Meet Woman Who Left MTN Job to Cook Soup, Hubby Left Journalism to Sew Cloth

Meet Woman Who Left MTN Job to Cook Soup, Hubby Left Journalism to Sew Cloth

  • Itoro and husband, Emmanuel Effiong-Bright both left what will be considered by many as plum jobs to focus on what has been a side hustle for them for many years
  • The couple has made a success of their respective ventures and tell a gripping story of the journey that took them from getting regular pay cheques to proving employment for many
  • They take their two sons along on the journey where the kids are also adapting and getting to know what their parents do

When passion calls, it does not matter what type of plum job you do, you get pulled in the direction of destiny.

Itoro Effiong-Bright has an interesting story about how she moved into the telecoms industry, first as a 9mobile staff before landing a lucrative job at Africa's largest telecoms operator, MTN.

Emmanuel and Itoro Effiong-Bright
Emmanuel and Itoro Effiong-Bright Credit: Emmanuel and Itoro
Source: Original

But she did not let go of her side hustle.

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Itoro tells that she was combining cooking with her job at 9Mobile and later, MTN, which leaves her tired as she heads to work on the days she would be on duty.

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The birth of an idea

Ibomsoup, as her outfit is called, which is named after the tribe in Nigeria reputed to have the most culinary skills in the country, is now becoming a household name.

She said:

“It was not easy at the beginning because I was looking to see those who do the same thing as I do. It took me like four years before I saw someone doing what we do.”

The unusual thing about Ibomsoup, Itoro says, is that it makes life easy for busy households with a busy schedule.

The entrepreneur said

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“Imagine you coming back late from work with your wife and both of you are tired and your wife wants to head to the kitchen to prepapre a meal and you tell her, please let me order soup. Imagine the relief she would feel.”

Background experience pushes the brand

The gap-toothed and vivacious mother of two said her job as a customer relations officer in the telecoms industry is helping shape her relationship with her clients. She seamlessly relates with them which makes them question if she has a background in customer service.

“Sometimes customers will vow never to have anything to do with us again, but because of our approach, you will see them coming back to us.”

The author of ‘Make Your Food Your Medicine and the host of a cooking show on DStv, says for the fact that Nigerians order soup from them is no reason to believe they are lazy.

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“It's just convenience and time-saving for people with choked schedules.”

Enter Emma and Emmagination

Her success in the kitchen, she says, is attributable to her husband, Emmanuel Effiong-Bright, who uses his experience in journalism and branding to make Ibomsoup stand out.

Emma is a social media buff who never misses an opportunity to showcase his wife’s creativity in the kitchen.

A public speaker, a trainer and a branding expert, Emmanuel’s branding outfit, Emmagination Clotheum, has been an instant hit with many as he uses his charisma to make the brand a go-to place for clients.

According to Emmanuel, his stint in journalism is helping to push the brands. His public speaking dexterity is winning hearts - and clients for both businesses.

The couple told at Ibomsoup Drive-Thru outlet in Ogba, Lagos that their lives and businesses have many intersections.

It is either Emmanuel is promoting Ibomsoup or Itoro is modelling Emmangination’s latest creation. You will wonder who owns which business.

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Children with hearts for business

The interview with the couple started with how they integrated managing two boisterous boys with two businesses.

The couple says their children are part of what they do, especially the cooking part.

Their youngest son loves what they do. Itoro says the boys cook a lot which makes the youngest son a co-host in her show.

She said when she was writing her book, her oldest son who is 13 years old, was always with her. He asks questions when she makes decisions in her business.

Emmanuel said:

“The younger boy will come up with a meal and give it a name. He will fuse something together and give it a name that will wow you.”

According to them, if the kids decide to take up what they do as a career in the future, it would be good but if not, they won’t be bothered. The essence is to teach them life skills that can help them in the future.

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Itoro said:

“Imagine if they are in the university or where we are not around them. Think of how helpful the skills we’ve imparted into them can help. Imagine their friends coming to visit and they dash into the kitchen to prepare something for them. Imagine them helping their wives in the future.”

My brand name was my bully name in school reports that converting what once caused pain and anguish to a major source of income is not an easy task.

Not many have had the strength or nerve to rise from the taunts and piercing laughter of schoolmates and use the same object of pain and make a success of it.

According to her, she courted trouble the day she jocularly asked a supposedly big boy at school to drop some of his responsibilities for others.


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