PYT NOTES: TTYA Talks by Irene Agbontaen


PYT NOTES: TTYA Talks by Irene Agbontaen

An audience with 4 career girls speaking about backgrounds, backbones, BOSSIN' IT and balance all whilst running their own businesses.
TTYA Talks: Shoreditch House


TTYA Talks encourages women from all walks of life, amazonian or not, to share their truths, start their own entrepreneurial journeys and STAND TALL. 



How did you get into the industry/job that you’re in?

IRENE (Founder of TTYA):

I was shooting 85 looks a day for ASOS, then I got used to the money but knew that I wanted to take the plunge. I also knew that I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing. Travelling gave the escape from a 9-5 and once I had broken the cycle of that routine I realised that I could actually work for myself – Now I have TTYA.

ADE (Founder of Nubian Skin):

I had the idea to start Nubian Skin a few years ago but was very much tied to my well paid corporate job. Then one day, I got the idea to start Nubian Skin and from that day I couldn’t sleep at night and had to keep a notepad by my bed. I constantly had ideas in my head about the business and had to keep writing them down.

I set up an Instagram account and was excited to get 100 followers, the page then went from 100 followers to 20’000 in 4 weeks before the company had even launched! Newspapers were emailing, Oprah’s magazine even emailed!

DONNA (Founder of Donna Management):

I decided not to go to Uni and got a job as an assistant to Elle Macpherson. You don’t have to go to Uni to be successful. I worked hard day and night in that role and stayed there for 8 years, but that was never my plan. Throughout that time I learnt so much and realised that my skills were transferable, so I went into management in the deep end by starting my own company. Luckily enough, Elle was my first client, she was a huge blessing.

TWIGS (Singer, Songwriter and Producer):

I grew up in an area where I never felt like I fit in being the only mixed race girl in my school. I was awarded a scholarship to go to a very good school, moved to London (Croydon) with my Mum but slightly lost my way. I went onto doing the usual round of jobs such as retail, bar work etc. After some time I really had to collect my thoughts and realised that I was sitting on a dance qualification that wasn’t being used. So found my way onto the music scene, started hanging out in studios with Stylo G etc. and fully got back into music.

From left to right: Ade, FKA Twigs, Irene, Donna


On your journey to success, do you feel you had friends who were a blessing to you or some blessing blockers?


I feel like I’ve got the power to be both to myself.

During the first few years of my career I didn’t make enough time for friends, I constantly looked ahead, looking towards the next step. Then, I slowed in all down in December when I realised that I wasn’t appreciating myself.


What does it mean to be a boss?


I feel so little and calm, I can’t get her head around the phrase.

To me bossin’ it is doing things way I do it, on my own terms. And I’m always nice!!! Project your energy from your heart.


You’re never too big to write hand-written notes. Be nice, be personal and be sincere.


You can’t be a real boss if your friends aren’t! Ask your friends what their vision is! You could be useful to them. Have reciprocal friends – everything is an exchange

And support each other, treat your friends like the superstars that you know. Ask for what you need, ask for help from your close people.


How do you manage it all?


I sing, dance, write songs, produce and direct. “Is that a bad thing? Can I be successful in all these areas, how much is too much, will people take me serious?”

The answer is, don’t be afraid to be all the things you are! You are multi-talented. Use your talents. You can do as much as you want.

I’m perfecting my skills for the future right now because I don’t want to be wearing a black catsuit when I’m 35. So, I’m doing more now, so that I can get better at it and transition as I grow older.

It’s unnatural to ONLY be good at one thing. Take it all.


Everyday I feel like there’s something I’m failing in. I have amazing highs and depressing lows but I know it’s part of the job.


I needed so much help that I didn’t even know what I needed help with. Get your friends involved!

Follow @IreneTTYA and @TTYATalks on Instagram for info on future events


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