[Short Video] How This African Entrepreneur Made Over A Million Dollars From Needle & Thread

The Success Story Of Adenike Ogunlesi, Of Ruff 'n' Tumble
The Success Story Of Adenike Ogunlesi, Of Ruff ‘n’ Tumble

Inspiring stories of success can sometimes be all you need to take that great step towards achieving your goal. The only true thing that’s stopping you from self-fulfilment is fear, and the mastery of fear, not its evasion, will make your life a true success story for everyone to learn from.

A lot of activities happen everyday. People head to work, take walks, go the market, hit the gym, stop at restaurants to have a meal or two, and do several other things. In the middle of all these, was a woman trying to sell some clothes from the boot of her car.

While extremely few people who may have seen her ply her trade in the mid-90’s might remember her humble beginnings, many who passed her by would never have had a clue that the lady selling the items from that car boot, could someday grow the business into a multi-million dollars venture.

This inspiring success story is about the struggles, rise, and triumph of Adenike Ogunlesi, the founder and CEO of Ruff ‘n’ Tumble.

See Also: 6 Recession-Proof Business Ideas & Opportunities In Nigeria


Here’s the success story of Adenike Ogunlesi.



So, Who’s Adenike Ogunlesi?

Adenike Ogunlesi, is the founder, CEO, and manufacturer of the Nigerian babies and kiddies clothing line called Ruff ‘n’ Tumble. The brand currently has a minimum of 15 stores spread across Nigeria.


How Did She Get So Lucky?

To wish for luck is to hope, and hope is not strategy. You strategise so you may control what comes next, and Adenike Ogunlesi’s success story has proven her business journey to be one embarked on, not by someone who consistently got lucky, but by a person who planned a large part of her growth.

Born of an entrepreneur herself, the apple never falls too far from the tree.

See Also: You Will Fail As An Entrepreneur If You Do These 5 Things


Here’s How It All Started

Adenike Ogunlesi’s success story dates back to 1996, when she first sought to make some pyjamas for her three kids during the rainy season. These nighties were made out of cotton and looked trendy, colourful, and beautifully graced with a Peter Pan collar. The creativity in these pyjamas made them stand out from anything that was currently in the market.

Her sister in-law, upon seeing what Adenike Ogunlesi had created, couldn’t resist the beauty portrayed by the pyjamas and asked that she made seven (7) pyjamas for her. This triggered a spark in Adenike, and she decided to try out this new venture; whatever it may hold for her.

As she embarked on this new journey, she started taking her kids clothes apart to see how they were sewn together. As she figured out the sewing dynamics, she started to create beautiful patterns, which led to sewing more clothes like trousers, shirts, shorts, and more. After dropping her kids at school, she’d attempt to sell some of the clothing straight from the boot of her car.

As sales grew, her husband encouraged her to make some more for may other kids, and to keep pushing her new trade.

She started selling her hand-made clothing at some events like bazaars and even school markets. After selling clothing worth $600 in one day, in a market, she finally realised that she had a business venture that could scale the ceilings of success.

See Also: How This African Built A Multi-Million Dollar Business From Solar Energy


The Start Of Ruff ‘n’ Tumble

As Adenike Ogunlesi went head-on into her new small business, she started to observe the market trends that surrounded kiddies items. She soon realised that most of the items in the markets were not trendy, and the combination of clothing in one pack for a purchase was never truly beneficial to the mother purchasing the items. Armed with this knowledge, she set to grow her business, while covering the flaws of the market, through her brand. Success Story Of Adenike Ogunlesi

She hired a couple of tailors to start local manufacturing of her clothing, which was initially sold through a supermarket.

She later setup her own store with her personal savings and a loan from her elder brother.

After a good turnover one christmas, she expanded her store within the same premises, and this was where real growth began.

She started to read, so she could expand her knowledge. This eventually led her to attend a course on customer experience and supply chain management. Not long after, she opened a second store, then a third store, and eventually a fourth in Abuja. Overtime, she eventually setup stores in Port Harcourt, Ibadan, and Kano.

See Also: The 5 Top Business Books To Read Before And After Starting your Business

Her long-term brand, Ruff ‘n’ Tumble, which manufactures children clothing, today employs over 200 people, and has grown to add two more clothing brands, named, NaijaBoysZ and Trendsetters to their collection.


To Sum It Up

This success story of Adenike Ogunlesi, is one every entrepreneur should emulate. Limited by funds and with no access to investors, tenancity of purpose will always be supreme, as long as you’re building a venture on a viable business model.

Define your market, identify their needs, solve them in the most alluring way possible, and your business will experience real growth.


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What are your thoughts on this success story of Adenike Ogunlesi? Let me know by leaving a comment below.


Stan Edom
Stan Edom
I'm an entrepreneur with expertise in supply chain management, international trade, small business development, e-commerce, internet startups, renewable energy, and agriculture. I'm also a network engineer, I.T security expert, and computer programmer. In my spare time when I'm not working out at the gym, I try to solve problems people face in their everyday lives with whatever means necessary.

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  1. Good day,
    my names are saliu Akeem Alabi the CEO to ollytos unique smallchops & grill. am an event practitioner, plz I want you to explain more to me about the wordpress blog

  2. Adenike Ogunlesi’s Ruff n’ tumble today is an example of how organizations should be built in Nigeria.

    I have the opportunity to partake in a training at their Lagos HQ and the environment is so spick and span, so technologically forward, the employees do their duties with joy.

    I’m always grateful to entrepreneurs who build their dreams and build it well.

    It’s a joy reading about how she started and seeing where the business is today.


  3. Thanks Stan Edom. Am inspired with those inspirations I got here, So amazing and insightful. Am motivated on how to keep pushing on. I am interested in creating a foundation for widows, children and women. Anybook or post I can read on it, will help a lot thanks. Hope to here from you soon.

    • Hi Uzoma,

      Currently, we have no article on how to set up a foundation.

      But we’ll consider writing on that in the near future.

      Thank you.

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