Dr. Adebola Adeleye

Dr. Adebola Adeleye, also known as Dr. Nike, is the Designer and Creative Director for OYE Collection, a luxury African-Inspired modern fashion line. 

By Profession, Dr. Nike is a Doctor of Nursing Practice, and has practiced in various clinical, academic, and healthcare policy settings. Her faith in God and her love for Christ is central to who she is and everything she does. Her love for fashion, and her passion to inspire and empower Women is key to the inception of OYE Collection, a brand created to help beautify women both inside and out, with a mission to “UNLEASH THE FIERCENESS WITHIN” every woman!

What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative. 

I was born in Nigeria, where I lived a good portion of my life, before moving to the United States of America with my family at about the age of 14 years. I am the oldest child in my family, and at a young age, I saw how hard our parents worked to make ends meet and to ensure that we had what we needed. We didn’t have everything we wanted, but we had what we needed. I have always been inspired by our parent’s hard work and dedication, and that helped keep me grounded in my journey in life. Many of my values of hard work and determination to go for what I believe in, was derived from that. At a young age, I was able to set my mind on goals and do all it takes to achieve those goals, no matter how tough it is. I worked my way from being a shoes department store worker, to working as a nurse’s aid, to then pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing. From there, I got my master’s degree and then went on to obtain my Doctorate degree in Nursing. It was not an easy road. As a matter of fact, the journey was full of many challenges, but I was determined, and fortunately for me, I had my faith in God to keep me going despite the many challenges.

Was there any turning point in your life that changed your journey? If so, what was it? Please tell us the backstory behind it.

I have always had a love for fashion, but the pursuit of my fashion brand did not come until some years after my Doctorate degree in nursing, when I saw an imbalance between the awesome abilities and achievements of many women versus the feelings of self-worth or lack thereof, despite those amazing achievements. It didn’t make sense to me that women who I saw as Beautiful, Fierce, and Amazing didn’t see themselves as all that. And that was when I knew something needed to be done. The OYE Collection came about from my passion and my mission to empower women, and to see a restoration in the balance between the reality of women and what the women think about themselves and see in themselves.

Every industry that is now a large-scale, top-notch business once started as a small idea in the minds of entrepreneurs. What was that idea or motivation that made you start your business /initiative? What motivated you within to say “YES, go for it!”.

Based on the problem I identified above, I wanted to see every woman know how Beautiful, Amazing, and Fierce they are. I wanted them to see what I see in them, and I wanted to see them own it and rock it! With the beauty and boldness of the African prints that reminds me of the fierceness of a woman, and my love for fashion, and my mission to unleash the fierceness in every woman, I started the OYE Collection as a platform to carry out the mission to unleash!

Everyone has their own set of challenges when starting an entrepreneurial journey. Still, the most essential part for others to learn is how you deal with those. Would you like to share with us your challenges and your coping mechanisms?

Entrepreneurship is hands down not for the faint of heart. It is tough, it takes hard work, patience, endurance, perseverance, and many other qualities. It is sometimes a lonely process, as you pour out your time, efforts and resources to build something that you believe in, and it often takes others time to see, understand, and value what you offer. Often when I feel frustration and discouragement setting in, I turn to my faith in God to keep me going, and I also remind myself of my “why.” My why is the reason that I am doing what I am doing. It is the motivation that got me into the entrepreneurial journey in the first place. When I remind myself of the women and girls that I am on a mission to empower, it gets me back in focus and re-energizes me to keep going and to not give up.

While the global pandemic of COVID-19 is associated primarily with adversities, it has also brought about a true boom in startups, with successful entrepreneurship in many countries. The pandemic has impacted all of us in one way or another. Would you like to share your experience on a personal and professional level?

I started my business only a few months before the shutdown of our world during the pandemic. Unfortunately, my excitement of starting my own business was shut down along with the world in March 2020, even before I could get a chance to officially launch my business. Thankfully, we all endured and were able to go back to whatever our new norm is now after the shutdown was lifted. Although my business was paused for a while during the pandemic, like many others, I learnt the true value of quality relationships with those we love and care about during this time. I learnt to appreciate and enjoy time with the people I love a lot more and that is still a learning I hold very dear to my heart up until now.

Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention?

As tough as running a business is, it has been quite rewarding for me. I have gotten the privilege to meet many amazing women, to share with them, empower them, and be empowered by them. I have seen many women come out of their shell and rock their OYE Collection pieces fiercely both inwardly and outwardly. I have seen women who were formally inclined to play things safe and wear dark colors begin to unleash their fierceness and embrace the boldness of OYE in their closets, and ultimately embrace the boldness within themselves. That to me is a joy to behold and it makes all the business challenges that I face worthwhile!

Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?

The change I would love to see in the world is women embracing the beauty inside of them and unleashing the fierceness within them, and I would love to see that happening very early in our girls and taking that beauty and boldness with them into adulthood.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your personal life and professional journey? What is your personal motto in life?

I have learnt that life is a journey, and we must learn to embrace and appreciate every step of the journey, whether in our professional journey, our entrepreneurial journey, or our life journey. Nothing great comes easy or overnight. It takes time, effort, hard work, and determination, and many others, and we must be ready to give it all it takes to be who we want to be.

Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women’s leadership today?

I believe women have the fierceness of a leader in them. Women are extremely resourceful and come to make many great things out of nothing. I believe there is no limit to what a woman can achieve, if they know who they are and the capabilities that are innate within them. This is the ultimate goal of OYE Collection, to see the fierceness of every woman unleashed and to see every woman live to the fullness of their capabilities and own it!

With your grit and determination, you are making a considerable impact, breaking through, and serving as role models for many budding entrepreneurs. What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?

There is absolutely no limit to who you can become, what you can do, and what you can accomplish. You already have the fierceness inside of you, you need to know it, own it, be it, and unleash it! And I always believe that with the help of God, nothing is impossible!