Founder of SXM’s Girls Night Out
Nigeria, New York, Guadeloupe, France, Washington and Sint Maarten – Ogechi Anyanwu has called many places her home. But the latter, our island, holds a special place in her heart.
Ogechi, who founded SXM’s Girls Night Out, realized that women as consumers have a huge influence on our economy. This “power”, Ogechi has dubbed “sheconomy.” SXM’s Girls Night Out is an event that empowers businesses and entrepreneurs to tap into the “sheconomy” on Sint Maarten/Saint Martin while providing female consumers with an all-around perfect night out filled with shopping, cocktails, pampering and entertainment.
On Saturday, June 3, the 5th edition of SXM’s Girls Night Out will be held. Since the first edition in 2012, Ogechi and her team have seen the event grow in exponential numbers with more than 1,500 women in attendance last year. Out N’ About sat down with Ogechi to find out more about her popular event.
How did you become an event organizer?
When I was 19, I moved to France to attend university to study international law. Since I was four, I wanted to become an attorney, with the dream of fighting injustice. Yet in my last year, I realized that my dream wasn’t realistic as one of my teachers said, “Justice isn’t just.” Besides that, most of the attorneys I knew did not live a lifestyle I envisioned myself living. I moved to Washington and started studying entertainment business and management. I loved the idea of being part of creating a product that allowed people to escape the everyday hustle and bustle. During this time, I attended a lot of events and started being inspired by how to go about creating unique events myself; which I did as soon as I got my degree!
What inspired Girls Night Out?
During university, I attended a lot of events, which gave me many ideas. I also have always been a fan of empowering women and was drawn to the idea of creating a unique event that caters to them. I had also noticed that there were few events that took women into account from an economical standpoint. I saw a niche there; women are a HUGE part of our economy and should be recognized as such. Many events, marketing and businesses do not target women and their huge buying power the right way. SXM’s Girls Night Out is a combination of what I aspire to change, have seen, learned and fills that important “sheconomic” gap. It was also important to me that it would be a lot of FUN!
How did you go about creating this new event?
I presented my idea to my mom, Bernadette Davis, who many people know on Sint Maarten/Saint Martin. She has produced many successful events; so I asked her what she thought about my idea. I also asked if I could be on her team should she decide to do it. She loved it and said, “You are going to make this event happen and I will be on your team.” We involved a few more key family members each with their own unique talents and ideas who have made SXM’s Girls Night Out such a success. Jennifer Simmons-Hughes and Ogechi have shared a vision of creating a production company from the age of 11 and 12. After the first SXM’s Girls Night Out event, Jennifer was inspired to open several Yogen Fruz chains in Holland. Linda Cocks is a multi-business owner and a tourism industry expert. Ijeoma Anyanwu is a marketing expert and creative director.
What are some of the difficulties in creating such an event?
It is hard to have to fight for sponsors each year on Sint Maarten/Saint Martin. I think many people face the same issue on the island. Our event has proven successful, yet it is a bit of a struggle every year to get everyone on board. Logistically, if you work with the right people, everything runs smoothly; but there is always a chance that something unintended happens. Of course there are many more upsides, for example, this year a talented entrepreneur will be joining our event as a vendor. She is a designer and hasn’t had an opportunity like this to market herself. I just know we will make a difference to her business, which makes my team and me very happy. When you see and hear these kinds of positive reactions to your event, all the initial struggles are worthwhile!
Why should we women come out to SXM’s Girls Night Out?
You should come to our event because you will have a great time! You will be surrounded by friends, or make some new ones while you shop, sip, savour and pamper yourself. Dozens of vendors will be selling your favourite products and might introduce you to some new ones you will fall in love with. You will be sampling delicious cocktails and snacks while you enjoy an array of entertainment. There will also be mini-massages and mini-makeovers for those who want to relax. There will also be special workshops for those who want to learn and be inspired. It is a perfect night out for women to leave all the stress of the world behind! Oh, and there are many surprises too!
Surprises?! What kind of surprises?
It is our fifth anniversary – quite a milestone – so we will be giving away many prizes throughout the night. Besides all of the swag filled bags given to the first 600 women and the goodies you can win throughout the event; we will also have three GRAND prizes! By buying your ticket to SXM’s Girls Night Out, you will automatically enter a raffle. First prize is a Caribbean Cruise for two; second prize is a stay at a hotel on the island and third is a cash prize. For just $30 admission, you have a chance to win these and more!
If you could have three people over for dinner, dead or alive, who would they be, what would you serve them and what would you discuss with them?
I would have Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama and Beyoncé; I would serve a hot goat cheese salad with baguette and butter on the side as the appetizer, lobster in a cream sauce served with rice pilaf for the entrée and a cup of vanilla ice-cream wrapped in a crepe and topped with a creamy rum sauce and whipped cream. We would discuss being women with a dream, the journey to achieving our dreams and the things we had to give up to accomplish them. I would love to hear their stories on juggling being a woman, a partner/wife, a mother and an entrepreneur.
See you at SXM’s Girls Night Out on Saturday, June 3! Bring your friends, sisters and mom out for a great time. Come shop, sip, savour and be pampered. Contact info: www.sxmgirlsnightout.com, 1 (721) 527-8660 or firstname.lastname@example.org