Chika’s

How using freelancers enabled me to speed up hiring processes
Chika started her traditional African snacks business 5 years ago with a mission to do good. During that time she’s turned down investment from Dragon’s Den and grown her business consistently. She’s achieved all of this while also donating money from every item sold to empowering young girls’ education in Africa. Find out how PeoplePerHour has helped her achieve this.

Snapshot

  • Industry: Food & Beverage
  • PeoplePerHour member since: 2015
  • Number of projects worked on: 66
  • Number of freelancers worked with: 28
  • Skills used: Social Media, Web Development, Graphic Design, Admin, Legal

“I love PeoplePerHour because it’s easy to use and the quality of freelancers is better than other marketplaces.”

Tell us a little bit about your background

I’m from a big family and I’m the youngest of 7 siblings. I was born in the UK but moved to Nigeria at birth to become familiar with my roots and heritage. I really loved my time in Nigeria as I had lots of freedom climbing trees and picking fresh fruits. However, when I was 6 my parents decided I should come back to the UK to study for a strong education.

What inspired your idea to start Chika’s?

After going into banking following university, I had started to donate to help pay for girls’ education in Africa. But I decided that I wanted to do something bigger that was championing girls education, whilst also being a present mum at the same time. That’s where the idea to start a business that had the drive to do good came from.

The idea for Chika’s itself came after I hosted a few art events at home, where I would make traditional African canapes. I realised that it didn’t make sense that you couldn’t get these types of snacks in bars, pubs or supermarkets. I made the decision to set up the business and use Chika’s as a placeholder name as I didn’t really want my name to be the brand. But after speaking to many friends, they convinced me that it was a great name for the business, so I decided to stick with it. We’ve been running for 5 years now and 1p from every pack goes towards helping and empowering girls’ education in Africa.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in business?

Always remain resilient. I’ve had so many curve balls thrown at me along the way to test my ability to be agile. You can’t be married to one course.

Before lockdown 98% of our business was offline, and we lost 40% of business as a result. However, we set up our website and now our ecommerce has grown by 800% which saved us. We’re now keen to be much more digital and have a very strong online presence. Thankfully, this meant we were better prepared for the second lockdown because of online growth from using a developer through PeoplePerHour.

What would be your one piece of advice to someone starting a business for the first time?

GOWI – Get On With It. I didn’t spend forever detailing everything meticulously, I just started the business and began figuring it out. Focus on building momentum rather than thinking about every last detail, the worst thing to do is lose momentum as it stops your project getting off the ground.

How was the experience of going on the TV programme Dragon’s Den?

I really enjoyed meeting them all, they were lovely. Although I was offered investment, I decided to walk away in the end because our vision wasn’t aligned. For me it has always been about more than just making as much money as possible. It’s too important that Chika’s is a force for good that reflects African culture, love of food and creating change. It was still a great experience though.

What are the main services that you come to PeoplePerHour for?

Anything that we don’t need a full-time member of staff for really. We’ve used PeoplePerHour for projects from legal, design, admin, development or even personal projects for myself.

How has PeoplePerHour helped your business?

It’s helped us by being able to access support that is cheaper than hiring a full-time person or a consultant. We can post a project and shortlist freelancers much quicker than any other hiring process. I’ve also found customer support to be very helpful.

What advice would you give to other buyers using PeoplePerHour for the first time?

Be clear in your description of what you want to achieve. Be open-minded and ask direct questions to single out the right freelancers for you. Ask for a sample of work before starting work.

What’s your favourite thing about PeoplePerHour?

I love the flexibility of it, you can dial in and dial out whenever you need.

Chika Russell
Chika's
Chika's pro tip
Be open-minded and ask direct questions to single out the right freelancers for you.

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