Erika Enyolu is a multifaceted serial entrepreneur with a key focus in Public Relations, Events Management, and Social Media Marketing. She is the President of PR Diva Communications, an entertainment and lifestyle public relations agency that connects luxury brands and celebrity influencers to the world.
How did you decide on a career in public relations?
As I majored in Communications and Media Studies, it made sense for me to pursue a career in Public Relations because I have had the passion for the entertainment industry from a young age. I interned for several years at various establishments to gain experience in the industry and, by nature, I am very sociable and love to meet new people. In PR it’s all about your relationships and communication skills and, paired with my growing list of contacts, I took a leap of faith, which led to the birth of my agency PR Diva Communications.
How would you describe what you do? What would you say is your niche?
As a PR professional and active publicist for a wide array of clients, my agency’s mission is to “take your brand to the next level”. My company creates and manages strategic public relations and marketing campaigns in order to increase positive publicity and strengthen brand partnerships for our clientele. PR Diva Communications specializes in the niche markets of entertainment, fashion, and lifestyle. We work with award-winning fashion brands, celebrities, influencers, and high-profile events across Canada, the USA, and internationally. Our client roster includes: the fastest growing diverse Fashion Week in Canada – African Fashion Week Toronto, ShopMavazii.com, Forbes featured fashion brand Ofuure, Vogue featured fashion brand Kaela Kay, Fox LA featured fashion brand Ray Darten, CBC featured catering and events company Shelley’s Catering, Africa All Star Music Fest, and the largest free African music festival in North America, AFROFEST, just to name a few.
How did you make the move from a 9-to-5 job to full time entrepreneurship? And, what was the driving force behind that decision?
I was working as a Marketing Manager for one of Canada’s leading engineering companies and one day just quit. I came back to Toronto from a recent trip to LA, where I was a production freelancer for a weekend at the NAACP Image Awards and it just hit me that I no longer had the desire to work in my weekly corporate environment. I remembered my spirit feeling so happy and care free while in LA and made the connection that I was ready to move on. I had support from my then Director, who thought I was over-qualified in the Marketing Management role to begin with and she actually encouraged me to live out my dreams and start my own company. I also had support from my mentor, who reassured me that I would be fine starting my own business. To this day my mentor consults me with constructive business advice and support that has been very instrumental to the success and growth of PR Diva Communications.
What was the hardest part of the transition? If you had to do it again, what might you do differently?
I would say the hardest part of the transition is that I quit my corporate job with no savings and no clients. To this day, I feel it was the biggest risk I took in my life. I freelanced here and there, but to fully start my company with nothing at times gave me anxiety. However, with the support of my mentor and literally praying to God, I kept strong and focused on my goal to succeed and build my empire.
If I had to do it again, I would suggest making a business plan and having capital to invest in growing your business.
Tell us about your journey with PR Diva Communications. What has been the hardest part of growing and monetizing your brand?
The hardest part about growing and monetizing my brand was the ability to transition the passion into a business and getting people to respect that business model.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my staff and interns that have worked for me and seeing them do well in their future endeavors after working under my wing. I am also very humbled when clients are appreciative of my services and communicate to me that it is because of my company that their businesses have improved.
What is the next milestone?
I am working on a number of projects including monthly events, local and international Fashion Weeks, and my passion project in the fashion brand industry. Although PR will always be my baby, I want more and I’m a very ambitious serial entrepreneur who is always on the search for creating more opportunities for myself. I have my hands in many places and know I will do well in each and every business I put my hands on by the grace of God.
You’re one of the forces behind When Fashion Meets: a Toronto Fashion Industry networking event. How did you get involved with this platform? What’s the goal?
As the Co-Founder of the Toronto Fashion Industry’s “When Fashion Meets” networking event, I can honestly say it’s bigger than I ever imagined. A business associate told me he wanted to start a monthly platform where we help creatives in the fashion industry connect and grow their business. We started working with other event producers and sponsors to make this platform one of the go-to events in Toronto. In just 4 short months, we’ve helped hundreds of individuals and businesses build their network, build their portfolios, and create leads.
How has your Nigerian heritage impacted how you do business?
As we all know, Nigerians are very ambitious people so that trait definitely follows me as a Canadian-born Nigerian to want to achieve more in life. I can also add that watching my Nigerian parents make moves with very limited resources inspired me to work hard and have no excuses with working hard to make my business a success.
What advice do you have for Africans looking to start their own business in Toronto? Where do you see the opportunities?
The most important thing is to believe in themselves and to have a plan. Having education in the industry they are trying to start a business in can help but is not always necessary. If you have experience working or volunteering in that environment, you can gain great skills to start your own business. It is also imperative to have a business coach or mentor to support you along your entrepreneurial journey.
Your network is your net worth so entrepreneurs need to align themselves with the right people to really go far.
The various opportunities are out there but first find out what you are most passionate about and research careers in that industry where you can start to create your business from. Always remember to start your business for the passion not the pay cheque. The passion will always keep you going during the times the money may not be there.
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