What was the inspiration behind your brand?
Folasadé: Unskrypted started as a response to my experience in the news. The Trayvon Martin verdict had just happened and while everyone was highlighting Arizona cans and Skittles I couldn’t get over the way the story was being treated in the media. I left because I was a new mom and wanted to figure out how to share narratives and defend our community better. That made me understand the correlation between the brands we buy and use and the media we consume. I would make commercials for businesses and learn their stories while also working with creatives who needed more access to capital and products and found a unique lane to bridge the two together where we can make our own authentic content while finding a way to recirculate the Black dollar.
What makes Unskrypted unique?
Folasadé: Unskrypted is unique because everyone wants to sell items now, especially to the Black community, but no one has done it right. We don’t just have content for people to watch that’s uplifting, we also have an interactive feature where the audience can talk during the shows, buy products they see, and connect with the hosts and creators. We found a way to bring TV, social media and shopping all in one place.
Do you believe in work-life balance? If so, how do you maintain it?
Folasadé: NO, I do not believe in work-life balance I believe in harmony. Have you ever listened to a choir where the sopranos are carrying a note and then the tenors come in and then the altos? I feel that way with work and life, some days I have to be more of a mom, other days I have to be more of a boss, but all days I am a mom and a boss, but this song just might not have as much alto- work as other songs and maybe some songs are solos just for tenor- life. I maintain this harmony by having other people be a part of the song. I have an amazing team for unskrypted that play certain roles that I can not and I have a great family that helps me to step in and fill spaces when I am void. I think this breakdown is essential to success.
What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?
Folasadé: “You can do ANYTHING, but you can not do everything,” I say it all the time and sometimes even as a reminder to myself. But when we do too much we can do it all great but when we do what we can and bring in others who do great at something else, we build foundations and relationships that can grow beyond your wildest dream.
Who is your business role model? Why?
Folasadé: My business role model is none other than Sheila Johnson. Not only do we share the birthday Jan 25th exactly 50 years apart but she was the mastermind behind BET. I would watch BET and study it growing up, practicing the day I would be a correspondent. I grew to know that the behind-the-scenes was better for me because there was a power there to help share stories that better our community. I thought BET was brilliant but watching her become owner of the Salamander Resort, the Mystics, and the Monumental Sports company proved how dynamic she really is. I can not wait to continue to build out like her and truly love how she has grown since BET. She doesn’t know it yet, but I’m her protege.
What do you have planned for the next six months?
Folasade’: We are launching The BAG right now from 11/19-12/31 and in January recording for the next season which will air during Black History Month, and in February we are going to Brazil for the festival of the diaspora where we will record an international episode of The BAG. We then hope to onboard more shoppable shows, and events and put together an awards show and fashion show to air that following Spring or Fall.
What would attract listeners to your story?
Folasade’: I am relentless, I have heard so many nos and found a way to do it myself. I have done everything from Instacart to Lyft while building this business and even losing a 9-5 during the pandemic. I am a single mom, looking for love but more focused on my business and legacy for my son, I am a princess in Ilesha, Nigeria who doesn’t know how to speak my own native language and has only been to Africa once. I have made it a mission to not only redefine the way the Black community sees itself on TV in the US but globally, especially in Africa.
Outside of all of that, I think the story of this network is powerful. I took an idea from years ago and allowed it to grow until it was real enough for people to understand it and believe it, real enough for people to finally experience it and this is just a sliver of the dream.
What is your proudest business accomplishment?
Folasade’: My proudest business accomplishment right now is finishing the production for The BAG. I was in the middle of fundraising, and it wasn’t going as planned. I stopped and readjusted with my team that we should just produce the show and they agreed. I put out an ask for a host on Sept 1st and we had selected hosts by 9/12 and shot our first episode by 9/17. We learned and redeveloped together and now we are launching this thing that no one has ever seen to this extent before.
Photo Credits: Photo Provided