Adenike Ogunlesi Biography, Career, Education, Family and Awards

Adenike Ogunlesi biography

Adenike Ogunlesi is a Nigerian fashion entrepreneur, a leading designer, manufacturer, and retailer of designer children’s clothing and currently she’s one of the billionaires featuring in Africa Magic TV show “Lion’s Den”.


Adenike Ogunlesi

She is a force to reckon with in the children’s fashion industry in west Africa. Adenike Ogunlesi is the proud founder and creative director of Ruff ‘n’ Tumble, one of the best manufacturers of children’s clothing in Nigeria. Nike is one of those entrepreneurs whose success story brings hope and encouragement to young Nigerians and Africa as a whole.

Adenike Ogunlesi was born by a Scottish mother on July 14th, 1959. She grew up in a polygamous home in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State. Her father was a medical doctor while her mother, Elizabeth Okuboyejo was a fashion entrepreneur.

Nike had her secondary school education in Ibadan, Oyo State before proceeding to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria to study law. While in her second year, she opted-out of school because she realised Law was not for her and later joined her mum in her small tailoring business. Of course Adenike had undergone some executive training courses at Lagos Business School.

She is married to Adegbola Ogunlesi, an industrialist in the beauty industry and co-founder of men’s fashion label, Sofisticat. They are blessed with three children. One of her children, Adey Ogunlesi is a Nigerian music producer and singer.

Adenike Ogunlesi Career

Adenike Ogunlesi, Africa’s foremost fashion entrepreneur who is redefining and blazing the trail in the children’s fashion industry with over 35 years of experience in the Fashion and Retail Business, is the founder and Creative Director of Africa’s leading Premium children’s clothing brand- Ruff ‘n’ Tumble; sharing happiness to over a million children and families across the globe, because she dared to dream and pursue her vision fearlessly.

An entrepreneur passionate about quality, excellence and service; she started the Ruff ‘n’ Tumble brand from the boot of her car in 1998, with a man-power of less than 20 people.
Today she has built a reputable Pan-African brand, operating to international standards with over 300 employees, 17 retail outlets, an online presence and expansion plans across the African continent and the international community.

A dynamic and phenomenal woman, her quest for innovation and redefining what’s possible on her own terms gave birth to the creation of Gatimo Apparel manufacturing, a state of the art garment manufacturing facility with the capacity to contract manufacture high quality garments to global standards.

A passionate speaker and an advocate for a more equitable society; Adenike advocates women owning their greatness by believing in the truest expression of themselves and being financially independent.

Adenike’s calling and desire for the development and growth of people led to the birth the Betti-Okuboyejo Foundation- a garment making training facility which has graduated over 200 youths; empowering them with skills in garment making & entrepreneurship. She also founded the ‘I Share Cuz I Care’ Foundation by Ruff ‘n’ Tumble; a community which promotes sharing and caring among children and has impacted thousands of children through the feed a child campaign and the dress a child campaign – where brand new school uniforms and shoes are given to pupils in various schools within our local communities.

Adenike Ogunlesi Ruff ‘n’ Tumble brand

True entrepreneurs always have humble beginnings. When Adenike Ogunlesi started, she used to sell the clothes from the boot of her car, at bazaars, local markets and was always quick to show her designs to people. Sales increased consistently and as a result, she expanded by hiring more tailors to meet the increasing demand.

Afterward, she opened her flagship store at Ikeja GRA in 2000 and enrolled in Lagos Business School to enhance her business knowledge.

Today, Nike has grown her clothing line into a national brand that is highly respected and recognised on the instant. Her company is one of the most successful and innovative children’s clothing company in Nigeria.

Ruff ‘n’ Tumble presently operates a warehouse, a factory and has many retail outlets in major cities in Nigeria as well as several distributors around the West African Coast. The retail outlets cities in Nigeria are Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ilorin and Kano.

Adenike Ogunlesi widened her revenue model with the introduction of newer brands, Trendsetters, and NaijaBoysz. These brands were introduced to cater to the unique fashion sense of today’s young adults.

Adenike Ogunlesi Education

An alumnus of the prestigious Lagos Business School; Adenike is a Non-Executive Director at Lafarge Holcim Plc and the founding member and first president of the Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW) at the Nigeria Employer’s Consultative Association (NECA). She is also an advisory board member and mentor at WISCAR (Women in Successful Careers) a structured mentoring programme for young women and the Coordinator of The Marriage & Family Life Unit at the Catholic Church of the Presentation.

Adenike Ogunlesi Family Life

Adenike is happily married to Adegbola Ogunlesi and they are blessed with 3 children.

Adenike Ogunlesi Hobbies

Aside from her dedication to building a global business, she loves to read, dance, yoga and garden.


Adenike Ogunlesi founded Betti- O foundation; Betti- O School Fashion in memory of her late mother, Betti Okuboyebo. The foundation is a non-profit organisation aimed to train young individuals in the art of fashion design, soft skills and entrepreneurial skills. Betti-O foundation is an affiliate of Ruff ‘n’ Tumble.

Betti-O foundation has empowered many Nigerian women to make something out of nothing and start their entrepreneurial journey with as little funds as they can afford.

Early this year, they partnered with Lagos State Ministry for Wealth Creation and Employment to train 50 youths in fashion designing and garment making for 6 months.

She also founded ‘I Share Cuz I Care’ foundation in 2014. The non-governmental organisation educates and empowers children.  They also promote empathy and improves access to quality education especially for children living on the street and orphans. One of their projects is donating white boards to public schools.

I Share Cuz I Care has carried out various events to nurture Nigerian children with themes such as Dress a Child, Love Lives Here and Feed a Child.

Adenike Ogunlesi Recognition and Awards

  • Female Achiever in Children’s Fashion at City People Awards                                                          2001
  • Fate Model Entrepreneur Award at the FATE Foundation                                                                 2005
  • Female Game Changer in Children’s Fashion at the Glam Awards                                                    2014
  • Creativity and Excellence at Nigeria Entrepreneur Awards                                                               2014
  • Diamond Woman at Diamond Band Awards                                                                                    2014
  • Business Woman of the Year at CNBC Africa                                                                                   2014.


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