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Tola Adeagbo on Creating Florian and Female Empowerment

London based contemporary accessories brand Florian was founded in 2013 by Tola Adeagbo. The handbags are designed with the modern woman in mind and aim to celebrate women all around the world. As well as being an entrepreneur, Tola is also a devoted mother. Here, she talks to Cohorted Cult about her biggest struggles as a female boss and why she is such a huge advocate for female empowerment.  

For anyone who doesn’t already know, could you explain more about Florian and what sets it apart from other accessory brands?

Florian is a Ladies accessories brand birthed in 2013 after I was made redundant in my 9-5 job. 

Celebrating and championing the women who wear Florian is at the core of the brand, we pride ourselves in creating high quality, aesthetically pleasing handbags at an attainable price point.   

Florian London is all about community, we deeply care about the women who invest in our brand, we highlight them in our phenomenal women interview series, support them with our exceptional customer service, sophisticate them with our unique designs. 

What was the reason for creating Florian and is there a story behind the brand name?

 Florian London was created at a pivotal point in my life, I just became a mother for the first time and I was made redundant at the same time. I struggled to find a flexible job in the financial sector, whilst at home I started deconstructing vintage bags and selling them to friends and family, it gave me so much joy seeing them in my designs. My partner suggested creating my own brand, with my principal values at the centre of it – creating beautiful designs whilst simultaneously empowering women. 

Talk us through a day in the life of Tola Adeagbo…

I wake up at 6.30a.m, I meditate for 15mins before I jump out of bed, then I get the kids ready for school, next  stop – I go to the gym for an hour minimum.  

Then Florian London gets my full attention – this role differs from day to day, mostly I am at the showroom working with my team, answering emails, liaising with our artisan, planning shoots etc. In the evening I switch off and spend quality time with my children, once they are in bed, I usually pick up my laptop again and work till 10pm. 

What advice would you give to other women who are thinking of starting their own business?

 It is important to recognise your strengths and weaknesses. It is also crucial that you are focused on something you are passionate about. Make sure you understand your target customers and existing market. Most importantly get a mentor and don’t be afraid to ask for help.  

Over your years in the industry, what do you think have been the best and worst handbag trends?

I think the worst for me has to be the plastic handbag trend and the best bag trend is the mini bag trend. I love love a mini bag. 

'There is nothing more powerful than an outstretched hand of another woman in your direction.'

Since 2014 Florian has already achieved so much including winning ‘Best in Overall Style and Design’ at the International Handbag Awards, but where do you hope to be in 5 years' time?

In five years time we want to become a household British accessories brand, we also want to have a strong presence in the metaverse. We are currently working on an exciting project in the metaverse.  

We’re all aware that it isn’t always easy being a female boss. What has been the biggest struggle you have faced so far since starting Florian and what did you do to overcome it?

I think for me, I struggled with Imposter syndrome, even as others praised me for how far Florian London has come, I put even more pressure on myself to work harder, further accomplishments did not reassure me. I overcame these thoughts and feelings by acknowledging them and bringing them to the light. I also challenged the doubts, and most importantly I stopped comparing myself to others. I realised success doesn’t require perfection, true perfection is practically impossible. I offered myself kindness and compassion instead of judgement and self-doubt. 

You’re a huge advocate for female empowerment, why do you think that it is so important for women to support other women? 

I am one of 6 sisters and I have two daughters of my own so naturally I am all about being my sisters’ keepers and teaching my two daughters how to support and encourage each other, I truly believe for a society to thrive women must feel empowered and empowered women must support other women. 

There is nothing more powerful than an outstretched hand of another woman in your direction, celebrating another woman’s triumphs or success will never take away from your shine or glory, if anything it’ll add to it and create more light. The way I see it, once we discover a way to celebrate our light, life, and purpose we will be able to rejoice those of our neighbour genuinely.  

Who is your ultimate female inspiration and why?

My Mother, because she taught me to fearlessly go after my dreams, I have always admired her strength and perseverance.  

 I am also very inspired by Oprah Winfrey, because not only did she want to accomplish her dreams, but she wanted others to achieve their goals and follow her footsteps.  Despite a tough childhood, she trusted herself, she had a deep sense of purpose and went on to become an inspiration for many women like her around the world. 

SHOP THE BRAND

Discover more from Florian at florianlondon.com/ 

WRITTEN BY

DISCLAIMER: We always aim to credit the original source of every image we include in our content. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please get in touch at marketing@cohorted.co.uk.

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