Getting To Know You: Bola Sol of The Sol Lifestyle
Fashion, feminism and finance, 25 year old Bola has created a platform for women of all ages to find inspirational and practical advice on some of the most important facets of a millennial girl’s life. Author, blogger, founder and she ain’t even done yet! Here Bola shares with us her journey into writing, the importance of having a voice and why women need to understand money better.
I initially came across Bola on the Melissa’s Wardrobe website. Together, the two had collaborated on a H&M feature promoting women’s issues but even more inspiring was the way Melissa wrote about her. To have someone speak so highly of another person, not even blood-related or cousins twice removed, touched me. So as the millennial story normally goes, I found myself on a cyber stalking trail that led me straight to Bola’s personal website. I read some of her work and was so moved by her articles that I actually found myself crying whilst reading an ode to our mothers. Fast forward a few months, I bumped into Bola at a women in business conference held by FutureGirlCorp. Tall, elegant and so beautiful, I admit that I was a little afraid to approach her. Only after a 12 hour day did I bolster up enough courage to introduce myself, which all seems silly now because Bola is so warm, comforting and supportive. You need only meet her to feel like she’s a friend or perhaps even the sister you never had. Once I found out she was a fellow Nigerian, I knew I wanted to hear more about her story, how she found herself in the blogging world and where she’s heading next.
The Journey into Blogging…
I started blogging over a year ago because there were things I wanted to say and share. I've always felt blessed to have sisters and found that those without sister figures struggled with feelings of awkwardness within their lives. Even if people do have sisters, they might not necessarily have a good relationship or really know how to have meaningful and personal conversations. I wanted to create a platform opening up to all women, so as to let them know “you’re doing OK, it’s going to be alright”. It’s really important for me to have a voice and this is one way of connecting with lots of different women on a personal level. My own blog features a mixture of topics around feminism, fashion and some finance. With feminism, it’s about supporting equal rights and the fashion is just an excuse to take some cute pictures. For Refined Currency, we focus on promoting financial wealth and wellness for the working woman. From all that, I’ve been able to create an Ebook, touching on education and making good money out of your career. I wasn’t great at school but I’ve always felt very able in the real world, so I decided to share more on those ideas. It’s short and sweet but also a reminder that we’re all humans going through different stages of life.
Out of nowhere, I can be very OTT but it’s dependant on my mood. As I get older, I’m conscious of holding on to this body and as a result my style is always evolving. I see clothes and I think I want to style this or I want this to look like that, but then I think “girl you need to move out your mama’s house”. Other times, I’m a simple dresser. My shopping has been more quality focused these days and I just prefer to have fewer clothes but more staple items. However if someone gave me £5000 - no tax or consequences - I would definitely go hard!
It has always been important to me because I’ve seen little inequalities everywhere. It started when I was young. I didn’t know what the word meant but I remember the first time I felt annoyed at gender stereotypes. That day, everyone at home was cleaning and prepping food to cook, yet I noticed my brother remained sitting down. I questioned my Mum on this but it was just assumed that the girls had to make the food, serve the food and then clear all plates too. The boys didn’t have the same expectation put on them. I understand that there was that hierarchy in the past but it’s a different time now. So, I became increasingly vocal over the years.
I was never afraid to argue with guys. Girls weren’t being vocal enough but I had no issue standing up and saying “this isn’t fair”. It’s really important to speak up, even if just for more visibility of women's issues.
There are stats suggesting that women struggle with the most debt. I want to talk about financial responsibility more - that we should be making more money for ourselves and not waiting for someone else to take care of it all. We have to start understanding our own money. These are the things that aren’t taught and spoken about enough. Even those struggling with debt shouldn’t feel ashamed to talk about their issues and seek answers to their questions. I’m very open about the fact that there was once a time where I had debt - you know, that a cheeky overdraft! It’s not something to be ashamed of, it’s something we can learn from. I want to open up the conversation on getting a financial advisor and support people to understand what is said in those kind of meetings. Basically, I’ll be the person who breaks it down without all the jargon.
I strongly believe that we shouldn’t leave the idea of investment to corporate men. Women need to learn that their savings can go even further by making investments. That should be seen as normal financial behaviour.
You could invest something like £5000 and get back £6500. It might seem small but it’s a great way to hide some of your money and secure it for the future. For most of our mothers, their only investment was in us but now we know better, let’s do better!
The Next Steps…
I’m currently in the process of doing two big things and it’s overwhelming. I’ve been writing a lot too, but there’s no need to rush these things. With the blog, I don’t stick to a schedule because I don’t do it for the money. I just want to grow my audience and I’ve also decided to bring out another Ebook. In general, I want more people to find my work.
I’d like to continue having different streams of income, different interests and start making money for myself. I definitely see Refined Currency growing and as I get more income, I’d like us to delve into the FinTech (finance and technology) world as well. The way we are all sending money is now changing, with people being able to invest from apps. I want Refined Currency to be one of those places.
For those that want to start their own venture, just start! Make the mistakes and you’ll learn. I have made so many mistakes but I’m trusting the process and the experience, so as to thrust myself into success.
I don’t care about success at a young age anymore - Viola Davis is 51 and she’s a queen!
With blogging, you’ve got to make it your own. I realised that my journey didn’t include talking about fashion or beauty, even though that’s a popular topic at the moment. As much as that stuff matters to me, it’s ok to be a different type of blogger. Also, you don’t have to make blogging a career if you don’t want to. You can use it as a catalyst for something else but don’t feel like you should be making a lot of money from it. Currently, that is what’s being projected but it makes everyone feel like they deserve something when they don’t. You have to hone the skill and then you will reap from it. Remember to make it your own and don’t have any expectations.
Bloggers… Bad Blogger! I love your tips for bloggers e.g. locations to shoot. I read Mel’s Wardrobe a lot too.
Fashion Pieces… My vintage denim shirt because I can recreate that look a million different ways. My army jacket, as it just works even if the rest of the outfit is just a bore!
Life Lessons… Be content with the calmness of your life. People love to ask “what’s new?”. Nothing is new, but I’m planning for the rest of the year. I’ve learned the beauty in just saying I’m happy right here. Be comforted by the fact that every opportunity has its time and that time is not running out.
Finance Tips… Understand your credit score, especially in relation to future investments in property, etc… Don’t solely rely on banks or advisors to understand your money. You, yourself, must understand it, as well as the effects and financial implications of your actions. Sometimes, the hardest way to learn is by making mistakes and that’s ok. You’re not going to be locked out of financial security forever but learn from those mistakes and get better!