JG Ayodele transitioned from Corporate America to Creative Entrepreneur, more specifically from banking to fashion. Jibolu “J.G.” Ayodele is the co-founder of Thando’s, a Lagos and NY based fashion company that provides a platform for African artists to design for a global audience. Join us, as we discuss the Wakanda effect, working with your spouse, and starting a new creative endeavor!
Thando’s utilizes design competitions to crowdsource its designs from aspiring African artists. Each competition highlights a social cause in Africa and drives the inspiration behind the designs. Each competition highlights a social cause in Africa and drives the inspiration behind the designs. The community of fans/followers votes on their favorite designs and profits are shared with the artist(s) that design the winning print. In addition, a portion of the sales is used to support the social cause that influenced the design competition via partnerships with NGOs. Our first product is a vegan, machine washable foldable ballerina flat.
Prior to Thando’s, JG led the business development efforts of Viacom International Media Networks in Nigeria where he co-created partnerships with brands such as Hewlett Packard and Lufthansa.
Prior to Viacom, JG worked with Deloitte’s audit practice, and spent five years in Leveraged Finance at Bank of America where he worked on industry agnostic private equity deals. Subsequently, he worked at GE Capital where he originated and closed mid-market to large cap transactions in the Restaurant and Real Estate sectors.
JG holds an MBA specializing in Finance, Entertainment, Media, and Technology from NYU – Stern School of Business, a Masters in Accounting from NC State University, and a Bachelors in Business Administration from the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.
JG is married to his co-founder, Taffi Ayodele and is Head of the Management team for Laolu #iseedifferent
Key Questions answered by JG:
- When you left your corporate job to start your own company, what would you have done differently? Any regrets? Any timing issues?
- Did you have mentors when you started?
- How did JG learn about the footwear industry – manufacture, source, etc.?
- How JG navigated the challenges of starting a footwear company
- Is an MBA beneficial?
- Advice for creatives
- Where the idea for Thandos came from
- Finding a job that allows him to merge his left and right brain
- How JG prepared himself for taking the jump into his creative journey
- How he learned to run a shoe company
- How JG transitioned from finance to retail
- What excites JG everyday now that he is a creative entrepreneur
- Challenges JG has faced as a person of color
- The Wakanda Effect
- How JG positions Thandos Shoes to be successful
- Working with your spouse
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