Toyin Lawani, the serial entreprenuer, takes us through how the journey began…  


Toyin Lawani was born into the Lawani family of Ekiti State in the South West of Nigeria on the 1st of March 1982 to her father, Yisah Lawani a former commissioner of Police and her mother, Princess Atinuke Babalola, a serial entrepreneur (also royalty).

Toyin’s grandfather was Pa Elijah Are Babalola, who was the first Minister of Works in the defunct Western Region and her grandmother was Chief Justice E.A. Babalola and also the Adele Oba of Ikole Ekiti.

She attended Ebire Nursery and Primary School in Lagos and in 1992 she was admitted into the prestigious St John’s college in Lagos. Having passed the West African Examination Council, she was admitted to study English at the University of Lagos in 1998.  As a student of the University of Lagos, she also enrolled at the Opral Benson training institute, a decision that helped pin point her lifelong career path.

At the age of 16, her business career kicked off; and it began with the trading of clothes, shoes, bags, hair attachments to her fellow mates in the University.  She sold her items and wares in a boutique, located in Hall 36- of her university accommodation, but within months, the boutique expanded to include a supermarket and a hair braiding salon.

A year later, a Spa was opened along Akoka Road, in Yaba, a suburb of Lagos, and the clientele flocked towards the extraordinary seventeen-year old entrepreneur who eventually went on to study in Los Angeles School of Fashion for a Diploma Course, Exodus Hair School in india and Johnyim Fashion and Beauty Institute in Korea.

Toyin’s mum played a huge role in shaping her daughter’s pathway; from the age of 17 to her mid 20s, she introduced Toyin to a number of dealers in fabric and hair products all across the middle east and Central Asia where she mastered the art of hair processing, colouring, hair treatment, and wefting.

Many years of hard work and perseverance has earned Toyin Lawani, a business empire-Tiannahs place empire, which consists of 20 divisions -Tiannah Spa (Spa Treatments), Tiannah’s Dance Studio(choreography), Tiannnahstyling Music Video (Shoots, Directs and Styles Videos), Tiannah’s Glow (Cream and  Consultation), Tiannah’s Hair Goddess, Barbing Saloon, Nail Studio, Tiannahstyling (style outfits, Elegante Boutique, Fashion Academy, Elegante by Tiannahstyling, Elegante Kids, Amala Dot.Com, Tiannah’s Travel and tour, Tiannah’s Make up Studio, Tiannahs  Photography, Tattoo Parlour, Tiannahs Home and Furniture Company.

As a style guru, Toyin Lawani has styled the biggest magazine covers, artistes and events in Nigeria,  and her brand Tiannahstyling is a leading light in the industry.

She is also involved in a number of styling projects with top celebrities that spans across different continents from Nigeria to the United Kingdom to New York. Some of the star’s include Natalie Nunn, Kelly Rowland, Future, Wizkid, L.A.X, Dammy Krane, Ice Prince, Banky W, Pasuma, King Wasui Ayinde Marshal, 2 sec, Skales, Samklef,  Wande Coal, Terry G, May D, D Prince, Korede Bello, Emma Nyra, Victoria kimani, Tiwa Savage, Lami Philips, Mocheddah and a host of others.
Toyin’s diversity can also be seen in her ability to direct and produce music videos such as Vector’s  Shiga, Amarachi- Get Down, May D- So many tinz, Toni Tones- I know what you like, LordTrigg- Melody and Getting Dis, Wale Effect ft Reminisce- Turn on the light, L.A.X- Tungbala amongst others.

Furthermore her humanitarian side is seeing Toyin Lawani manage a Charity Organisation called I Rep For Hope, two of the beneficiaries (living with impairments) of the said charity are  Mercilin (trained in the skill of Hair Making) and Gladys (trained in the skill of Tailoring). Gladys has sewn some of the most creative outfits for celebrities.

Her Reality Tv show ‘The Enterpreneur’ will premiere this year, it chronicles her life as a mother, business woman and philanthropist but most importantly it will empower and train viewers who aspire to be entrepreneurs.

Once asked on what the big picture is; without hesitation she said “I want to change the Nigerian Fashion industry. I want my brand to be seen all over the world.”

More photos…

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