Founder Story: Starting a Business in the Middle of a Pandemic

Written by Annabel Okeya
Starting a Business in the Middle of a Pandemic - Annabel Okeya


As a small business owner, I do my best to be transparent with my customers. In that light, I've decided to start a series of blog posts to share some bits of me.

When I browse some of my favourite small businesses online, I always love when they give me a peek into their day to day lives. Sometimes we forget it's humans that are behind these growing social media accounts that we love so much - humans with lives.

That being said, I wanted to share some of my W's and L's since I launched S&O back in May. 3+ short months after, and my life is changing for the better.

I launched when the BLM movement was at its peak and we were all isolating at home. I wasn't sure how the business was going to take off because prior to May, I had read about businesses and how most of them failed after some time. I was scared and didn't know half of what I was doing but I went for it anyway. It was the best decision of my life.

In 3 months I've sold more candles than I could ever imagine, I've met wonderful people along the way (virtually and in person), my business even got featured on ELLE USA and I've had some pretty cool interviews with fellow makers and brands like Zoe Elle Co, Local with Linds and Kinsfolk Shop

My business has also been featured on Notable Life, Bay St Bull. I have 4 amazing brands that carry Seventh & Oak products and more on the way. I'm also working on 2 collaborations that I'm so excited about.

It's not always this busy if I'm being honest. It gets quiet on some days but I use those times to work on other parts of the business - whether it's reaching out to potential stockists, collaborations, content or even financials. And on some days, I just don't work. No matter what, I always prioritize my mental health because I need to be in the best shape to perform excellently.

If anyone told me that all this would happen in my first 3 months of business, I would never have believed. What was supposed to be a side hustle has turned into my full time gig where I get to call the shots, express myself creatively and bring awareness to sustainability. I wake up everyday knowing that I absolutely love what I do for a living and I couldn't be more thankful.

I've made some mistakes. I've rushed into things I should have thought about twice. Owning a business is a journey, one where you learn lessons along the way. I'm very content with where I am and where Seventh & Oak is going. The shy girl that was born and raised in Nigeria decided to push herself out there, is learning and unlearning things and cannot wait to show the world who she is. That's my story and I hope you'll be here as it unfolds.

Thank you to all who have supported me on this journey so far. I'll forever be grateful for every purchase, message, like and share. Seventh & Oak would not be where it is today if not for all of you.



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