Monthly Archives

December 2015

    Gidi Girlboss: Joycee of Oríkì Group

    Joycee Awojoodu

    Joycee Awojoodu of Oríkì Group

    I don’t have any biological sisters, but I do have sisters. Growing up, I used to beg my parents to have a daughter, as if they could just pick one up from the store after work like Chinese takeout. Being the eldest, I already had two brothers who helped me explore my tomboy tendencies by climbing trees and practicing the latest WWF signature moves, but I also wanted a sister. I wanted someone to help me experience being a girl. A sister to complain to about dish duty and cooking Hamburger Helper for the umpteenth time. To dream about our celebrity crushes and what to wear to this or that school dance. However, after having three kids, my mom wasn’t impressed by my childhood desires and the dream died. So, I thought.

    Along the years, I met different women from different experiences, and realized that God remembered my desire from long ago and gave me more sisters than I could imagine. Joycee is one of them.

    Joycee Awojoodu is the founder and creator of Oríkì Group, a luxury skincare brand that has expanded to salon and spa services. The skincare line focuses on products fused with natural and organic ingredients for the sophisticated, health conscious client. Each product is created in artisanal batches free of additives, parabens and sulfates. The who’s who in the fashion and style industry are catching on to this luxe brand. Even U.S. based fashion blogger Claire from the Fashion Bomb Daily has been spotted at Oríkì. The luxury brand is proudly based and thriving in Lagos, Nigeria.

    Oriki Reception Area

    G&P: What does Oríkì mean?

    OG: It means origins, your crown and inspiration in Yoruba.

    G&PSo, initially you moved to Nigeria from the states for your youth service. What inspired you to stay and start a business?

    OG: I actually moved to Nigeria for an internship in the power sector because I had this budding and growing passion for my home although I had never been to Nigeria before. Once I started the internship, the team I worked with encouraged me to do youth service because in Nigeria it is a requirement to work in many places.

    Once I spent one year, I was convinced that Nigeria is the land of opportunities and the beauty of it is that you can make an impact while doing so, so I stayed and today I am currently working as an entrepreneur.

    G&POk, nice. So, while interning there the opportunities inspired you to stay. The power sector is a very specialized industry. What inspired you to transition from that to start Oríkì?

    OG: For me, the power sector was always the industry I worked in from University days. So when I transitioned to Nigeria, it made sense to me to continue on in that sector especially, because it is a sector that needs an abundance of work to function properly. But innate within all of us is also a passion and as I call it your God -given destiny. That is where ORÍKÌ comes in.

    Oriki Other View

    I’ve always had a passion to be an entrepreneur and impact a plethora of people. Also moving to Nigeria fueled my desire to put “Africa on the map” there are so many false and daunting stories about Africa out there in the media and it is time that we tell our own stories.

    G&PI completely agree, It’s definitely time to put Africa on the map in a positive way. That’s part of the reason why I started my blog and even this series highlighting African female entrepreneurs who are succeeding in business legitimately, not through 419. LOL.

    Describe Oríkì with three words.

    OG: Proud, African, Luxury

    Oriki Products

    G&PDescribe your morning routine.

    OG: I wake up at 630 am every morning and first and foremost spend some time in prayer and worship. Afterward, I head to the gym for approx 1.5 hours and then its back home to get ready for work. In the car ride, I always outline all the necessary tasks for the day before I get into the office.

    G&PYou mentioned prayer and worship as the first things you do, do you believe your faith and relationship with God has influenced your business decisions and where you are today?

    OG: Drastically. In fact, it is the foundation of my business. It is the reason that I wake up everyday – to do God’s will. I am so committed to honoring Him and ensuring that I fulfill the destiny and purpose He has placed on my life.

    G&PLiving on purpose is definitely motivating. When you know the direction you are suppose to go it can calm down any fears and energize your soul to become a positive influence to your generation.

    What would you say is the greatest reward of being an entrepreneur?

    OG: The greatest reward to me is impact. When you build something from inception you have a chance to influence and impact people around you, the business and the overall value chain. The impact could be anything from empowering and motivating your staff, to inventing new technology that changes the lives of many or even bringing exposure to a sector or country when there wasn’t exposure previously. Impact is limitless when you are an entrepreneur.

    Oriki Client

    G&P:  That’s true. Impact is limitless, but what would you say is the biggest challenge?

    OG: Wow, great question. I would say for me personally it has been the lack of stable infrastructure. That is a common challenge in Nigeria.

    G&PI’ve heard that it can be a challenge. Can you give an example of how the current infrastructure has affected your business and what suggestions would provide to improve the infrastructure?

    OG: The lack of stable electricity has caused s to supplement power needs with the use of a diesel generator which is quite expensive especially considering that we are open 7 days a week and also have a staff house that is powered during the night time.

    Fashion Bomb Daily at Oriki

    Claire of the Fashion Bomb Daily

    G&PWhat’s one thing you don’t know that you want to learn about your business?

    OG: Great question, because its been on my mind a lot lately to become an expert at every aspect of my business. While the ORÍKÌ product range was the inception of the business and my passion, ORÍKÌ Group comprises of a luxury spa, Halo Hair Clinic, Men’s Grooming parlor and Scents by ORÍKÌ, a hand-carved candle line. I know almost every aspect of the business, but I am also slowly learning spa services – not to ever execute them on customers but rather just to have the knowledge.

    Oriki Team

    G&P:  Wow so many divisions! More strength to your elbows! Lol. It looks like you are rapidly learning because your business is bustling.

    Everyone knows that entrepreneurs work overtime most times, how do you spend your days off?

    OG: So, I have to be honest, I haven’t had a day off in months. I’ve been at work everyday, because as a new business I’ve had to put my ALL into it and where many different hats. With that being said time off for me is best enjoyed in pure relaxation mode – spending time with loved ones or reading a book.

    G&PI hear you. Being a trailblazer isn’t easy. But I’m glad you get to relax at times. I am learning how to do that too. I’m running on two hours of sleep as we speak. God will help us sha.

    In lieu of the holiday season, what is the best gift you have given?

    OG: God will surely help us, it’s only by His grace. The best I’ve given, I know it sounds cliche but it’s love. It’s the best gift one could give and it’s the greatest gift God has given us!

    G&PIsn’t it the best gift He’s given?! Thank God for His love.

    What is the best gift you received?

    OG: The best gift I’ve received besides love, is my engagement ring *does happy dance* my fiancée Tola is a blessing from God. God had him planned for me before I was even conceived and I’m convinced of that. So, when he popped the question with the beautiful ring I felt so loved and so blessed to be his future wife.

    Joycee and Fiance

    Joycee & Her Fiancé

    G&PAwwww….wedding bells are ringing! That’s lovely. I’m so excited. 

    What business icon would you shadow for a day?

    OG: I am going to choose two if you would permit me? I would love love love to shadow Oprah Winfrey, I just think she’s all around amazing and on top of her stuff and also very inspiring and impactful in all that she does. Secondly, in this part of the world I would love to shadow Dangote – he has managed to build a conglomerate and continues to rise even when Africa isn’t the easiest place to do business.

    G&PYou are definitely permitted. Both are amazing and inspirational choices.

    What advice would you give an aspiring entrepreneur in the diaspora who is interested in starting a business in Nigeria?

    OG: Do your research, Be passionate about your idea, have faith, look for good labor – it can be hard to find, but it’s possible, and lastly don’t give up if you are truly passionate about it. Success doesn’t happen overnight.

    Joycee Laughing

    Either/Or Questions:

    1.  Abuja or Lagos?

    Abuja any day! LOL

    2.  Shoprite or Tyson’s Corner?

    Tyson has it all

    3.  Mac or Nars?


    4.  Uber or Okada?


    5.   A night in or A night out?

    A night In

    6.  Croquet braids or Croquet wig?

    Croquet wig

    7.   Shark Tank or Celebrity Apprentice?

    Shark Tank



    Merry Christmas!

    Merry Christmas from Gidi & Pearls

    From the keys of my MacBook Pro to your toasted homes, I’m wishing you a very merry and lovely Christmas. Remember the reason for the season. The gifts and the family are fun, but it’s Christ’s birth and resurrection that has been won. God’s love is the greatest gift given to mankind, so remember that as you engage in your festivities this season.


    Dear Future Husband: I’m Worth It

    Dear Future Husband

    Lately, I’ve noticed men seem too relaxed in approaching women.  It’s either that or they aren’t initiators in the communication process.  A few days could go by without a call from a guy who appears interested in a girl. However, when we (women) give them a call to check up on them, it turns into an extensive hour or two long conversation. So, guys do enjoy our interactions, but it takes us women to initiate it. Why? Some may say, because he’s just not that into you. I beg to differ. Usually, most women can tell when a man isn’t interested at all compared to when he is, but something is holding him back, which  prevents him from taking a lead position. That could be comfort or the fear of rejection.

    Let me give an example. A good friend confessed that in college she was crushing on a friend from her on-campus ministry. He was attractive, tall and had a genuine relationship with Christ. Check, check and check. The entire time she was silently crushing on him, he never overtly showed interest. It wasn’t until the faithful day a mutual friend told her that he had been crushing on her for years, but for some reason he decided not to approach her about it. What?! She discovered this after they graduated from college and went their separate ways. He ended up marrying someone else and is now divorced.  Essentially, both parties were equally fond of each other, but the guy didn’t make the first move and neither did my friend.

    The problem is, nowadays, it seems as if most men would rather be pursued than to pursue. But the women, the type that most future husbands are aspiring to marry, a good and virtuous woman, tend to want to be pursued. How does that work if men want to be pursued and women want to be pursued too. Men may not admit it. However, when a man feels he can be lax on making a commitment, because he believes he has options, than indirectly he probably believes the woman should work hard enough to prove she should be the chosen one. That’s backwards.

    It creates a shift in the framework of courtship. The roles become distorted and expectations are compromised. I call myself a modern traditionalist. I support certain modern views, but within a foundational framework. I believe a man should initiate and lead a courtship from being to end, while both parties build together to create a lasting, sustainable relationship. The Bible says,

    An excellent woman [one who is spiritual, capable, intelligent, and virtuous], who is he who can find her?
    Her value is more precious than jewels and her worth is far above rubies or pearls.” Proverbs 31:10 AMP

    Excellent women, “Good Things,” (Proverbs 18:22) are hard to find, but are valuable. The structure is such that men search and find valuable women to marry. Simple. I believe a lot of men have passed up valuable, supportive, loving, nurturing, intelligent, grounded and beautiful women, because the women required the need to be pursued, valued and treasured. Men, have you ever seen a raw authentic ruby or diamond laying on the sidewalk bare for all to grab? Jewels have to be searched for and excavated.  It takes effort, diligence, perseverance and sacrifice to mine and refine a jewel. That’s why they are valuable, because they aren’t easy to come by and they aren’t easy to maintain, but they are worth every dollar spent to retrieve them.

    Just like precious jewels, finding, loving and valuing a virtuous woman takes effort,diligence, perseverance and sacrifice to obtain and keep. But the reward is oh so great. Initially, she may give you wahala, because she wants to test you to see whether you can be her lead man, be patient. She may want to hold off on sex until marriage, persevere. She may even want to refrain from kissing to prevent the possibility of pre-marital sex, endure. She may want to wake you up at 5am to pray together about your present and your future, sacrifice the sleep. She’s worth it.

    Ultimately, choosing your life partner is your decision. No one should make that decision for you. However, remember that every choice has it’s own consequences. Be it positive or negative. I know a few men who took an easier route and silently regret it. It’s written on their faces. However, I encourage you to do what you have to do now, so you can reap the benefits later. Virtuous women usually come with respect, love, care, compassion, patience, support, and other fruits, so search well and work hard to find her. Pursue her like the jewel she is, because she’s worth it. I know I am.



    2015 Gift Guide: The Abuja Kid

    Abuja Kid Gift Guide

    The Abuja Kid gift guide is for the mini-me in your life.  Abuja, being the capital of Nigeria, doesn’t fall short on grooming stately kids. It’s not too early to cultivate sophisticated taste.

    1 // A cuddly toy for peaceful sleepy nights

    2 // Gold polka dot moccasins for tiny feet

    3 // A storage bin to keep the mess at bay

    4 // Books that teach valuable lessons through an African perspective

    5 // Wall decor that commands attention

    6 // Her first pair of pearl earrings

    7 //  A car to use for play adventures

    8 //  A soft throw against supple skin



    2015 Gift Guide: The Island Sophisticate

    Island Sophisticate Gift Guide

    The Island Sophisticate gift guide is for the lady in your life who appreciates simple luxuries.  “The Island” refers to Victoria Island, an area in Lagos, that is separated from the mainland where there are expats, international commercial businesses and sophisticated Lagosians who enjoy a little luxe in their life.

    1 //  A faux fur stole for the glam animal lover

    2 //  A stunning art illustration to glam up a wall

    3 //  An olfactory ode to African influence

    4 //  A delicate robe for lounging

    5 //  Calming bath salt for a relaxing bath

    6 //  Leather pouches to keep the Birkin organized

    7 //  A dainty bracelet adorned with pearls