I first stumbled on Sisi Yemmie when she won the Big Fat Nigerian Wedding. I think we may have been planning our wedding at around the same time, so I thought how lucky she must be that she got a practically free wedding. I think I may have considered entering for the competition - but of course Tee & I were way too shy. I remember this, because some people had said that her blog had given her such a wide readership that her readers definitely voted for her and helped her win. That was most likely the first time I subconsciously realised the power of a blog.
But it wasn't until pretty recently when I started blogging, that I knew how much she had achieved.
I remember being inspired by her growth after I dug deep into her archive to read her very first posts! Growth was clearly visible. I tweeted at her that I'd read her old posts, and she responded saying she often contemplated deleting the older posts, but left them in there so she could see very clearly how far she'd come.
When I just joined Twitter, I also remember wondering if she was a superwoman. Her blog tweets seemed to be all over my timeline! Later I realised she was probably using a scheduling software.
But still, we can't deny the inspiration that SisiYemmie is, particularly to the Nigerian Blogging & social media community. For the past six years, she has consistently kept at it, growing a brand and a huge fan base. Now as a full time blogger, she's constantly working with global brands and producing engaging content for her almost 50,000 YouTube subscribers. Needless to say her subscribers often eagerly look forward to her weekly vlogs on her Life in Lagos.
We talk blogging, marriage, being Tito's mummy & everything in between. She tells us her dream destination, how her & husband Bobo make up and the number of YouTube subscribers she'd love to have tomorrow!
What's the story behind your name 'Sisi Yemmie'?
- My husband and I sat down to coin that name. We were looking for a name that would best describe me at the time, and we wanted something very relatable.
Why did you decide to start Vlogging? Do you think video is the future?
- I decided to start vlogging because I thought it would be interesting to engage with my readers via video. I think video is not just the future, it is the present! It is more engaging and my viewership has multiplied in the short while I have been consistent churning out videos.
What three things do you think one needs to start a blog and vlog.
- Passion for it, Creativity to express yourself and hard work.
For a blogger who wishes to work with brands, what two pieces of advice will you give on how to start?
- You have to build your brand and other brands would come calling. I got that advice when I started blogging and it has worked for me. I focus on building my blog, till it could no longer be ignored.
There's always room for improvement. What ways do you think you could improve your blog or vlog?
- For my vlog it would be my equipment; to make sure my audio is clear. I struggle with that a lot especially since generator (needed to supply electricity) noise will not allow me film in peace. For my blog it would be organisation.
One advice for people who are looking to quit their job & go full time on their own thing?
- Make sure you start that thing on the side before quitting if you can. I did that for many years. I worked 9-5 while worked hard on my blog. By my sixth year blogging I could afford to blog full time. For some businesses you don't have to wait that long to know if it will be profitable. Make sure you always have a source of income.
If you could wake up to a certain number of subscribers, tell us the number would you like.
- I'd like 1 million subscribers!
What has been your most rewarding and disappointing blogging experience?
- My most rewarding every time is when I get love mail from my readers or meet them in person, they are always appreciative of all I do. Disappointment only comes when people who don't understand what I do try to judge me... they usually get it by the end of the day though.
You have a masters degree from the University of Birmingham in the UK. What was your toughest challenge while in the UK, and do you think that degree has been of any benefit to you today?
- The toughest challenge for me was learning to be independent. I used to rely on my parents for everything but living in the UK made me grow up quickly. It's interesting how my degrees have been beneficial. I studied mass communication for my BSc and International Diplomacy for my Masters. Vlogging, blogging is mass communication... social activism and advocacy is a part of diplomacy. It has been very beneficial.
You share so many literally mouth watering recipes - where did you learn to cook & if you had to be something other than a blogger or a chef, what would you do?
- I learnt how to cook by watching my mother cook, by watching some of my friends, asking about recipes when I go to the local market and practising myself to know what tastes good. If I could be anything other than a blogger I would be a singer - if I had the talent.
What's the most difficult part of being a mum?
- Juggling everything and trying to find a balance. It is very hard, you can only take it one day at a time.
What thoughts were running through your mind during labour?
- 'So this is how women die during childbirth'. I did not have a nice experience, I blogged about it. It did not go according to my plan but I am glad I am alive to tell the tale.
What's the last thing Tito did you found hilariously funny?
- He tried to bribe me by calling me "ma ma"...he would do it anytime he was up to mischief. He kept calling me to see my reaction, cheeky boy!
Left to you, what profession would you like Tito to be?
- In these times I have seen professionals of all sorts become very successful; from musicians, to chefs and actors... any career that would give value, fill his pockets and make Tito fulfilled is what I would like to see him do.
One thing that made you fall in love with Bobo and one thing you'd change in him if possible?
- He's very knowledgeable about a lot of different subjects! I don't think I'll change anything about him.
When Bobo is mad at you. What's your secret to making him smile?
- We make up by eating a good meal together.
If you could donate all of your money in support of one charity or cause, which will it be?
- It would be to children... motherless children, or underprivileged children. They need a lot of love and care.
You've been on sponsored trips to South Africa in the past year. What's your dream vacation spot & what three things will you take with you?
- My Dream vacation spot would probably be Thailand, because I enjoy Thai Food and I have seen beautiful photos. I would take my camera, my phone and money.
What three women (non-bloggers) inspire you and why?
- My mother inspires me; she's ever positive and reminds me to work hard. Oprah inspires me, I have followed some of her journey over the years and it is inspiring to see the boundaries she broke. Joyce Meyer inspires me; she shares the word of God in a way that is very applicable to our daily lives.
On days you're tempted to give up, what do you think of that keeps you going?
- I remember where I started from and the vision I have for my life, it keeps me going thinking about the bigger picture.
Isn't her reason for not giving up just everything. It's amazing when you can see where you've come from and where you hope to get to!
And you know I just had to ask that first question about her name - because I start all the interviews in this series with a name question! Sisi is basically used to denote a young woman and I remember the MC at our wedding, said to me "you're no longer a Sisi, you're now a Madam". My response "No, thanks I'm still a Sisi"
And I love that final photo of her and Ozoz (Kitchen Butterfly)- amazing chef & food blogger doing great things with Nigerian food who we've also interviewed!
Hope you enjoyed this. Share your thoughts!
pS: I'm a huge fan of Thai food too! And I always remember when my frolleague told me it's pronounced 'Tai' not 'Thai'? Good times.
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