Story of a Student Entrepreneur: Elizabeth Ariyo
Elizabeth Ariyo, is a 21 year old Economics and Politics student. She is a campus fellowship leader, and has recently started a beauty and hair business called TOUCHED.
I remember being 6 or 7 years old and having a huge collection of hair accessories at home. I didn’t really need them anymore, so one day I randomly decided to bag them up and create bundle deals. My mum is a business women so every time she would have meetings with her clients, I would ask to follow her and sell my hair accessories! I remember making up over £51 that month, looking back I can tell I have always been entrepreneurial!
I also remember having to do my little cousins hair every two weeks at the age of 8 and my uncle forcing my aunty to pay £5 each time I did it. From then, I went on to doing my brother’s and all his friends’ hair and charging them £5 too. So I guess the business started since then, but just didn’t have a name lol.
When I realised that I could no longer work in retail (doing things I do not love for a salary that was far from my value) I decided to take my passion for hair and beauty seriously.
I didn’t get any funding to start my business, I literally started with no resources but a comb and my two hands. As my clients increased, I could afford to buy a variety of hair equipment and makeup products. As of now, I am still building my collection.
There’s so much that I enjoy about my business but the main thing is that I get to beautify people from different walks of life. Being able to use my own hands to enhance and bring out the beauty in people really is fulfilling.
To me I believe every business is unique, at TOUCHED we endeavour to provide more than just a service but create long lasting relationships with our clients, build them up with love and empower them in our own special way.
Every time I compare our old portfolio to our new ones, it is exciting to see how much we have improved. Watching YouTube videos, shadowing professionals and attending hair and makeup classes have really helped me to improve.
My advice to business owners would be to always save majority of your business income and do not mix it with your personal needs.
My clients vary, from young children to adults. However in recent years I’ve had more young and senior adults.
Challenges of a student entrepreneur
My challenge as an entrepreneur is trying to balance education and business together, as well as trying to get yourself out there.
Honestly, it is the grace of God, I don’t even know how I do it. I’ve tried having a timetable but I found myself still doing my own thing. I do have a schedule app that reminds me of when I need to revise or when I need to prepare for my next client, and that has helped me manage my time.
Managing money was also a big challenge. I remember when I literally had no MONEY. I looked at my account and thought, ‘how in the world am I going to survive this week?’ Because you never have a fixed amount of money coming in, sometimes it’s hard to rationalise and allocate money. It’s not every day you’ll have customers. I was so financially low and thought the only person I can turn to is God, since there is no situation that is too big for Him. So I prayed, and God being soooo soooo GOOD, sent manna! Haha. He didn’t send food from heaven but he sent customers and I was sooooo shocked! After that time, I vowed that I will be wiser with how I manage my income and not mix my personal and business accounts together. Unfortunately, the situation happened again (forgive me Lord). But now, I can say I’ve really learnt and by the Grace of God, it won’t happen again. The advice I can give to small business owners like myself, is always always save MAJORITY of your business income and do not mix it with your personal needs.
God and my work ethic
Colossians 3:23 says ‘Whatever you do, work with all your heart as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people’. I live eat, drink and breath this scripture when it comes to my business. I want to make sure I deliver my service to the best of my ability.
I enjoy doing a lot of things, but one of the main things I enjoy doing alongside TOUCHED is styling people and travelling. When it comes to fashion and picking out outfits for people, it gives me butterflies haha, the thought of it now has put a big smile on my face. It allows me to bring my creativity to life! With travelling, I find exploring new cultures and meeting different people mind stretching and therapeutic!
Remove the image in your mind that God is angry at you because of all the mistakes and wrong things you’ve done.
Above all, I live to see women empowered, especially the young females. It’s so rewarding when you’re able to build a young female who has lost her confidence, forgotten her worth, been hurt and bruised by words.. I live for these days.
Outside of being a beauty influencer, another one of my passions is giving back to people, sharing knowledge and being able to serve humanity. I believe that we were not created for ourselves but for others – to love, teach and edify! Last August, I went on a missionary trip to Kenya, Nakuru where I worked with orphans. This journey completely changed my life.
There were so many things I saw that made me grateful for the little things. I recall encountering a women during our health clinic activity, who had high blood pressure. She told us it was because she could no longer afford to send her first son to school. She was a milk supplier and somebody had poisoned her cows which affected the quality of the milk, so she could no longer sell it. I was fortunate enough to bless this women with a small amount of money. The women cried and cried and couldn’t stop praying for me. It made me realise, the small amount of money that I could spend in 1 hour on a pair of shoes or so can do so much for a family.
Some other highlights included taking part in building a new secondary school. It was quite symbolic for me as I saw my labour as a seed. I was sowing into the lives of children who would progress in their academics and be the next generation to change the world. Distributing food at a dumpsite to various families who lived there was another good experience. It made me extremely emotional that I began to cry, I saw little babies as young as 6 months living on the dumpsite with pigs, dogs, birds and flies surrounding them. I heard awful stories that had happened to the younger children who lived on site. It was just so overwhelming, and it made me realise that the situation I saw these kids in really could’ve been anybody, it could’ve been you and I. They didn’t choose that life at all, and it was that realisation that made me grateful for everything!
For people struggling with their faith on campus
I am a campus fellowship leader, so I am privileged to meet people who are struggling with their faith quite frequently. I can only tell you what works for me and remind you that God is a loving father as well as an amazing friend. Yes, friend. Remove the image in your mind that He is angry at you or that He hates you because of all the mistakes or wrong things you do. Just open up like you would to your best friend, and tell God exactly how you feel even if it feels like you’re talking to yourself. Transparency before God is so key, tell Him exactly how you feel, what you may be battling with and what you want Him to do for you. He is always willing to help and come to our aid because that’s just who He is, love is His nature.
You should also join a Bible believing church that meets your specific needs and talk to someone you feel could help you on your journey. Just please please don’t give up on your journey with Jesus. I can assure you, it will be the best thing that has ever happened to you.
For more info on TOUCHED check out their Instagram page here.
Did you start a business or an amazing project while at university?
Are you making positive impact on your campus or in your local community? If your answer is yes, you could be featured on our ‘Inspire’ page.
Contact us for more details: support@lively stones.co.uk