlight via a 2001 Nollywood movie entitled Oloju Ede. She graduated from the PEFTI Institute, where she studied production management.

She started her acting career with a part in three episodes of the Papa Ajasco comedy series. She then had parts in Nollywood films Oloju EdeAlakadaTen Million Naira and Modupe Temi. She has also appeared in Eti Keta

In 2010 she starred as Da Grin’s girlfriend in Ghetto Dreamz, and co-produced with Omo Iya kan.

Given her first role by late movie director cum actor, Yomi Ogunmola, Simeon rose to the top starring in over 100 films including Eti Keta, Oloju Ede, Alakada, Ten Million Naira, Abani Kedun, Iseju Marun, Omo Iya Kan, Ghetto Dreams, Silence, Gucci Girls, Alakada, Omo Pupa, Asiri and Modupe Temi.

Some of her awards includes, 2008 AMAA Awards-Best Indigenous Actress, 2010 Zafaa Award-Best Actress Indigenous, Award for Excellence by Okpella Movement in the United State of America (USA), Afemiah Development Group award for Best Indigenous Artist, including others.

Women Of Rubies celebrates you, Doris Simeon!

Its February , and love is likely to be in the air –  seeing that we spend the most part of our day with colleagues within our organisation, chances are that falling in love in or around the office environment is highly likely and is happening now more frequently than ever.

The best predictor of attraction is propinquity; it’s really no wonder they happen considering we spend over 8 hours a day in the near presence of others, it is no surprise that you get to like and feel attracted to them.  You are people with similar levels of education, interests and values being recruited to organisations so the process of assortative mating begins at corporate selection itself.

So why should the office not be a good place to find a partner?  Can, or indeed should, anyone try to legislate matters of the heart or hormones?

Workplace relationships happen; full stop.  Being open, grown-up and sensible is best.

Quite a few of us meet our partners at work, but you don’t need to be a killjoy to realise that workplace relationships can get us into trouble. Even if things go smoothly, undisclosed relationships can give rise to conflicts of interest, office gossip and there is always the risk of blurring boundaries, which could lead to allegations of poor performance or misconduct.

Here are a few tips to managing workplace relationships.

  • Keep communications and behaviour in the workplace professional.
  • Avoid a relationship with someone who reports to you, or to whom you report. If you think there may be a conflict of interest, consider disclosing the relationship
  • Remember confidentiality. You may be party to work-related information that you must not share, even with your partner
  • Consider how your workplace dealings with your partner may be construed by other colleagues
  • Have a plan for how to deal with what happens if the relationship breaks down.

While employees are entitled to a private life, employers should only interfere in personal relationships only when there is a direct impact on the workplace.

Setting Cupid aside for a moment, Good working relationships give us several other benefits: our work is more enjoyable when we have good relationships with those around us. Also, colleagues are more likely to go along with changes that we want to implement, and we’re more innovative and creative. It also gives us freedom, enabling us to focus on opportunities. Maintaining good relationships will not only make you more engaged and committed to your organization; it can also open doors to key projects, career advancement, and raises.

Just remember – not all relationships will be great; but you can make sure that they are, at least, workable!



Bamigbaiye-Elatuyi Omotola is a Regional Marketing Manager for West Africa in an FMCG. A firm believer in empowering others for success in the work place as she is a well sought after facilitator on Marketing and Business management. She also manages Workplace Management columns and Consumer Insight columns in magazines published across West Africa as well as volunteering with NGO’s as a child educator.

Instagram: tolaspeaks
Twitter: alottola


And what’s wrong with a little girly lust over a lipstick?

You and I consume; we are consumers. The global economy is set up to enable us to do what we innately want to do—buy, use, discard, and buy some more.

Yes, absolutely buy some more. My latest resolution is trying to live a minimalist life. Seriously, no jokes. But that doesn’t mean I still don’t own stuff. Now, stuff here is very subjective as I’ve realised my decisions to buy were based on several factors and emotions at the time. Although I’ve also come to realise that excessive consumption promises happiness, but never delivers. True life must be found somewhere else and am now in search of that…..Wish me luck!

The greatest challenge I see as consumers is why we keep actively searching the web and our Malls/ Supermarkets in pursuit of something to buy? And honestly, most of the time we aren’t in “need” of anything, like practical work trousers; we are simply trolling for something. Anything. We may be seeking to live a minimalist life, but we are still consumers. After all, to live is to consume.

Consumption is necessary, but excessive consumption is not.

It is time to take a step back and realize that excessive consumption is not delivering on its promise to provide happiness and fulfilment. And life can be better lived (and more enjoyed) by intentionally rejecting it. More importantly the ability to distinguish between a need and a want which is fuelled by desire.

Our Personal credit limits allows us to make purchases beyond our income-level coupled with several marketing advertisements which subtly reshape our desires around material possessions.

To crown it all, keeping up with the consumption culture that surrounds us begins to make excessive consumption appear natural and normal – A desire for more… a desire which is promoted by the world around us which slowly begins to rob us of life consuming our limited resources. Excessive consumption leads to bigger houses, faster cars, trendier clothes, fancier technology, and overfilled drawers and wardrobes. It promises happiness but as usual never delivers.

Consider these practical benefits of escaping excessive consumerism in your life:

1) Less debt. Staying out of debt should be the goal of every consumer. Debt causes stress in our lives and forces us to work jobs that we don’t enjoy to keep up with our lifestyles. ….Truth is, you can do without it!

2) Owning Less. The never-ending need to care for the things we own is draining our time and energy. We are far better off owning less.

3) Less desire to upscale lifestyle norms. The television and the Internet has brought lifestyle envy into our lives at a level never before experienced in human history.  But today’s media age has caused us to envy (and expect) lifestyle norms well beyond our incomes by promoting the lifestyles based on brand proposition which are superior and enviable. Fulfilment is not on sale at our local stores—neither is happiness. It never has been. And never will be. We all know this to be true. We all know that more things won’t make us happier. It’s just that we’ve bought into the subtle message of millions upon millions of advertisements that have told us otherwise.

Hence, my new simple rule: Fewer things, more peace. The less we have, the less overwhelmed we feel. And the less overwhelmed we feel, the happier we are.

The grey area between these two is when the desire to obtain a particular thing is so extremely great, that a person may misinterpret a want, and see it more as a need. In order to know whether what you desire for is a want or a need is to basically ask one fundamental question: “Have you been able to survive without it?” If your answer is ‘yes’, then what you desire for is a want, no matter how much you crave for it right now.

By: Tola Elatuyi

Email :

Lotanna Amina Egwuatu holds a Bachelors degree in Engineering from Covenant University and a Master’s of Science degree from Lancaster University, United Kingdom , After her masters at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and training with several jewellery schools in New York, she returned home to start her own Jewellery  brand “Mina Stones” . Lotanna is actively involved in projects aimed at growing the Nigerian gemstone and jewellery industry. She shares her tale and journey with us in this interview.

Growing Up

Growing up as the third child in a family of four children, I was raised by a hard working mother and a strong willed father. They taught me the value of Hard Work, and reinforced in me the belief that with God all things are possible. As an adult, these principles have guided all my activities, especially the pioneering work I’m doing right now, by creating awareness of Precious stones in Nigeria, and their use as Jewellery.

Meet Lotanna

I am Lotanna Amina Egwuatu, born and raised in Abuja. I attended Queens College Yaba. I obtained a B.Sc in Information and Communication Engineering from Covenant university after which I did a master’s program in E-business and innovation at Lancaster  university, UK. After my masters I started Gemology courses with the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). I have trained with several jewellery schools in New York and I’m currently studying and working on building my brand – MINA STONES. I work with natural gemstones and precious metals to create handmade fine jewellery and accessories.

Passion for “Stones”

God is my inspiration. He gifted me with a passion for precious stones as well as the talent/ability to make fine jewellery from these precious stones and metals.

Personal Projects

I have some personal projects that are very dear to me. One of which also has to do with gemstones and jewellery. I’ve seen the potential in this field and I’m trying in my little way to see how we can collectively benefit from it.

In collaboration with the Raw materials research and development council in 2015, we organised the first ever gemstone and jewellery expo in Nigeria. I also have a calling to orphaned and less privileged children. I provide financial support for the school fees and overall wellbeing of these kids and by God’s grace in the future I will be able to do a lot more and especially with respect to building them up as grounded individuals and supporting their education on a greater level.

Letting Go….

I have felt like giving up several times. Those times were difficult for me , but I learnt to let go and let God. He gave me this passion for a reason.

Positive customer feedback inspire me

When I hear people tell me how beautiful my pieces are or a customer just keeps going on and on about how they are in love with their jewellery. It makes me deeply happy. I’ve received gifts from artisan miners who were grateful for my attempts at trying to grow the industry. That also made me happy. That they were seeing what I was doing and also felt the need to appreciate me made me really happy.

Nigerians know little about stones

The major challenge is the fact that Nigerians know too little about precious stones (Gemstones). I’ve had to explain over and over that natural gemstones are not man made crystals or imitations. They are mined from the earth. I’ve realised many people especially in Nigeria know only about Diamonds. But there are so many other types of precious stones like sapphire, emeralds, morganite, zircon, topaz, onyx, scapolite e.t.c and most people do not know anything about them.

Advice to women with same vision

Believe in yourself and be persistent. Challenges will come but it’s how you handle them that really matters. People will discourage you, some will encourage you. What’s most important is that you strongly believe in yourself regardless of external opinions. You can do anything you set your mind to. Only believe.

Doing something positive makes me a Woman of Rubies

I believe every woman has a unique purpose to create impact and change their world for the better in some way. I also believe in doing something no matter how small in the direction of your dreams. Right now I am actively involved in projects aimed at growing the Nigerian gemstone and jewellery industry.

Women should support one another

Our time has come. In the world we live in right now, a woman can become anything. So, let’s do just that. Let’s rise to our highest potential, and achieve great things.

Let us all do our own part and do away with the many distractions around us. We have a lot to do and I believe we get there faster when we together. As the Ubuntu Philosophy says – “I am what I am because of who we all are”. Let us all begin to look at the bigger picture.

With so much enthusiasm, I listened on. The recruiter profiled the job and how I was well suited for the role. How the hiring manager profiled me and how I was a good fit for the company. A couple more minutes and the tone change……By the way.

His ‘by the way’, heralded a deeper tone, a more serious one, very affirmative and concise and suggestive of something serious.

I pressed my phone closer to my ear, it was a ‘but’ situation, but in a different kind of way. He continued on how they company was desirous of more growth, a notch higher on skill set and some fundamentals which they were looking out for. How as usual most candidates feel they meet all the criteria but someone else had a more relevant strength or experience. The conversation was coming to an end. This time more negative than it had started, tones dropped, pitch lowered, It landed roughly, maybe he didn’t know how to say it, maybe it was suggestive, it just wasn’t quite clear.

This situation plays out often within the recruiter and the candidate. If a recruiter has decided to give feedback, it needs to be given quickly so the candidate doesn’t keep hanging on. Or the awkward feeling of simply hoping the candidate gets the message when they don’t hear anything back from the recruiter.

An important part of the recruitment and selection process is the opportunity for applicants to have good quality, constructive feedback following interviews. However, feedback is rarely given, partly because organizations fear legal risk or because they do not know how best to convey it. However, it’s highly important to share feedback after an interview especially when the candidate has gotten to the final selection process.


Feedback can be shared orally or in written form. Here are a few essential steps to giving feedback:

  • Clearly and quickly stated – candidates need actionable, constructive feedback, get to the point without being brutal. Ensure the applicant understands the feedback by asking them questions and summarising.
  • Descriptive rather than evaluative – describe what the applicant said or did and the impact that had on you or others, but do not make judgements
  • Specific – by providing examples with specific reference to the person spec criteria which were not met or where the evidence was weak.
  • Sensitively delivered – identify strengths and weaknesses, giving equal time to each. Make difficult messages easier to receive by alternating them with the positive points.
  • Sufficient – to ensure that feedback is helpful. Candidate must understand the information and be able to do something about it.
  • Thank the applicant. – for their time, energy, resources and interest in your organization

It is very important that feedback is prepared before contacting the applicant, usually notes from shortlisting/interview or application forms would come in handy.

More organisations today are beginning to value the importance of giving feedback as it acts as good PR and also helps the candidate understand their weaknesses and strengths. It is advisable to take feedback positively, look on the bright side as there’s always room for improvement. People’s (candidate’s) own ideas about how they think they are perceived and how they actually are perceived in interviews can differ greatly, feedback gives an opportunity to close the gap.