Oyetola Akande: “Times change very quickly. You need to be ready to adapt and change in this ever-changing world.”

Oyetola Akande is the co-founder of Samis Online African Food, and wife to Olusegun Akande. She is also the founder of Oyetty Meals and  Oyetty Foundation, which provides 5% of all Oyetty Meals’ sales to Nigerian families who have children with additional/special needs to provide help, support, and information. Read our Q&A with Her and be inspired.

Tell us about your journey and how you became the co-founder of Samis.
Samis was founded in 2011 with my husband. We started the business after realizing there was a need for an African Caribbean food store in the West Midlands.

What inspired you to start this company and what is the mission behind it?
The idea was to have a one-stop shop for all African foods. Where you can buy all your dry, fresh, meats, fish, and poultry. This would save people from going from store to store and from traveling over a hundred miles to get their native foods.

How has your experience as a woman in business been, and what challenges have you faced?
It has been a good experience so far, like any business, not without its challenges.
Family commitments, inherent biases and evolving gender roles make opening and running a successful business uniquely challenging for women. The lack of adequate outside support and advice can also create an untenable operating environment.

What are some of the accomplishments that you are most proud of with Samis?
I’m proud of samis’s growth. We’ve managed to stay relevant and at the top of our game after all these years. We’re arguably the No1 online supplier of African foods in the UK, with by far the largest offering. There’s Pride of Africa (POA) a sister company that packages and deals in wholesale supply. Other sister companies include oyettymeals, and Empress Bar and Grill. We’re also continuously giving back through programmes, weekly outreach in Nigeria, and recently launched oyetty foundation that caters to parents of children with special needs. At no time have we gotten complacent, we’re always evolving and building.

How important is diversity and inclusivity in the workplace for you and your team?
Diversity is very important in our work setting. We’re ethnic minorities, operating an ethnic business, also being a female in the Workplace means we have to ensure all areas are covered and no room for inequality or discrimination of any sort

Can you speak to some of the future plans and goals for Samis?
Of course! We would like to take Samis Global. We want to leverage tech and see how far and wide we can reach customers. We would like to explore self-fulfillment instead of using 3rd party logistics companies. We’re working on more branded product offerings and so many more. Although Samis has been self-funded to date, we’re now looking for funding and open to partnerships to enable us to scale up and achieve these ambitious goals

As a successful entrepreneur, what advice do you have for other young women looking to start their own businesses?
I’d say Start with what you have and grow. Seek guidance and mentorship before you start. It’ll save you lots of resources. Also, ensure you have a mentor who’s accessible. It’ll be tough, but if you can weather the storm, it’ll be so worth it.

If you could give younger Samis one piece of advice, what would it be?
Put a good structure in place. Let it run as a business, don’t be a self-employed businesswoman.

What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned in your career so far?
Times change very quickly. You need to be ready to adapt and change in this ever-changing world. You need to be flexible and go with the trend.

What would you like your legacy to be?
To have an impact on some lives in a positive way. To have made a good difference in my sphere of influence. To have a few that’ll call me a good friend. To raise children that will love God and serve God!

About Samisonline.com
Samisonline.com is the UK’s one-stop Afro-Caribbean Online Superstore. We are specialists in groceries and original products of the highest quality. Our e-commerce retail section caters to the needs of our consumers across the UK, using third-party courier services such as DHL, and DPD Parcel force. We also have a growing social media presence on Instagram and TikTok for customer engagement.