Interview: Hannah Obalade
Hannah Obalade is 23 years old. She is a graduate of BSc Psychology with Criminology, a manager, wife and CEO of an events company. The company is based in London but works with a range of venues across the UK. They cover a variety of events including weddings, conferences, award evenings, performance shows, live music events and birthday parties.
We had a chat with Hannah about how she manages her business, people’s reaction to her early marriage and more.
You are the CEO of an amazing events company. Tell us the story behind your brand?
RoseDaniel Events (affordable perfection) was born in 2014. I have been planning events since the age of 13 when my friend died of cancer at school. Every year up until Sixth form, I ran an annual talent show in support of teenage cancer trust whilst remembering the life my friend lived. It was these charity events that spurred on my love for events, thereafter I continued putting on many charity events in aid of Comic Relief, Teenage Cancer Trust and Cancer Research. When I started university and was well settled into a Christian group called ‘Radical Youth’, organising events was almost a daily affair. In my final year of university I decided that it was time to start RoseDaniel Events, the first event we organised was a small afro beats and jazz-fusion event in Nottingham.
Where did the name ‘RoseDaniel’ come from?
One of my middle names is ‘Roseline’ and my maternal and paternal grandfathers are both named Daniel, so Rose + Daniel = RoseDaniel Events. I had to incorporate my family somehow as family is everything to me.
What has been the highlight of running your business so far?
The highlight of my business so far was planning a wedding in March 2016. It was a beautiful wedding at Addington Palace, with 600 guests. It was the biggest wedding we had planned as a company and I was so proud of my team and how well they executed it.
What difficulties have you had in hiring your staff and how have you managed to keep them motivated?
Two things I have struggled with are hiring the right people and being able to pay well.
What most people don’t see when looking at a business from afar is the personal investments and financial struggles they have to battle with. At the beginning stages of every company, money is usually scarce, so we’ve had to find dedicated people who believe in the mission of the company and are prepared to stick with us no matter what.
I have eight team members. Four of them are friends who just believed in my vision and joined me on the journey. Two heard about us and applied to join us and the last two are our new social media interns who joined us because of our advert on social media. They applied by sending in their CV and why they feel they would be the best candidate. At the moment, we use a project management app to keep everyone in the loop and we try to have meetings once a month. Managing a team can be difficult especially when it’s not something they are doing full time and when they aren’t getting paid much. You must have a lot of patience and must care for each team member as individuals.
I do thank God for the wonderful volunteers that have chosen to stick by us over the past 2 years. Without them all of this would not be possible.
What is the future of Rose Daniel Events?
RoseDaniel Events is going to be national and international. My hope and prayer is for us to break into the corporate sector and plan some amazing events for incredible companies like BP. But for now, we want to continue climbing our way up there providing an affordable service whilst striving for perfection.
What has been your biggest challenge as a young entrepreneur?
Juggling the responsibility of being a full time Nursery manager, a loving wife, a church leader and still find time to meet all my client’s needs.
How has your relationship with God influenced your work ethic?
I believe that God has given us the spirit of excellence, in fact it says so in the word of God. I run my life with that in mind, knowing that everything I do, I should do with all my heart and ensuring it’s excellent in order to please my father in heaven.
You got married last year at the age of 22. What were some of the reactions you got, and why did you choose to get married at such a young age?
Haha…. It’s funny because I think you’re the first person to ask me that question. My husband and I started dating in April 2013. At that point God had already told me that Tobi was going to be my husband. A few months down the line, we had to face the question of when to get married. 2016 just sounded like a good year to get married. I would have been working for a year after university and 3 years of courting felt like forever anyway so we settled on 2016. I’ll give you some reactions: my parents just wanted to hurry up and bundle me out of the house (I believe I’m a lovely daughter); my cousins “why would you want to get married so young? you’re just throwing your life away, you won’t be able to do anything, you won’t even be able to travel!”; my friends were super excited for me as expected.
How did you know that your husband is the one?
God sort of bundled us together in his own way to be honest. I had seen him a few times in Nottingham before I started university and I thought he was really prideful even though I hadn’t spoken to him yet (Don’t judge people oooo). We had our first proper interaction when we were playing archery at Radical Youth’s weekend away in 2013. Shortly after that, it has been non-stop talking till today. However for me that would not have been enough, we both took time to seek God about each other and God spoke to me as he normally does through his word, I had a few pastors give us words of confirmation and a few friends too, lo and behold here we are.
You started your business with your husband even before you got married, were you not scared that the business would fail if your relationship had failed?
It wasn’t going to and it will never end by the grace of God who holds our lives together. But whatever would have happened Tobi is my most favourite person in the world, we would have made something work, he is great at what he does.
What major impact has networking had on you and your business?
Networking has been so key. As soon as you have the confidence to go to a group of people and explain who you are and what you do, it grabs people’s attention and they will always notice. When a day comes that they need you they will look for you. I’ve also found that pushing myself to go to different events and get myself out there has been really useful. I’m not really the type to talk about myself but I’ve learnt that business isn’t personal you have to broadcast your business at every opportunity you get.
You started your business while you were in university, how did you balance that with studying?
Truthfully I’d say it’s only the grace of God. I mean I hardly got any rest. My mother always taught me to work hard so one day you can rest well, so that’s what I did. I pushed myself till I got to where I wanted to be. It was very hard I cannot lie.
What tips do you have for young and aspiring business owners?
Let your inspiration be your driving force, stay focused no matter what anybody around you has to say and keep pushing until you meet and surpass your personal best. Also, know God because only He can take you through difficult times.
You can get in touch with Hannah or RoseDaniel Events via the following:
Facebook: Rose DanielEvents
Are you a young christian doing something impactful and positive within your sphere of influence? Would you like to be featured on our Inspire page? Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org