For Nigerian PR company founder, Ijeoma Ndekwu, becoming an entrepreneur was in her genes. From an early age, she took her inspiration from her successful entrepreneurial father who managed to achieve the freedom of work/life balance in his business, and showed her an alternative and entrepreneurial career path of her own was possible.
This month, LoA got the opportunity to hear from Ijeoma on her unique journey to realise her long-held entrepreneurial dream of founding a successful, innovative boutique PR and media relations agency in her home country of Nigeria.
Tell us a little about your company
Redrick Public Relations is a boutique public and media relations agency specialising in creating, developing and executing innovative and strategic integrated PR campaigns, all guided by market intelligence, for Corporate, Lifestyle and Retail brands. From developing unique stories to implementing results-oriented PR campaigns, Redrick PR participates in aiding every facet of your brand’s growth. Some of the specialist services we provide include: Editorial Placement, Story Pitching, Press Kit Development, Brand/Product Launches, Press Release Writing & Distribution, Planning & Coordination of Press Events (including conferences, trips and press days.)
What inspired you to start your entrepreneurial journey?
From a young age, my father instilled in me a sense of responsibility and leadership. He ran a successful business and because of his flexibility as an entrepreneur, he was able to support my mum with running the home and managing their four children, as she also had a 9-5 job which got more demanding as she climbed the corporate ladder. I quickly recognised that I wanted a life similar to my father’s for myself. Straight out of University, even though I was certain I was going to be an entrepreneur, I had been convinced by almost everyone around me that I needed to spend a few years working for an organisation before I ventured into starting my company. My own personal “Aha!” moment came when I realised that I was young, with no real responsibilities, and ultimately nothing to lose when it came to making the choice to pursue my vision of establishing a PR firm at that moment, rather than at a later time. After all, my skills were going to be transferable if I decided that at some time in the future I wanted to enter the job market after all.
"My own personal “Aha!” moment came when I realised that I was young, with no real responsibilities, and ultimately nothing to lose when it came to making the choice to pursue my vision of establishing a PR firm at that moment, rather than at a later time."
What makes your company and its service offering unique?
We apply our passion to our clients’ businesses, as we aim to become an integral part of their company success stories; whether it is in creating buzz-worthy content for their brands, securing product placements in select media, or conceptualising events that encourage the media and target consumers to intimately connect with their brands. We provide personalised attention and tailored campaigns; we are our clients’ partners in publicity as we help to create value-focused packages for the various target groups their brand hopes to reach and inspire.
Tell us a little about the Redrick Public Relations team
I love my team, they are the absolute best! We currently have a young, small and vibrant team of three, including myself. I am the Lead Account Executive, whilst a Junior Account Executive and a General Office Assistant support me. I have always believed that a company is as good as the people in it, so recruiting the right team with the right attitude towards our work and our clients is a top priority. In addition, I favour small beginnings; so I planned to start-off with a small but well-experienced team. We have all had previous experience in various sectors of the business, including Media Buying, Online & Print Media, as Contributors or Journalists, Office Administration, Event Planning and Coordination, and at some point in our careers, we assumed client-facing roles. We are a close-knit team who not only work passionately to create and execute successful campaigns for our clients, but we are also very involved in our individual career growth paths. It is important that my team see value in the work they are doing.
"I have always believed that a company is as good as the people in it, so recruiting the right team with the right attitude towards our work and our clients is a top priority."
Tell us a little more about your entrepreneurial journey - you mention you come from an entrepreneurial background?
My late father was an entrepreneur; he was a major influence in my life and my first mentor. So even before I totally comprehended what it meant to be an entrepreneur, I wanted to be one. However, surprisingly, starting my company was not as meticulously deliberate as I had imagined my entry into the entrepreneurial space would be. I had been actively working as the Style Editor of Nigeria’s Leading Entertainment Website – BellaNaija.com since I was 18, and assumed that role amongst others via internships all through my undergraduate degree programme in Global & Integrated Marketing Communications, and life after that. My role as a Style Editor served as the perfect training ground. In that role, I was forced to test my ability to execute and expand on a vision, and I honed some crucial skills, including supervisory and leadership skills – as it was my responsibility to recruit, manage and lead the style writers. In addition, I learned valuable brand building skills through liaising with PR Firms, Designers and Creatives in the African Fashion Industry in order to establish strategic partnerships. Due to my experience at BellaNaija.com, I began to explore a career in Public Relations, researching the PR Industry in Nigeria and defining my areas of interests within it. I had envisaged that I would work in a PR Firm after graduating, and then later set up my own firm in the near future. I communicated this plan to one of my mentors and she called me up a few months later and said she had a client for me and encouraged me to provide that client with specialist PR services, as I had the capability and capacity to do so whilst I was still job hunting. I started off my entrepreneurial journey with that one client, and without a proper company structure - no name, no logo, no staff, etc. However, I received a number of referrals from that client which led me to formally register a company. Once that was done, everything else had to fall into place. In retrospect, when I think of my entrepreneurial journey, I believe it was a situation where opportunity met preparation.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
I would like to expand my team, together with our strategic partnerships network globally, and grow our service offerings, especially in the Corporate Sectors. So far, we have been fortunate to work with a few Nigerian Government Parastatals, Indigenous Leading SMEs and Corporations in Fashion, Beauty, Lifestyle & Retail sectors; also a Multinational NGO and International Consumer Brands. We will continue to seek new ways to add value to this existing client base and offer them more PR opportunities through strategic partnerships on the African Continent and globally. However, we will remain a boutique PR Firm. Ultimately, we would like to be the ‘go-to’ PR Firm in Nigeria for personalized, detail-oriented public and media relations services. This has been a key success factor for us and I think it will be of higher importance in the future, as public relations begins to have more of a definitive role for Nigerian brands and corporations.
"We are a close-knit team who not only work passionately to create and execute successful campaigns for our clients, but we are also very involved in our individual career growth paths. It is important that my team see value in the work they are doing."
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
The flexibility and control over how I work, where I work, and whom I choose to work with. Being able to promote a positive and empowering work environment is extremely satisfying.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Start with what you can adequately manage to ensure the optimum delivery – in client or consumer experience; and be consistent.
Contact for follow Redrick Public Relations Limited
Email Address: email@example.com
Why LoA loves it….
At Lionesses of Africa, we love to meet those women entrepreneurs who are genuinely passionate about what they do, and who feel they are realising their own vision which, as in Ijeoma Ndekwu’s own story, started at a young age. Ijeoma is a great example of someone who is doing what they love and what they felt destined to do, and the world needs more such women entrepreneurs who have the strength of their conviction to follow through and realise those dreams. --- Melanie Hawken, Lionesses of Africa founder and editor-in-chief