Hello, friends!! We are back with a new instalment in the virtuous enterprise series. If you missed the last few interviews, feel free to read them here. I hope you took advantage of Tosin’s discount off items at zerefashionhouse. Now, let me tell you a little story of providence that explains how I managed to get Ruth Yimika Awogbade on the line up for the virtuous enterprise series.It is also evidence that only those who receive have asked and that the things you desire can come true if you prepare for all possible eventualities.
So when the series was still an infant lurking somewhere in my dreams, Ruth’s name was on the list. Ruth Yimika Awogbade is the CEO of Magnify magazine, a publication that prides itself on faith, feminism, and fashion. Damiloves lovers will know that I get excited when faith and feminism are combined. Ruth was recently listed as one of the 20 most influential black Christian women in the UK by Keep the Faith Magazine, she is also a board member of the Evangelical Alliance. I was certain that I wanted to interview her! I had read issues of Magnify, and I wanted to meet the beauty and brain behind the clean crisp yet loaded publication, that is the Christian woman’s fashion magazine of the century. How, did it happen you may ask?
In February I attended an event that was hosted by one of my mentors and her husband in London and while sat at a table chatting with several young women, guess who walked in? Yes! God did it! Ruth and her fiancée Ayo walked in and took a seat. Ayo, Ruth’s fiancé, was speaking at the event on being a purpose filled Christian single and I was excited because I had brought my business cards along with me!
I eventually walked up to Ruth full of fear and trepidation; I knew the worst thing she could say was no. But she said yes to my proposal and took my business card, and I left feeling glad, I had fulfilled purpose ! The way a prepared boy scout feels when he successfully lights a fire on a camping trip, with a spare box of matches.
In this month’s interview, Ruth encourages and challenges us to be diligent; she reminds us that dreams are not enough without hard work to back them up. I hope you enjoy Ruth’s interview on Damiloves; I know I certainly did.
Ruth Yimika Awogbade On Faith and womanhood
Why do you feel the Proverbs 31 woman is the epitome of Christian womanhood?
In so many ways Proverbs 31 offers us a guide as to the beauty of womanhood and a framework within which to operate in whether it be our relationships, friendships, families, working lives or marriage. It paints an exciting and empowering vision of what it means to be a woman.
Many believe success as womanhood is a balancing act, how do you identify and focus on your priorities as a young Christian woman?
Over the last few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about priorities. My ultimate priority and foundation is to know and love Christ through a relationship with Him. Anything else I’m involved in or aspire to do has to be built upon/around that as the centre and foundation.
Secondly, prayer is so key. Through prayer and communicating, the Holy Spirit is able to speak to us and help us know what to prioritise in each season.
I also have a lot of mentors in my life (for different areas) whose wisdom I regularly glean from in order to help me prioritize.
You have excelled at turning a dream into a reality with MAGNIFY, to what do you attribute your success?
First and foremost to God. I know that He put this vision in my heart and long before I was even born He went ahead to make a way. Secondly, my parents – they’re my best friends, my support system, my prayer intercessors and their wisdom has been invaluable. We have an incredible team and network of people who have contributed over the years.
How do you address the compatibility of faith, fashion and feminism?
In a sense, if we wear clothes we are in some way involved in the fashion industry. Feminism to me is the belief that men and women are equal and valued equally by God. Equal doesn’t mean the same, but in the Bible, the way that Jesus interacted with women clearly demonstrated the value he placed on our gender. We see in Genesis the wonder of our Creator God – the ultimate creative and fashion is a huge part and way to express creativity.
Do you think the biblical woman is supposed to be subservient?
In relation to marriage, I think sometimes people take Ephesians out of context. I think firstly, being wise in who we choose to be our life partner makes all the difference. If I look at my fiancé, he is a man I respect not just because of his character but because of his deep relationship with God that shapes his life. If in marriage you are ‘submitting’ to someone that you know will put God first and then you, that’s actually a joy. Equally the second part tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and wow is that a tall order!
You are a board member of the Evangelical Alliance, what does evangelism look like in the 21st century?
Evangelism to me in the 21st century is about having a holistic view of life. I think we need to act in love and a Christ-like way but equally, speak up and share the truth of the Gospel – one without the other won’t reach people effectively.
On Business and MAGNIFY
How did you break down the barriers you faced as a Christian woman venturing into business
I always keep in mind the big picture so any barriers I’ve always seen as just part of the journey.
Did you always have a dream to be an entrepreneur, and if so when did you realise you had that gifting?
Ever since I was younger, I’ve always loved creating and entrepreneurship. I started my first business in primary school – selling Teletubby posters to my classmates.
The Huffington Post recently praised MAGNIFY as ‘the women’s magazine breaking every stereotype out there’ are there any countries specifically where you would like MAGNIFY to break unhelpful stereotypes.
I’ve grown up in the UK my whole life, and this is my home. So here, I’d love Magnify to show that Christ is relevant to every day life. Also in countries where the concept of nominal Christianity sadly is rife, I would love Magnify to empower women to know that to live in relationship with Christ is so liberating.
What advice would you give young Christian women who were starting out in business?
Research, research, research. It’s really easy to have ideas, but it’s so important to do due diligence, so we understand the market and audience we are trying to reach and operate in. Equally, planning is so important as starting is the easy part but if we don’t plan, we can’t sustain things.if we don’t plan, we can’t sustain things @MissAwogbade Click To Tweet
How do you maintain a classy personal style regardless of the changing fashion trends and fads?
I’ve always loved men’s fashion, and from that, I’ve learnt the importance of style and investing in classic staples. For me at the moment, that’s where my focus is as in the past I’ve wasted so much money on things that six months later I was like why oh why is that in my wardrobe!
What was the best piece of advice you received when you decided to start publishing MAGNIFY?
Remember your ‘why.’
Worst advice received on Career
Do it for the money.
Worst advice received on Relationships
It’s right to pursue a man or initiate the relationship.
How should young women aim to be authentic in today’s picture perfect world?
Surround yourself with people who tell you the truth. Enjoy social media/fashion but understand often it is curated creativity rather than a reflection of real life.
Finally, The tag line at Damiloves is ‘learn to love the life you are living’, what does that statement mean to you?
We all have a race to run, and it’s important to embrace that idea and focus on what God has planned for you.
Thank you to Ruth and the fantastic team and Magnify that helped make this interview happen. I know that I have been blessed and I’m sure you were too. I wish Ruth more excellence and grace as she continues to scale new heights and conquer new grounds, and I’m certain she’s going to make a beautiful bride.
Until I come your way again with more words of wisdom! Don’t forget to learn to the life you are living
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