Zainab Ashadu, a Nigerian entrepreneur building a renowned handbag brand — Lionesses of Africa

Lioness Weekender spoke to the creative Zainab Ashadu this week to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey, her vision for her brand, and her aspirations for the future.

What does your company do?

We design and manufacture design-led, sustainable and upcycled leather handbags.

What inspired you to start your company?

A burning love for handbags and an unshakable feeling that it was part of my destiny to do so.

What makes your business, service or product special?

Our interest is to be inspired by the beauty we see all around us, and use that to create, and in turn add to the beauty of the world. To leave the world more beautiful than we met it, in the hope that it inspires others to do the same.

Tell us a little about your team

We are a tight knit team of over 20 men and women across all backgrounds. Incidentally, our top three executives are women.

Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?

I’ve always been entrepreneurial in my mindset, I just didn’t realize it. As a teenager, I was always doing deals and selling my lunches prepared by my chef mother! It comes naturally I suppose. Starting Zashadu wasn’t something I did to start a business, it really was just a creative expression that grew rapidly and began to fly. Thankfully I was business savvy and driven enough to support it with the right structure to enable it to take off.

What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?

To keep doing what we do, and expand even further with more products snd services. We’ve also set up our foundation to develop and nurture local talent in the industry.

What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?

Building and seeing my vision come to life. Working on my own terms, being useful and valuable to my community.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?

Take care of yourself; set it up in a routine, or time table. Let this be your non negotiable. Support yourself with professionals to take care of your physical and mental health. No one will take care of you but you; and you are the most important person in your business. Taking proper and robust care of yourself is the most altruistic thing you can do for yourself and those you serve.

To find out more about Zashadu, go to the website: or send an email to: or check out the company’s Instagram: http://@zashadu

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