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How This Entrepreneur Bounced Back From 136 Rejections To Build Italian-Made Luxury Travel Bags

lola banjo
lola banjo


Lola Banjo refers to herself as a “global citizen,” a moniker inspired by her love of travel. She has visited over 100 countries and is still traveling. She discovered how difficult it was to locate decent and affordable travel bags as she went throughout the world.

After noticing a gap in the market, she decided to launch Silver & Riley, a luxury Italian-made handbag and travel accessories business. Banjo, a “dreamer and a doer,” takes satisfaction in recognizing possibilities in everything.

She was raised by business owners. Her mother ran various enterprises, including a kerosene station, a jewelry store, a tailoring shop, and a school. As a result, it appeared to have cemented her fate to become an entrepreneur herself.

She realized then that she wanted to build a consumer brand. However, the journey was anything but simple. Life took various turns for her as she honed, saved for, and planned for her brand.


According to her, Silver & Riley was born after years of market research. “The brand produces luxury timeless accessories that combine style with function while not breaking the bank,” she told Style Rave.

Silver & Riley is Banjo’s side business. She works full-time as a Corporate Strategy Executive at Salesforce, one of the world’s leading technology companies. According to Style Rave, she is part of a small team of leaders, strategists, design thinkers, and innovators who advise and partner with client organizations’ C-Suites on business strategy.

“This follows years of experience as a Strategy Consulting Executive at Deloitte and Accenture,” she explained. Estee Lauder, Kellogg’s, and Coca-Cola are among her previous clients. Bacardi, Hostess, CVS, Best Buy, and Bank of America are among the others.

Banjo manufactures her bags in Italy. She visits the factories where her bags are manufactured once a month to guarantee quality. Silver & Riley takes pride in being one of the industry’s best Black and travel accessories lines. Banjo, who is of Nigerian descent, is a writer and photographer in addition to her day job.

The native New Yorker holds a BS in Materials Engineering and Mathematics from Rutgers University, an MS in Financial Engineering from NYU, and an MBA in Strategy, Finance, and Decision Sciences from Emory University.

She also studied at business schools around the world, including (FGV) Rio (Brazil), (WHU) Koblenz (Germany) and (RSM), Erasmus (Netherlands). In addition, she studied at The London School of Economics, and (SDA) Bocconi (Italy).

Banjo’s brand was rejected by 136 manufacturers because her purchase quantities were too low owing to her self-funding. “As discouraging as it can be, I persisted and eventually found two people to work with me,” she said.

Her brand now stands out among her competition because it assists female entrepreneurs in launching, growing, and scaling their enterprises. She intends to fully develop her Women Entrepreneurship Fund and award awards ranging from $10,000 to 20,000.


Written by How Africa News

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