BY Abu Mubarik, 1:30pm June 21, 2024,

This one piece of advice from Warren Buffett inspired this Nigerian to start a million-dollar brand

Lola Banjo and Warren Buffett. Photo: Lola Banjo/Markets Insider

Lola Banjo is behind Silver & Riley, a luxury Italian-made handbag and travel accessory line she founded after realizing a gap in the market. Silver & Riley prides itself on being one of the premiere Black and travel accessory lines in the industry. 

The Black entrepreneur makes her bags in Italy, where she travels there once a month to visit the factories where her bags are produced to ensure quality. She first started the bag business as a side hustle while keeping a 9-to-5 job.

Banjo, who has Nigerian heritage and is a writer and an avid photographer, said her bag brand was influenced by her love for traveling which earned her the nickname “Global citizen.” She has traveled to over 100 countries and counting. As she traveled across the world, she realized how difficult it was for her to find quality and affordable travel bags, she said.

Raised by entrepreneurial parents, it wasn’t surprising that she ended up as an entrepreneur. Her mother owned several businesses, including a kerosene shop, a jewelry trading business, a tailoring business, and a school.

Banjo knew she wanted to create a consumer brand. However, the journey was anything but straightforward. Life took her through several twists and turns as she refined, saved up 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.

Prior to starting her bag business, she wanted to be CFO of BMW. That was before she met Warren Buffett, who inspired her to start her own enterprise. Banjo met the investor and Berkshire Hathaway CEO while studying for an MBA from Emory University between 2009 and 2011, according to Markets Insider. The platform said Banjo entered a competition where the prize was meeting Buffett. Banjo won the competition and met the business leader.

According to her, the American business mogul inspired her to think bigger instead of just aspiring to be the CFO of BMW. Buffett told Banjo, “Instead of just aspiring to be CFO of BMW, from the little I know about you, why not aspire to own BMW?”

And according to Banjo, that was the defining moment of her life. “That was one of the most monumental things anyone has ever said to me,” Banjo said. “It’s hard to quantify what impact that whole conversation has had on my life,” she said, adding that it “put the battery in my back about wanting to create a global enterprise.”

Today, Banjo runs her bag brand as a full-time business after quitting her job as vice president at Salesforce. This also comes after years as a Strategy Consulting Executive at Deloitte and Accenture.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: June 21, 2024

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