‘I made it!’: Woman turns £200 a week side hustle into £1.4million tech empire
Side hustles are secondary jobs people take on in order to supplement and top-up their existing income. Since the pandemic, more people have turned to these types of roles as a way of beginning a new business venture or exploring a lifelong passion.
Oyin Adebayo, the founder of Niyo Group, spoke with Express.co.uk about how she transformed her side hustle into a £1.4million business.
Starting her side business while working at Rolls-Royce and studying, Ms Adebayo had a vision for a global tech company.
The concept for Niyo Group originally began when she was doing her sister’s hair. Years later, Ms Adebayo was providing the same service for over 300 women.
This entrepreneurial spirit evolved into Niyo, a group of distinct brands focused on the economic empowerment of Black women.
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The business is laser-focused on showing that “every Black woman on the planet is a producer, builder or creator of high impact ecosystems”, according to Ms Adebayo’s website.
She explained: “My job was an incredibly busy one managing over 17 digital transformation projects and travelling across Scandinavian countries. I would find myself braiding hair for up to seven hours after work and in the weekends.
“Conversations and listening to the amazing women that sat on my chair for hours led me to want to build a solution to simplify and revolutionise the way hair stylists and customers interacted.
“Being an innovative mind that I am, I have wanted to build something that uses technology to revolutionise that experience whilst economically empowering every single person in that process.”
Upon launching her business, Ms Adebayo created bootcamps for Black women to get into tech so they could build the technology to create and work in the industry.
Currently, she is building hair technology for initial business, but crafted with augmented reality and AI technology.
Her business designed to empower Black women has gone from a side hustle making £200 a week, to a seven-figure tech empire, with her last turnover making £1.4million.
On the difficulties of starting out, Ms Adebayo added: “When I first started out it was access to capital and also clarity of my vision for the empire to people who viewed me as young, inexperienced and naïve.
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“Throughout my entrepreneurial journey, I have faced many peaks and troughs. Funnily enough, my biggest challenge led to my biggest breakthrough. In 2020 just a month before the pandemic I ran the biggest ever beyond hair summit.
“We gathered Black women with the aim of getting them to do something with their ideas. We had a lot of promised sponsorship fall through so I had to fund this event myself. The event cost around £27,000 and I didn’t have it .
“The same summit that seemed to be a distasteful led us to winning a huger six-figure contract to upskill Black women through one of our coding bootcamps.”
Ms Adebayo noted she does not believe people ever really “make it” in the industry, however, there have been some key stand out moments in her career.
The business empire said: “I realised I had made it when we secured that large six-figure contract.
“Also, when news outlets began to reach out to us to feature the work we were doing through our bootcamps, and in tandem receiving thousands of applications for our coding bootcamps.
“That was an amazing feeling and I’m so proud of my whole team. We are constantly evolving though, so I don’t think you ever really ‘make it’ in business.”