Founded by three ladies, Adiya Atuluku, Frances Okolo and Thelma Thani, Muse Origins is a creative organisation with the mission to showcase African creativity through art, photography, culture, design, music, food and fashion.
We believe that Africa has so much to offer…but most people don’t know it yet. Our mission is to show the world Africans are creative and stylish and are equipped to compete globally.
Muse Origins is one of the businesses selected as beneficiaries of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme and we got to chat with one of the cofounders, Adiya Atuluku, about the experience so far and what lies ahead.
What is Muse Origins about?
We started Muse Origins with a blog, hosting and promoting a variety of African artisans and their work. Now, we are venturing into setting up a marketplace to allow the rest of the world access these creatives and their works.
The Muse Marketplace will connect Nigerian creative artisans (like painters, sculptures, photographers, designers, crafters, and art collectors) with people who like and are interested in purchasing and selling Nigerian art. Our goal is to ensure that creatives who register on our platform have a steady stream of potential customers visiting their custom pages to purchase their work.
How will Muse Origins change the world?
Muse Marketplace aims to provide Nigerian (and in time all Africans) artists in the creative industry, a global audience for their unique products.
The Nigerian creative industry is highly fragmented, with a significant portion characterised by low income earners in remote locations within the country. This industry is currently under-utilized primarily due to lack of exposure. Our initiative aims to boost sales and increase their profits and consequently, their standard of living.
The platform will shine a light on the Nigerian Creative space on a global scale, allowing people outside our country the opportunity to appreciate our culture, perspective and diversity. This will go a long way to promoting Nigeria positively, improving tourism and international relationships, and trade.
How did you feel when you heard you were one of the selected Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs and what was the most difficult part about applying?
None of us could believe it. We were ecstatic and it took a while to settle down and wrap our heads around it all. We are still reeling from the excitement, to be honest. It feels amazing and we are thankful and grateful for the miracle!
Honestly, it wasn’t difficult at all to apply. One of the easiest we have applied for. But we would say the main hindrance was believing that the programme was for real, and deciding whether to put in the effort, in case it was just another one of those ‘rigged’ programmes. We are so glad that we took the step and finished the application.
What is your number one business challenge and how do you think the programme will help address it?
The main thing we are looking forward to is mentorship. Apart from funding, this is the most important thing. Having someone who is accessible and knowing that we have the support of a veteran in the Nigerian business arena will be very reassuring and helpful in strategic decision making.
What do you expect your business will achieve with the programme?
We expect that Muse Marketplace will start in earnest! We have already begun speaking with potential creatives and prospective clients about their interest in our idea and their willingness to participate and register on the platform, and we are inspired by the significant amount of positive feedback.
We can’t wait to use the funds to develop a modern and functional platform, and then begin registering people in earnest. The knowledge we will get from the courses, as well as the mentorships, will also go a long way to help us make important decisions regarding our operations, business risks, and the best course of action to bring this idea to a successful reality.
Any words of encouragement or advice to entrepreneurs like yourself?
It can be difficult because sometimes things don’t go the way you plan, and it takes way longer than you thought it would. But simply don’t give up. Do something every day to get you closer to your goal.
Every day for the next few days, we will share the stories of 30+ African women entrepreneurs whose ideas can change the world. These women are early stage entrepreneurs, with businesses less than three years old, who are beneficiaries of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme.
We are sharing their experiences in hopes that their stories will inspire someone out there to take the leap and go after their dreams. Hope you enjoy their stories as much as we enjoyed putting them together. Follow our daily stories using the hashtag #TEEPcofoundHER or visit cofoundHER for updates.