Stephanie Njoaguani has been involved in creating, managing, and marketing several successful creative design projects across the field of design, brand identity, and digital marketing.
And as an enthusiastic, problem solver with a focus on people, her ability to see beyond trends into possibilities and strategy – along with an ability to think critically and analytically, has provided her success across several design projects.
Stephanie is the Founder of Aenov an online media company while working as Brand Ambassador for Bumble.
Hello Stephanie, can we meet you?
Stephanie Njoaguani is a creative brand designer and strategist, who has been privileged to work with brands like the procrastination paper and Refinery29. Her mission is to help creatives turn their creative passions into thriving reality through personal branding, strategy, and coaching. She shares creative resources to her Instagram community at @steph.niee and @aenov.uk
How would you define your creative process?
I’ve learned, over time – that my creative process, requires a lot of space and a lot of time. I need space to think, space to fail, and to test out ideas. Sometimes it means that I’m slow with work done but I try to let people know in advance because it’s the only way I can get my best work out. For example, If I have a client project, I need a month in advance at least, and so I let my clients know this. Sometimes I can stress about ideas while working, and this makes me need more time to recuperate. Having that time to think – is really crucial for me, and I’m grateful that at least the people I work with, more often than not tend to understand that.
What and where do you glean inspiration from?
I really get inspiration from everything. There are tons of artists online, whose work and the way that they get there, inspire me – a few of these people are @solacilike, @theideagirl, @studiobon. I see their work, try to imagine myself in the space that they’re in and I go – “can I do that?”, “can I see myself in that position?”. And if I can, then I try to think of the ways that they got there, and sort of work backwards from their success. I feel like so many people try to achieve things by the hard way – starting from scratch, when they are people out there in the places you want to be, who have left memoirs of their tracks in processes, books, and documentation. I’m always one to research, I never start a project without researching the best way to do it or advice on how to, and so I think that anyone can get anywhere, as long as you can find someone who has already done it, learn from them, and then emulate it but in your own way.
Have you ever gotten negative feedback from clients and how did you handle the feedback?
I’ve made a lot of mistakes that have garnered negative feedback from clients. There have been moments where a lack of, or poor communication, resulted in producing the wrong kind of work for a client. It’s things like this that turn into learning experiences and make you realize that with clients, you always have to make sure they understand you, and you understand them.
Have you ever lost your creative mojo? If yes, how did you get a come-back?
I do have bouts of low periods where I go feeling like I can’t do the work that I obviously can. It’s in those times where I have friends who encourage me, and I try to take myself out of the situation. Sometimes, the low creative energy comes from burnout, or just overwhelm – and I need to take that space to breathe. In these periods, my thoughts can overpower my actual creativity – and having people, or engaging myself in activities that remind me of what I actually CAN do, really helps.
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What are your go-to tools that spark your creativity?
This might sound cliche – but Instagram, is one, though it’s probably not one you want to hear. But there can be a fine balance between knowing when to go on to seek inspiration, and being careful that you don’t consume so much you’re unable to actually create – and I try to have that.
For me, I create folders for every facet of inspiration I get to keep me organized – a folder for content ideas, a folder for event inspiration, things I’d like to create, people I’d like to collaborate with. Everything. This way, I always have an archive of things to turn to, when I get an idea, need an idea, or need to be reminded of one. Like cupboards in my brain, but on Instagram.
Another one is Pinterest and I know a lot of people use this one! Pinterest is amazing, for visual mood boards, categories, and inspiration – a recurring thing here is the cupboards analogy. I like to have spaces to store different things so they’re not in my brain all the time.
Ever had impostor syndrome? How did you deal with it?
Thankfully, I’ve never gotten impostor syndrome, or at least haven’t experienced it so far, though, I know it’s definitely something a lot of creatives experience. For me, when I dream, I dream big – and I put myself in these spaces psychologically. And so I think if I’ve dreamt for so long to be here, why feel bad after my thoughts manifest? I manifested this. I deserve to be here.
What’s your biggest achievement so far?
Funny, because the biggest thing I’ve done to date actually arrived in my mail this morning – I got commissioned to design an illustration piece for The Procrastination Paper – and seeing the magazine, physically in my hands was amazingly overwhelming, but in a good way. I’ve never done my thing like that before, and I pray that better projects come my way. The last two apart from that, for me – would definitely be being featured on the @goMilkshake Instagram page, and having another feature on the @girlboss Instagram account. I’ve also been asked to hold a mastermind by a very dear friend of mine, which was absolutely amazing that she’d consider me to do that.
How do you spend your time when you are not creating?
I always try to create, no matter what I’m doing. I’m always creating – maybe that’s one of the problems, is that I tend to work too much. When I do manage to find time to rest, I try to do things that relax me. Sometimes I make cold smoothies, or I play rain sounds for hours in my room. I also like to read old books about strange people or write most of the time.
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Do you think geographical location influences your ability to create?
I think that yes it does – and I’m quite grateful to have parents who were able to support me in coming to places like this. I live a little distance away from London but can easily visit in an hour if I want. I get to meet people, creatives, photographers – and actually, I have a friend I’m actually visiting in august, who I’ve been talking to over Instagram for a while, and I can’t wait to see her. I know that not everyone is privileged to be able to, and so every day I’m grateful that I am where I am and always make sure to do the best I can with the opportunities here.
What vision did you have starting this journey? Are you still on track?
I’m definitely still on track, and I’d say that every year it gets better and better. I wanted to create something that every Creative could come to and feel like it shined a light into them and their creative abilities. I wanted them to feel inspired, empowered – and to walk into life feeling like they have the capacities and skills to bring their own creative dreams to life. And I’m so happy that in whatever small way I can, I’m slowly doing that.
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Sound On! 📣📣📣Swipe Right for some BTS 👉🏽👉🏽 and tips on how to do this edit. That time I decided to climb some tubs and photograph my favourite tub of @halotopuk Icecream! Not sponsored, but @halotopuk , maybe it could be 😉 Also, this was inspired by the very talented @swopes What do you think? ☺️😉 Edited with the @enlightphotofox app. @bazaart I still love you!! 😪😭 Video created in @inshot_app Music: Breathe Slow by @byrook1e #creativethinking #whalar #abujacreatives #abujabloggers #abujafashionbloggers #nigerianfashionbloggers #nigeriancontentcreator #everythingnaart #enatribe #adcolor #adcolorfutures #heypicsart #pinterestinspiration #contentcreator #contentcreation #socialmediacoach #socialmediaexpert #popsocket #videomarketing #instagramtips #instagramtipsandtricks
Ever dealt with gender biases in taking up new projects?
Gender biases are not something I’ve dealt with in my projects, though I know it’s something a lot of women experience. I think though, that the main reason for this might be that I work a lot with women. They reach out to me as a woman and know so in a way it’s like women supporting women businesses. I’m grateful for that.
What lessons can female creatives take from your journey?
There’s a lot of opportunities coming to creatives, these days, especially female creatives. People are realizing more and more that we are underrepresented, and are finding ways to involve us in things. Many, many things. So I’d say to every female creative out there who feels she is underrepresented; I would say, go out there, and find your opportunities, and go for as many as you can because you can only hold yourself back if you don’t try. I have had to try and ask for many things in my life, to get the opportunities I did – and I got them – so keep trying. I bet you, people are waiting for what you have to offer – and surely, someone will give it to you.
Interview conducted by Obakam Tom-George
Obakam Tom-George is a versatile creative whose work revolves around employing her skills through service in media, communication, technology, and thought leadership. She is also proficient in her ability to bring a unique perspective, drive impactful and memorable conversations thereby creating satisfying and deeply enriching experiences for her audience and her interviewee/panel. She currently runs a podcast called Blue Ribbon (anchor.fm/Blueribbonpodcast) where she talks about society, culture, lifestyle, and do-better.
Instagram – instagram.com/Obakam_
LinkedIn – Linkedin.com/in/obakamtomgeorge/