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Minding My Business With Ata Ashiru

Minding My Business With Ata Ashiru


CEO, Inkhearts Studio

What is your educational and career background?
I have a Bachelors degree from Clark Atlanta University and an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management, both in Georgia, USA. I was fortunate enough to have gained valuable experience working for firms such as Hewitt Associates, Accenture and Deloitte Consulting. I was juggling Inkhearts as a part-time gig, while working full time at Deloitte Consulting as a project controller.

What is Inkhearts?
Inkhearts is a bespoke stationery studio that caters to the discerning client looking for something other than cookie-cutter invitations & stationery ensembles. We create one-of-a-kind event stationery that sets the right tone for the event.

Have you always had an interest in stationery and invitations?
I love working with my hands and have always been interested in crafts. I started out just creating designs and invitations for fun and for friends and then I designed and created my wedding invitations back in 2007. I guess you could say it has taken on a life of its own since then.

How did you go about setting up your business? 

I started off my business in Atlanta, Georgia and we were incorporated back in August 2008. When I moved back to Nigeria in 2010, I promptly registered Inkhearts as a PLC. In terms of clientele, we have been lucky enough to have had loads of referrals from clients we have worked with in the past.

What factors set Inkhearts apart from other competing businesses?
We pride ourselves on providing exceptional customer service and that personalized touch that a client may not necessarily receive elsewhere. We also take the time to talk through options with each client and are willing to go the extra mile to make our clients happy, whether or not they place an order with us. 80{54d2fcdcd494adb6982253be6fe8d5492e5f586157f419110131714f9092ec60} of our clients come through referrals which says a lot about the quality of service we provide.

How did you settle on the name, “Inkhearts”?
I have my siblings to thank for the name. In simplest terms, “Inkhearts” signifies putting pen to paper to create designs borne out of love. A poignant moment for me was when we were renovating our current studio space and the 3-D signage of our business logo went up on the wall. It made it all seem so real.

What are the three must-haves for women interested in starting up a business like yours?

Patience – Rome wasn’t built in one day. Your business will flourish once you have faith and a deep-rooted passion for what you do.

Mentors/Peers – Associate yourself with like-minded individuals who have been in the same industry and have a plethora of knowledge and valuable advice.

Financing – Figure out how you will be financing your business, whether it is through savings, loans, investors or family.

What are the major challenges you face in this business? 

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Nothing in life comes without challenges and I think it’s what we learn from them and how we strive to do better the next time that counts. With that being said, one of the more interesting challenges I face on a regular basis (especially since doing business in Nigeria) is meeting clients who want results yesterday for a job order they placed today. It baffles me each time.

The other issue, I would like to term as a work-in-progress rather than a challenge. I would like to see more clients move away from the norm/safe zone when thinking about designs and embrace more unique and “wow factor” concepts.

How have your friends and family helped you to achieve your business goals?
While working in corporate America, I always knew that I wanted to be my own boss and start my own business someday. Fortunately for me, my family was able to give the extra push I needed to realize my dream. My husband has been fantastic in helping me set realistic and measurable business goals that are also aligned with my personal goals. At the end of the day, I want to be a doer and not just a dreamer so I can taste my achievements in reality.

Inkhearts Studio

+234 (0) 807 478 3309

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