Buongiorno, Torino!

While Europe remains a cold destination this March, Italy is everything warm and cosy from the sights, the people and oh, don’t get me started on the food - or am I just been cliche? Well, let’s just say Mi sto divertendo molto (am having a great time)!

After a rather stuffed couple months, my soul was in need of a breather so I decided to board a Flixbus into Torino for 2 days where I met a really lovely and kind Italian from Sicily who took his time to show me around the city. His name is Gianluca and I met him on Couchsurfing.

Heres one thing you need to learn quickly about Europe - she’s not fancy nor decked with fragile skyscrapers. You’ll need to tune your eyes into artsy lane to appreciate the rustic museums, unique trains, sprayed cafes, marbled sidewalks, peculiar food and a raw display of art.

TURIN IN PICTURES

A quick tour of Turin would start you off right at the city center with the opportunity to walk around the city in a long stretch with gorgeous sites of the shopping malls, street magicians and musicians, statues, fountains etc. don’t get me started on the city square - the city center has over 4 of them with interesting history behind each of them. while Torino is one of the smallest cities in Italy, its still one of the best places to live and work.

FOOD

LANDSCAPES

THE PALACE

7 Photo Apps for the perfect Wanderlust Social Media Feed!

Social Media is a powerful tool in curating a strong brand either for you as an individual, a company, product or events. Pinterest is my favourite place to curate my mood board for a perfect feed and after Instagram was introduced, it gave me an opportunity to fan my wanderlust passion. For a girl who’s deeply driven my aesthetics in designs and images, i knew i wanted a compelling way to show the world through my eyes so i began looking for apps that could help me create that. I am in love with teal, mud brown and rustic reddish-orange - all vintage colors.

In the early days, instagram introduced filters but I hate that it changes my skin color or blurred out the real beauty in the image. Then I discovered some apps that didn’t. They gave you the power to change what you want and maintain what you loved. First of all, you need to plan your theme. Are you a sunshine person (yellow, pink and bright color feed) or white and black (chocolate oreo colors, white, black, gray feed) or city fashion (blue, black, red, white, green, creamy feed)? It's important to visualise what you want your feed to look like.

Here are some apps to help you:

AFTERLIGHT

Is one of the best filter apps I recommend to every beginner trying to craft your feed. My personal favorites are WOOD, TIDE, FALLS, FIJI, MARS and MOJAVE. You are sure to keep your skin tone while only manipulating the scenery to show its splendor. Also take advantage of the crop and edit features. I usually reduce contrast on my images to dim bright light or increase to deepen the frame, increase sharpening and exposure, a little saturation or vibrance depending on the image and you’re done. Remember, too much editing makes the photo unreal. Here are some photos I edited with Afterlight for my gram:

LIGHTROOM CC

Adobe is a universe of chocolate for designers! The thought of Adobe makes me squeal in excitement although I have not fully mastered all the apps but Lightroom is one you can never be wrong about. The great thing with Lightroom is that you can manipulate anything, I mean anything. Sometimes, when I take a photo and there's a weird person photobombing, Lightroom allows me take the person out without fuss. More importantly, I can create my own presets (filters) which I can use on the go on my mobile. The best part about it is that you can use a curated preset without a subscription on the mobile app. When using Lightroom for my photos, I only manipulate the LIGHT, COLOR, EFFECTS, DETAIL features. This helps me maintain my color theme in the background while maintaining my dark skin color. That's very important to me. Here are some images from my feed with Lightroom settings:

VSCO

This is a rare gem that was gifted to mankind back when we didnt have great photo apps on mobile so VSCO has been here a long time. My personal favorite thing about VSCO is that you can apply your filters on video! So it helps you maintain the same theme even in your videos with over 100 filters to offer. More importantly, you can manipulate the filters and save them as a preset to simply apply them later on videos or images. Cool right? My favorite filters are M5 (vintage images), H3 (moody potraits and food) and L5 (for greenery scenes/anything with plants). An important feature you need to learn is the HSL in edit feature where you can adjust any color on your image - reduce the red brightness and maybe change blue color to teal or yellow to rustic orange. So cool! Don’t forget to increase sharpening and exposure, reduce/increase contrast and improve clarity/saturation. An images from my feed:

PICSART

PicsArt was just a playful and childish app back in the day until they upgraded last year. With PicsArt, you can add subtle features to your image and change the background/foreground of an image. But mind you, a lot of the app features remains playful so don't overdo it or your image would look like a 5 year old painting. While I was in Germany last year, I wanted to add snow to my image foreground and also add lights and butterfly to our Christmas scenes. I was able to achieve this using the BRUSH feature. I used the snowflakes, butterfly and bright yellow light brushes. Swipe over the area in the image you would love to add and you can also use the eraser to take out any excess. You may also experiment with the Beauty, Lens Flare (which I've used on an image), Call Out, Draw and Effects features - all depending on what you're trying to achieve and your artistic prowess. I always do simple. After adding the features I need on PicsArt, then I apply a feature from VSCO, Lightroom or AfterLight to achieve a uniform color theme. Some images from my feed:

iPHONE IOS PHOTO

Did you know that your iPhone comes with a photo editing feature? After taking a photo, select Edit at the top right of the screen, then manipulate with the light and color features to either brighten or augment the light of your image and add some color to it. After that, select the venn icon (3 circles) and pick a theme - you can choose between original, vivid, vivid warm, vivid cool, dramatic, dramatic cool, mono, silvertone and Noir. Use the crop feature to straigthen or crop the image. You're good to go. Here’s an Image from my Feed using Vivid Warm theme.

I hope you have so much fun in playing around with the apps and finding your staples. I have stuck with 3 templates and do not bother touching the others. As I travel and take photos, I simply pass through the preset I already saved and post to instagram - as simple as abc :)

If you run into any roadblocks, you know where to find me ";) Do you have any favourite apps or any new ideas? Kindly share below. I’d love to hear from you too :)

A guide to enjoying your own company without a phone

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Learning to enjoy one’s company is a necessity for life’s survival.


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To be honest, I’m not only always on my phone, I’m required to be on my phone because 

  • My company team is remote

  • I manage several company accounts 

  • As a desired influencer, I have to be constantly online as I hope to build my personal brand

  • I belong to diverse cross continent communities and the only way to nurture them is by being online

  • My yoga classes are online

  • My family and loved ones

  • I work remotely and earn money from these jobs

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See why I need to be on my phone always? I can’t even lose my phone for a moment; I’ll worrying about getting another phone. And this is the more reason why our generation must learn to be offline.

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When I was growing up, Kids learned to enjoy their company before they got a phone but in this time, kids get a phone before they realise self-awareness.
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It’s a conscious decision so that when you are forced to be without your phone, you can gratefully bring yourself to enjoy your time alone with yourself or people without your phone. 

My phone detox plans are an hour a day, a month per year  and every vacation I take. 

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To learn conscious phone and especially social media detox, you need to fix the following

  •  What are my hobbies? What are the things I love doing that won’t make me miss my phone. I love to listen to folklore and classical music. I would dance to it that it would make me feel so good I’d forget my phone. I love reading fictional and magical fantasy novels. I also love writing far fetched classic poems. I love water so i enjoy swimming, learning to surf, kayak etc. I love taking walks & visiting the gym. I love sleeping or meditation sessions. I can go 5 meditation sessions at once. I love practicing yoga. I can go 1hr - 2hr stretch at once. So whenever I want to tune out, I’ll do one of these. 
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  • How much time can I truly afford to be away from my phone? Do not deceive yourself and copy someone’s stamina from being away from their phone. Competition kills spirit and consistency. When you go through that list up there, I have evaluated my schedule and I know that I can give 5am - 7am, 12noon - 2pm, 9pm - 10pm free from my phone. So whenever I create my schedules, I try to leave at least one of them free. I race out of meetings just to catch 5 mins alone with myself. It’s the only way I can recharge. So be honest with yourself and look through your schedules to find what works for you. Even if it’s only 30 mins. It’s a start. 
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  • Mental Interval checks. Be conscious to take mental checks on yourself. You may have decided to spend time with yourself but you need to remind yourself to do it. I’ve come to a place where I easily run mental checks on myself. Within each hour, I would instinctively remind myself to put my phone down and breathe. In that second, I appraise if what I’m doing is truly necessary before I continue. If I was having a needless chat or surfing the internet needlessly, I would close all the apps and get back to the most important thing or pick up a book or write a poem or take a walk or do any of my hobbies. I have a friend who couldn’t remind herself so she set a reminder 3 times a day to “put down the phone and breathe”. 
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  • Find a community and make time to connect with them. Community is the most important thing in a human’s life. I remember years ago when I connected with communities that did not truly inspire me, it reflected badly on my work so I decided to setup my own type of community. One that I connected with. I was afraid I wouldn’t find my type of people because we’re very “country people style” but I put the word out there and started hosting minimal hangouts. Either bring your own food to share or minimal cost where you pay for yourself. Now my social media looks much different than that time & I’m constantly inspired when I come online. I’m so jealous of my new found sanity that I do not risk mixing up in the wrong communities. I’ve put in so much to come this far, I can’t let it go. Find time to meet up with your community offline and always try to do new things with them. You’ll see how much you can grow together and your phone will become useless. This also means that if you’re part of a community that does not inspire you, unsubscribe. 
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  • Travel & invest in experiences: one best way to learn to love your own company is by investing in experiences. Anything that requires materialistic fulfillment can only satisfy you for as long as that material is needful or relevant. Experiences are embedded in your memory. They’re unforgettable. Especially when you have a proof of a picture. So try to travel at least once a year. If you can’t afford to travel yet, go on an experience. From school, take a day and go to the beach. Meet people and connect with nature. Or travel to the next city. Take a bus down to the end of the city and back home. Enroll for a local city tour or group experience. You’ll hardly find the time to respond to your phone but rather, take pictures with strangers. Learn so much about them and make new friends. You can even send a DM to a travel agency or tour guide and ask them to give you a free trip locally or internationally while you offer a free service by being an assistant on the tour. Most of these tours use buses and they will always have a free seat. You can even pack your own food from home to reduce costs of which I doubt they won’t want to feed you. You can also offer photography if you’re a photographer or offer to be guide in your local government or area if you know a good tourist attraction there.  
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  • Love your company. Love her/him. He/She is going to spend the rest of your life with you and even in the after life. The earlier you start loving your company, the earlier you start doing amazing things together. I purposely set my phone to go mute mode after 10pm except for my family and loved ones so no calls, texts or notifications can come in. I also avoid needless chats. If a chat does not have an immediate action, I either ignore or reply asking the person for a purpose. Chats are the quickest way to drain your time and intellectual use. Call the person or create an alternative.
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My phone use is termed into two

  • Personal Use - I use it for what I intend. I make posts, read information and stay up to date. In this time, I’m not particularly answering texts or reacting to any information. 

  • Reactive Use - this is when I decide to answer messages, or texts or interact with people online. I’ve had people question my use of social media and not responding to them. I tell them the same thing, I’ve not had time to sort through my messages. I’d reply later.  Don't let your phone control your impulses.

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Practicing to be alone with one self is in itself an improvement to allowing one more time to be alone with one self. 

Exceptions should only be for emergencies or business hours. 

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LUFASI PARK

In a bid to take time away from the busy activity of the city, I spent a day at Lufasi Park in Lagos, Nigeria to relieve my soul with an amazing friend. You pay 1000 only to get to Lufasi Park and you can totally bring your own food and picnic pack. Be careful not to go with a professional camera because you will be charged for those however my iphone was just enough. The environment is perfect and the natural light is all you need and the sky as your backdrop!

 
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Outfit Haul

Dress Shirt by Fashion Nova

Sun Glasses by HauteSignatures

Skin Hose by BrunEtNoir

Ankara Shorts by Pop Beach Club

Ankle Boots by Timberland

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Photography Credits

Images Shot by @Tobbinator

Image Edits by AfterLight & Lightroom CC Apps

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a roadtrip & the many adventures experienced in Abeokuta

beginning this year, my goal has been to learn more about my home of birth, Nigeria & immerse myself in its magic. as an African backpacker to disrupt pan-African trade & multi-cultural relations, i believe my charity begins at home. my mind was made up & this power suddenly conquered carsickness as i knew what needed to be done without fear so i contacted TVP Adventures to kick-start my national tour. 


me at the top of Olumo Rock with an achiever smile & the cosy TVP Backpakck. 

me at the top of Olumo Rock with an achiever smile & the cosy TVP Backpakck. 

armed with a bad history of motorphobia, two large bottles of water and an extra legging, i set out on a tour of Abeokuta - the largest city & state capital of Ogun State.  


The ‘adire’ market

a longtime tradition from our fore-fathers and ancestors, the "adire" (tie-and-dye) market was a fascinating discovery for me. i discovered that "adire" wrappers were not made in a factory but by a small community of hardworking locals so exceptionally dedicated to the detailing of each piece.

each piece is unique & very different from the other. it was first designed using starch made from different types of flour to create the patterns, then dried under the sun. it was then collected and tied into tiny pleats at certain lengths and dipped into a bucket of dye. after it dries, it is then ironed by wooden slabs that were manually pounded on the material to smoothen and fold it into the perfect package for sale. 

that's me, iron pounding an adire  

that's me, iron pounding an adire  

it was here i swore never to price an "adire" material at the market ever again. the craft is the main source of income to this community but it is sad that the government has demolished their markets building over it major highways and have failed to relocate the market to another piece of land. this market is said to attract thousands of tourists which has reduced drastically; more so, their source of income declines during the raining season due to the lack of sun to dry their materials.

"what will happen to this community in the future?"


Olumo Rock

a place of refuge. a place of war. a place of peace. now a place of history.  

it was told that the ‘egbas’  hid under this rock during the war in the past. it was their source of survival and a shrine that protected them from the outside world. the rock takes on the shape of a pregnant woman lying on her back on a table. how symbolic! the rock featured a sacrifice room, the kings quarters and a kitchen under the rock where his wives cooked, the tree of Doggedness & Resilience, a shrine and it’s chief priestess which is still passed down to the new generation, aged trees, a fort and a magnificent view. 

The view is everything from the top :)


The Herbert Ogunde’s living history museum

this is a fascinating story about a man who married seventeen wives who became his co-actors and traveled far and wide acting and creating plays that deftly introduced the Nollywood industry to the world.

the entrance to Herbet Ogunde's living museum home

the entrance to Herbet Ogunde's living museum home

the Ogunde’s living house museum welcomes you with a large wall post - it is a huge bungalow surrounded by a bold compound housing the magnificent statue of the late actor himself, Herbert Ogunde. one of the grandsons welcomed us who was also our host. we were told not to touch anything, no phones were allowed within and not to sit on any chair or surface in the house. the house is filled with all his equipments, cameras, a helicopter engine used for cooking up a storm for his movies, re-enacted scnes from his movies, album upon albums, his drums, all his costumes, his passport, nigerian actors who were so young back and are now veteran actors, his bed where he slept, his clothes, his family tree & so much more.

this is why i don't have much to show you but you can visit the museum sometime and be entirely amazed. this museum will teach you to value the country Nigeria and its people.

if you would love to read more about Ogunde's story, check out this beautiful narration written by my sister girl & guide, Funmi Oyatogun. Click Here.


POSE POSE POSE  

Image Credits: Rachel

Tour Guide: TVP Adventures


  HEEL CLICK! 

heel clicking is a lovely happy jump to do after a tour... so i did one with Funmi.

heel clicking is a lovely happy jump to do after a tour... so i did one with Funmi.

See you on the next adventure :) Meanwhile, have you been to Abeokuta? Did you have any fond memories or favorite places? Would love to hear it.
 if you don’t achieve anything in this world,
by all means, TRAVEL!

Africa Needs Brands Destroyers

Have you heard of a Brand Destroyer? Is it part of your Brand package? Do you know what it means to vanish a brand from the face of the Earth like it never existed? NewsFlash! This is a Life Career Alert and Africa needs more of You.

Let's paint a picture: BUSINESS

Say you started a company 30 years ago called "LURK" and it has been remarkably successful and popular across Africa but then you suddenly hit the 21st century, where business has gone digital and your business model has sunk! Experts tell you that your model needs to be revamped and a new business idea born. The first concern you have is; How can I start a new brand that is not affected by the old failing company?

And another picture: FRAUD

Your shipping company, a major contractor for the biggest brands in the world from oil companies, fashion houses to technology recently came into a Compliance Scandal. Unfortunately, you did not win the case and have had to pay $509 Billion in fine and as a result filed for bankruptcy. Your old clients have abandoned you & it's impossible to win new clients because no one wants to be associated with scandal. You desperately need to pay your debts and cater to your huge manpower which means you need to fix your brand. Your first thought is; How do I erase the old brand so that it won't affect the new one?

Yet another picture: BRAND

You are a fast market. You start shit fast and end shit fast. Basically, your company model is to start new market trends, kill them & replace with new ones. From fashion to political trends to music & so on. Your company owns over 100 brands. You have some brands in the market that need to die completely without any trace. Your plan is; Who can I hire to erase these brands from the face of the Earth because you hate the taste of failure?

The guy you need is a Brand Destroyer! They are skilled at varnishing any trace of a brand from records, people's recognition and the Earth. They withdraw the product from the market, erasing counterfeits also, re-orientating your community to forget and replace the brand with something new, deleting the product from the web even the dark web, all media publications, search engine optimisation, all publicity, all partnerships, all legal records etc. 

Their job is to give you a clean slate, an empty paper and advise you on how long you need to remain underground before coming back & the branding mistakes to avoid any semblance to the old brand.

AFRICA

Africa, our beloved continent. Popularly known for Human & Raw Material Resources. A vamped land that exports her raw materials only to import it in finished products & her people laboriously slaving to enrich the pockets of the foreign market. Largely, it is slighted, not seen, perceived to lack potential, ravaged by wars & unstable political systems hence dangerous. Now, here we are with a bad reputation on our hands in a dire need for a new perspective. A perspective that shows how our economy grows with its human capital investing on our own lands towards a better future & harnessing our own natural resources. The one where our youths have ventured into ideas of a new world and our political systems are ruled by the people for the people.

Will you join to build a new brand? Who will be our Brand Destroyer? Africa needs US !

You & I <3

WATCH: AKON Talking Branding AFRICA & Telling our own Stories

* Pin this image to your pinterest *

 

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Kindly share your experiences about this story & share on your social media platforms.

 

4 Founders from Republic of Benin Disrupting Africa

Several weeks ago, I went backpacking to Benin Republic not for holiday but to discover its Business and Tech community. I connected with 4 young entrepreneurs in Cotonou who are disrupting the African startup space with very innovative products. I was impressed by their resilience to defy the odds in a closed economy and seek a market more diverse than their origin, satisfying a diverse demand with innovative products featuring unique African attributes.

Sarah, a young Beninese entrepreneur is the founder for PERLICIOUS, a handcraft brand dedicated to all things beads, corals and precious stones. She started out making handcraft beads specifically for men and with time expanded to female designs including complete jewel sets, beaded bags (which she produces with her team from Masai, Kenya), Wedding glam (which she produces with her team from Nigeria) and her newest line in beaded & stoned luxury fabric for occassional wears (sourced from Turkey, Senegal, Nigeria & Dubai).

In a bid to respond to a large demand from consumers outside Africa, understanding that Benin provided a limited resource base for her craft, she teamed up with experts from other African countries who had the skills needed for her product; training them and providing them specifics of what she needed to hasten mass production.

Perlicious is a unique brand in that each piece must feature at least 2 precious stones from 2 different countries in Africa. A necklace could feature black onyx from Nigeria, melted glasses from Ghana & a crystal from Czech Republic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Her dream is not only to create a great Brand but also a global vision where Africa comes first and is revealed to the world. Sarah is a "disruptive diasporan", being a Beninese designer, sourcing raw materials from all parts of Africa, Turkey, Dubai. Her Brand is very diverse having her marketing manager from Ivory Coast, a Perlicious store on Etsy covering Northen America & Canada and a huge market in Europe. 

"It's important for me to mix the culture because you learn a lot by mixing cultures - Sarah"

She graduated with a masters from Senegal where she studied with mixed students from different continents equipping her with major teamwork skills. She has worked with several companies however discovered she loved being an Independent woman.

"My dream has never been to work for anybody. I prefer to work for my Clients. My Clients are my Bosses - Sarah"

Jean-Philippe is the founder of TRITON where instead of the customer to go to the car wash, the car wash comes to the Customer. It's a mobile platform saving the planet by decreasing the amount of water to wash a car by a third (20-30litres). Triton also started its own car-friendly bio-soap, providing jobs for community women. Triton has provided over 2500 car wash services in the past 8 months & plans to enter the market of big cities in Africa.

Jean-Philippe started the company because everytime he wanted to go out, he had to visit the car wash miles away & wait hours for his turn. For someone who lived in New York for years, he knew life was much easier than that. He thought "what if someone came to wash my car while it sat idle during work hours?"

Triton's mobile car wash services works through an app where a user books the nearest car wash tricycle or via whatsapp, giving your location & simply opening your car. His customer base targets majorly the middle class population who works & have no time to visit the carwash. Payments are done either thru mobile money or cash.

 

 

Thanks to his engineering background, Jean-Philippe's tricycles are very unique. A commercial tricylcle is broken down to bits and a new model is built from scratch. Each Triton tricycle includes 1000litres of water, a vacuum connected to an energy generation system created specifically for the mechanism, soap and towels.

Gladly, TRITON has no competitors in Benin but are there any competitors out there? I believe TRITON should franchise this platform because the African Continent & its cars need a saviour. Jean-Philippe plans to target Niamey, Ouagadougou, Bamako, Lome & Accra markets next.

Nadiyath KAFFO

Nadiyath is the founder of EWA OKE, a handmade craftwork company. Her Brand mixes leather and the popular "Aso-Oke" to make handmade goods like bags, belts, bracelets, travelling suitcases etc. She sources her leather from Morocco, Dubai & Italy and Aso-Oke raw materials from Nigeria. Her brand is widely known to mix both materials in very innovative designs and products. 

 

 

She produces her products with peculiar attention to quality, autheticity and poise. One of the challenges she faced were the demands from customers to recreate foreign designer brands which she refused by creating unique and classy products. Nadiyath's company is less than a year and her new line has began to make waves in a large market beyond Africa who are intrigued by the cultural fusion with modern designs and its longlasting durability.

Nadiya is interested in Nigeria, Ghana, Sengal, Cote D'Ivoire, Burkina Faso Markets. She encourages entrepreneurs to persevere and authentic in their work.

 

Tania Okanla, is the founder of A.M.T HOUSE founded in 2002. It is a platform dedicating to showcase African products online and has evolved into a product that sells Made in Africa "ready-to-wear" clothing lines. AMT House has two brands; one targeted to producing ready-to-wear clothing for target markets and install mass production centers for Made in Africa fashion brands produced by Africans in African cities.

Although Benin's market is not a real potential to consume "ready-to-wear" clothing, she is targeting a wider market in Africa in countries like Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. She dedicated 1 year to train skilled talents in Cotonou's fashion industry due to lack of fashion schools, completing the value chain in Fashion from production, model training, photography, marketing, digital platforms, logistics and shipping.

"If Africa wants to be part of the global indsutry, we need to think mass market" - Tania

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kindly drop a comment below & share on your social media platforms!