I had the pleasure of having a chat with Lara and Dapo - inspiring, young entrepreneurs and the beautiful couple behind Journey two the Top.
JF: Who are you both and what you do?
Lara (L): My name is Lara, I am 22 years old and I am from London. I am a social worker by day and outside of that, I am a striving entrepreneur. I currently run two businesses, Fashion SOS and Smooch XOXO, both of which are fashion advertising accounts that I run with my sister.
Dapo (D): Hi, I’m Dapo and I am a 23 year old Accounting and Management student. Like Lara, I am also an entrepreneur and have a business called LocoKickz. LocoKickz was born almost two and a half years ago and it is a comparison site for trainers. I was actually inspired to start LocoKickz by Lara and her sister.
JF: What has been the hardest business lesson you have had to learn?
D: I have learnt a lot in my years of business so far. I knew what I wanted to do, but I was not sure how to get there. Over time, I have learnt how to manage people and ultimately manage myself. Consistency is key, perseverance is essential. I think it is important to strive towards your goal and learn from your failures. I know many successful people have, to an extent, ‘failed their way to the top’. Failing has definitely taught me a lot, the process has been difficult but exciting, to say the least!
L: So Smooch has been around for 5 years now and initially, it started off as a retail page, where we sold many items. Over time, we found that we were just no longer passionate about it. It got to a stage where we were experiencing a demand that our resources could not accommodate. Although we failed at one thing, we gained a wealth of knowledge and insight in other things. It is important to look at your failures – take a step back and see how you can progress and move forward.
JF: I love that. It is so important to evaluate the good and bad in order to progress. It is to my understanding that a significant part of both of your businesses is social media. Lara, you recently hit 100k followers on Fashion S.O.S - congratulations! What advice would you give to people looking to building up their social media following for business purposes?
L: Thank you! The main thing would be consistency. If you are passionate, be consistent.
D: 100% agree. When it comes to social media, it is important to remain consistent and actually try and be innovative. Find different ways to market yourself! Push out content and engage with your audience. Give people a reason to follow you – producing valuable content will encourage people to trust you. With regards to branding, make sure that your image quality is always top notch!
JF: As a couple, have you considered entering business together?
D: I feel like we are kind of in business together when it comes to our YouTube channel, Journey two The Top (JTTOP). We do work together and plan several things. Possibly in the future, you might see a business from the two of us!
JF: Moves me onto my next question. JTTOP, what was your reason for starting it?
L: A lot of our friends message us for advice, in relation to both business and relationship. As individuals and as a couple, we want to inspire young people and share the knowledge we have acquired. I think it is important to inspire others, particularly the younger generation. We hope that our platform will do this.
JF: Now when I came across your YouTube page, there was a scene in one of your vlogs where you explained that you were both having a bit of a rough day and decided to pray together. That scene touched me because I personally felt the raw emotion. What is your relationship with God like as a couple?
L: I always say this but at the beginning of our relationship, I wondered why God brought Dapo back into my life. I had known him since I was a teenager but when we reconnected again, I remember God telling me to commit myself to this guy. 5 years on it is amazing to see how much we have grown as a couple and also as individuals. We keep God at the centre of our relationship and when we do fall off our walk as humans, our foundation of Christ brings us back together. Without God, we would not have anything, honestly. We do our best to go to church together, study the Word together and also pray together.
D: I totally agree. When Lara and I got together, I was not in the best place however I believe that everything happens for a reason. By the grace ofGod, we are able to encourage each other with regards to our walks with God.
JF: What challenges have you faced as a couple?
L: At the beginning, as with any relationship, it can be challenging as you are still understanding and learning about each other. Giving your heart to someone is a big deal and initially, I did ask myself if I was making the right decision and as you can see, I definitely did. No relationship is smooth sailing but having a love deeply rooted in God gives us the strength to overcome.
JF: What has been your favourite experience together?
D: I would say travelling, where we are able to relax and truly spend time with each other. Our most recent trip was to Dubai and it was very inspirational - be sure to check out our vlog if you haven't already. Aside from that, honestly, being able to support each other daily is a beautiful thing that we both enjoy.
JF: In business and in your relationship, who do you both look up to?
L: I would say my mum. She is the definition of a true hustler. She came to England with my sister and one bag in her hand and now she has several properties and a business. My sister is my business partner and she inspires me in several ways and genuinely motivates me to keep going. Patricia Bright is also someone I look up to. I call her my online sister (laughs). Not only does she speak a lot of sense and produce amazing content but she also recently hit 1 million subscribers and is one of the top Black British YouTubers. How much more inspiring can you get?
D: I have a ‘online mentors’ and draw a lot of my inspiration from people like Erich Thomas, Les Brown & Gary V, with regards to relationship inspiration, we both look up to Lara’s parents, who have set an amazing example for us both.
JF: You both mentioned a few online sensations, do you have any book or podcast recommendations?
D: I listen to a lot of podcasts and would recommend Eric Thomas - Secret to Success and Thank God it’s Monday. Brian Tracy has some amazing videos online too. Two books I would recommend are “Think and Grow Rich” and “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”.
L: Spiritually, I would recommend Steven Furtick, such an amazing minister!
JF: Great, so what business and relationship advice would you like to share with readers?
D: In terms of business, just do it. A lot of people talk and end up procrastinating. It is good to talk and plan but that is all void if it is not backed up with action. If you are dating, I would say find someone that understands you and tries to make you better.
L: I agree with all the points that Daps has made. Business is interesting because if you are thinking of an idea, somebody is already doing it. It is up to you to put your own personal touch on it. Do not procrastinate, get started today! Separate yourself from negativity because reality is, not everyone wants you to win. It is important to surround yourself with like-minded people! With regards to relationships, take your time – there is no real rush, you will know when the right person comes along and fits you perfectly!
I am so glad I stumbled across Lara and Dapo’s YouTube channel. They are both inspirational young people with a love that they are ready to share with the world. The transparency they display in their videos is what makes them so relatable. Make sure you subscribe to their channel and also follow all of their social media pages!