nike ogunlesi

With a business which employs no less than 60 people in a country where it can be very tough and challenging for businesses to survive, Adenike Ogunlesi  CEO of Ruff n Tumble proves hardwork, determination and an unrepentant zeal for business ideas is everything you need.

Once featured in the ground breaking documentary, Africa Open for Business about innovative businesses in Africa. Her business, Ruff n Tumble was heralded  as a domestic business model, the type necessary to help turn Africa’s economic situation around.

Nike has also been featured on the CNBC program Dangers and Dollars: Africa the final investing frontier anchored by Erin Burnett.

But, for Nike it wasn’t always rosy as it all started as an embarrassment in the guise of blessings.

How it all began

With a lawyer as a father figure, it was no doubt a moment of pride for her father who also being a lawyer wanted his daughter to follow in his footsteps. But it was a short lived dream for him. After just a short while at the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria Nike dropped out of school.


According to her, the legal profession wasn’t for her and at the time she really was not sure what she wanted to do with her life. Nike’s mum who owned an Afrocentric clothing business called Betty O invited her to come work for her and that was when Nike realized she enjoyed dressmaking.

The Birth Of Ruff n Tumble

With Ruff n Tumble now described as one of the most successful and innovative children apparel companies in the country, it wasn’t always like this.

It first started with Nike making dresses for her children which got people really interested and with the help of her mum and advice from her husband production started and services were later expanded to other Nigerian families with kids.


The clothing production for children from the ages of 0 to 16 gradually progressed from her house then selling from the boot of her car and finally moving to a location in Victoria Island, Lagos.

Ruff ‘n’ Tumble now operates a ware house, factory, distribution and has more than 60 employees across West Africa. The Company has about 15 branch locations across the country and also owns the brands “Trendsetters” and “NaijaBoysz, a clothing range for young boys aged 8–16.

Ruff ‘n’ Tumble has partnered with Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and Industrial Training Fund (ITF) to help reduce unemployment in the country.