Modupe Philips is the CEO and Founder of a Lagos based business, A’lure.
In line with promoting Nigerian women and their achievements to mark International Women’s Day, Anu Odubanjo had an exclusive chat with Modupe about juggling a 9-5 with a side hustle, challenges, and her take on what the IWD 2021 ‘Choose To Challenge’ means to her.
Quite coincidentally, today, March 15 also happens to be her birthday.
Read on as she takes us into her world as a woman striving to make an impact in the world.
1. Who is Modupe Phillips and what do you do?
Modupe Phillips is a trained and experienced Project Manager, currently working at a philanthropic organization in Lagos Nigeria.
She is the Founder of A’lure – a business focused on beautifying and adding color to the lives of men and women alike products, IT solutions, and Advisory service.
Modupe is a humanitarian with 13 years of active service with Y’s Men International, an organization that strives to develop, encourage and provide leadership to build a better world for mankind.
Her passion for helping people and developing communities across Africa has charted her career path, from being the African President of the Y’s Youth Movement to coordinating Corporate Social Responsibility activities for leading organizations and now working as a Project Manager and doubling as a CEO of an organization that has been in existence for 2 years. Modupe will not take on a new responsibility if the trace of her God-given purpose does not lie in whatever responsibility she assumes.
Asides from being a humanitarian, she is a brand strategist, product, and experiential marketer.
2.What inspired you to start a side business?
The first was Money. As of January 2019, when I started A’lure, a dollar was equivalent to N362 and I just realized that relying on my salary alone did not make sense. As an Economist, I think in the real value of things and not the nominal sense of it.
Let me draw up an illustration for you, an entry-level candidate in a bank probably earned around N200,000 in 2013, then the exchange rate was N156 to a dollar, which means that the real income was $1,282. An entry-level candidate back in 2019 will be earning a real income of $552, you can now imagine what the real income of an entry-level candidate in 2021 will be, $416. So it does not just make sense for anyone to rely on salary alone these economic times in Nigeria.
For the individual that was earning a real income of $1,282 in 2013, please tell me how many promotions and years of service will that person need to double their real income if they rely on salary alone, it will probably take the person to be a GM, today in order to earn double the real income earned in 2013. With the current exchange rate, the person will have to earn N1,230,720 monthly (don’t ask me how I concluded with these numbers, you can connect with me later for further analysis).
The story above is to illustrate a little into how the current policies in this country are impoverishing the common man. So you see my reason to diversify my income?
Secondly, I needed to challenge myself, challenge my creativity. I was working at a highly competitive environment one time and I constantly had to prove myself and sometimes you get tired and you feel like your ideas was probably ‘not good enough’ so with A’lure I wanted to challenge myself, turn my ‘not good enough’ to amazing. Before A’lure I always felt like I was not multi-tasking and I needed to challenge that personal belief by learning to grow a business and manage the ton of work that came with my 9-5.
I staked a lot in starting this business, finances, convenience and I am determined to see it grow into greater and greater potential.
3.The name of your business ‘A’lure’ is so soothing. What inspired the name?
The name encapsulates the brand essence, whoever uses our products or service becomes more alluring, charming, more beautiful, more impressionable, and wanted.
4. What are the challenges you have faced since you started the business?
Exchange rate, It can be a nightmare!! You want to source for top quality fragrances and products but by the time you convert the Nigerian cash to whatever country’s currency, it seems all your profits will just go down the drain and because you want to be fair on customers, we take on some of the costs and have little profits to claim.
Then import duties, that is a story for another day. The amount you spend on levies and duties sometimes in Nigeria is as expensive as the actual amount on products bought.
5. How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected your business?
COVID-19 affected us a whole lot. Our target market is basically young adults in the working population, since people were locked down for most of 2020 with few places to go to, the orders definitely declined but activities are picking up and so are sales.
6.Having a 9-5 with a side hustle and a family is not a child’s play, how do you balance it?
I set priorities and plan myself. My 9-5 is a priority because the money I earn there is what I use to fund my dreams and aspirations.
My family is Priority ++ because they are the spine that just helps me hold everything together; their support and encouragement are what has helped me thus far. There have been downtimes, a lot of it in fact but my family has been critical in helping me spring back.
For A’lure and many other interests that I have, I set aside at least 1 hour every day to study and research. For you to be a Master of any game, you need to invest at least 10,000 hours into developing yourself in the line you choose.
7. Describe a typical day in your life?
I work remotely so I am at my house most of the day. I join Morning Dew prayers by Pastor Segun Obadje at 5:30 A.M. I get my daughter ready for school, draw up a list of tasks for the day around 8:30 A.M, resume remote work by 9 A.M, listen to worship songs/ a sermon in the middle of work when I have a bit of downtime. While the main work is happening I am also managing A’lure customer requests and inquiries. Towards the close of business, I read on topics related to my business, do some research for my business and other interest for at least an hour, plan my content for social media.
From 6 P.M till I go to bed, it is family time, Netflix and Chill shenanigans, and just quality time catching up with my husband and working on assignments with my daughter, and voila the day is over.
8. March 8 was International Women’s Day, share your thoughts on the theme ‘Choose To Challenge’ and what it means to you.
Choose to challenge is my daily mantra. I always strive for more, to be more, and to do more. I choose to challenge myself because guess what I am not perfect, neither are you so there is always something to challenge. IWD or any other day, I choose to challenge stereotypes in our society.
9. Any advice for women especially those thinking of starting a business or side hustle?
Do it Now!!! Don’t procrastinate, just start.
Do it Afraid! Do it unprepared, it does not have to be perfect, it is better you fail and learn from your mistakes than never taking the dive in the first place.
For inquiries and business deals, get in touch with Modupe via her social media handles below.
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org