1,000,000 views on a YouTube video!! That does not come easy but she has done it.
Hey guys, I have the second series of people of Kaduna. The odds seem to be in my favour as Chinwe came to me. I mean this literally. I was typing out a mail to her when she walked in the shared workspace where I work from – CoLab (you should definitely check it out.)
For some of the ladies (and men), you may know her. If you don’t, you’re about to find out. I tried to make our conversation look a little serious so you’ll see comments like “laughs heartily” and “kisses baby” in parentheses.
Who is Chinwe Juliet?
Chinwe is a content creator and popularly known for her natural hair blog – Igbo Curls and YouTube Channel. She also has a small business that sells wholesale and retail coconut oil, natural hair products and gets involved in other family businesses.
Igbo Curls hmm, how did you choose this name?
At the time, there was nothing like it and I chose it because it was unique. It is a name that you hear and you’re like “what?” (laughs). I also wanted to associate myself with Nigeria is someway without using “Nigeria” in my name.There was naturalnigerian, thisnigerian etc and I didn’t want to put Nigeria in my name.
The curls, obviously my hair. I did not want to put “Igbo Natural Hair” because that would be sooo lame (laughs heartily). So that’s how I got Igbo curls because it rolls of the tongue nicely, but people over the years tend to attach it to my tribe and I am like, there is nothing about it that has to do with tribe. I was discouraged more than once to change it but I told myself no and I stuck to my guns.
How long have you been creating content and when did you start?
This should be the 5th year and my breakthrough year (laughs heartily). I think I started in 2014 and it wasn’t something I planned on doing. It is something that at the time, there was a lot of demand for me to put content out there based on natural hair because I kept getting questions. I thought it was the right thing to do and, this is my 7th year out of university so this should be my breakthrough year. (laughs really normal). I love the number 7.
How did you start?
I started with text and moved to video content. I built the site myself and was just learning as I go. Till now, I’m like ooohh!!! aahhh!! I didn’t even know this existed (we both laugh) because I’m constantly learning.
Do you create all video content yourself?
Yes, I do. From shooting, to editing and scriptwriting. (wawu – superwoman here). I recently got someone to do my videos for me because of my new mummy responsibility.
Where were you when you started?
I started here in Kaduna. I was not in the university actually when I started. So, I started here and it was something I did fulltime at the time. I was writing, posting and learning as I go as I couldn’t really find relatable people to learn from. Everyone was obviously white in the blogosphere and if you were Nigerian, you were doing gossip or you were doing news. So, there wasn’t anything specialised on lifestyle or particular niche subject.
Have you lived in Kaduna all your Life?
I was born here so my family is based here but I have not necessarily lived here all my life. I was living here till secondary school when I moved to Kwara, then came back to complete my education at Essence International Secondary School. I moved to study in the UK and then came back. So this is the longest I have lived in Kaduna (7 years).
What did you study?
Totally random. I studied economics and international relations at the University of Sussex. I have never worked in the field though.
How did your folks take that?
They always said “Ke ihi na’ipi na laptop a?” (loosely translates to what are you always pressing on that laptop?). There was not much of an understanding and at that time, I actually didn’t know I could make money from it, so it was really really a hobby and it has just progressed and I have definitely come a long way.
For natural hair and creating content, do you think there are limitations working from here?
Sure. Sure. (kisses her baby) There are a lot of limitations working from here. For instance, I was in Lagos in February and there is just so much difference with the people, the knowledge, with everything. There is just an accommodation of the kind of work that I do that fits in better there so it is not surprising that they get more of the deals than we do up here.
However, it depends. With my experience, if a company wants to work with you, they want to work with you no matter where you live. And they come to you because they know you are the one for them. Obviously, it removes the general company from contacting you but specific ones do reach out.
Asides location, do you have any other challenges with creating content in Kaduna
It is not just popular in Kaduna. It is not well-known. Funny thing, I had to make a speech in front of a graduating class in primary 6 last year and they were quite surprised as they were like “what do you do for a living?” and I said “I was a blogger”. They then asked, “How do you make money from it?” because that is always the question that follows and I had to explain to the principal that this is what I do and I do get paid and it is something you can actually make a living from it.
How do you think you can grow in Kaduna?
Luckily, Kaduna is not so rigid in terms of lifestyle so that means that there is room for that to grow.
Things can blow up as long as you have the internet so it really does not matter where you live. I really think that there are untapped opportunities here even though Kaduna is unfortunately currently known for its tragedies more than its victories.
I can see your baby so, how is motherhood?
It is not easy having a baby and being a mum. There’s just things that are not spoken about a lot. There is soo much that is coded and it is something I hope I get to a point where I can speak about. Before you get a child, you need to know certain things. There are things women need to know about their bodies, their work or careers, things might have to stop. Priorities change. Like I had a challenge finding a space that was convenient for both me, my baby, that wasn’t too noisy, that was breastfeeding friendly, these are the things that you need to check.
Is there a support community you are a part of?
No actually, I have only met two new mums since the time I’ve given birth.
Do you do workshops and trainings for persons?
Actually, that’s something I want to do a lot more of this year because people ask, “how come they have not heard me do anything? Why don’t I go for shows? And I say, I do go for shows just not all. Most of them do not want to pay you but want you to come along and these things cost money. Flight tickets alone and accomodation costs over 100k and now I have a child, I need to prioritise and plan.
I am planning on doing somethings this year and I feel It is the right time because I always said I would know when it is the right time and I do feel that it is the right time.
Any last words or tips to bloggers or companies working with bloggers in the north?
They should give us a try and shouldn’t judge people based on a city we live especially since we are in the north of Nigeria. The following is genuine and a good engagement rate which is
What do you think about the government and this new field?
I think the government can come in to encourage the tech hubs generally because the internet is not going anywhere. Whether we like it or not, people’s opinions even though irrelevant become relevant at some point and they start shaping mindsets without your knowledge. It gets into you subliminally and you start speaking like them.
It is important that the governement utilises those who are already into content creation to publicise whatever they need to do and it can go on from there, you never know.
How do bloggers earn?
With blogging, it is a labour of love for a long time. A long time varies depending on the subject you’re speaking on because some subjects are way more popular than others and some attract an audience faster than others so it really depends. But if you do look into making money from adsense, which is google adsense, it is a kobo kobo thing except if you have high traffic, then you can make something that can sustain you for a little while.
Majorly, the money comes from collaboration with brands. YouTube could pay but it also depends on the number of views you get. Affiliates is another means though, I personally do not like it. Its just me as it has never been my way to make money. Another way to make money is through your own branding, your own product.
People sell books, clothes and stationery and they are able to keep up and finance themselves and earn 6 figures but it takes time. It is not overnight.
Chinwe Juliet continues to create content and share her stories on her blog. You can have a look at her YouTube Channel here.
If you’re interested in building a digital enterprise or picking up a digital skill, the Kaduna State Government, World Bank and Rockefeller Foundation have created the Click-on Kaduna Program which provides free training for 6 months. The details are here