We had the good fortune of connecting with Rochelle Bannerman and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Rochelle, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Ellefoodie matured from a personal outlet to an actual business during the pandemic. When everything was at a standstill. The artisans I frequently worked with were stranded. Lack of income, they had no fallback plans, and with no money saved. Thankfully I had my 9-5 job, was still employed and I could afford to reach out and provide assistance to those I worked with. I decided then, if not for me but for the people I worked with, I need to do a better job and put plans in place to create a sustainable business that could take care of itself and provide a steady income for the artisans.

What habits do you feel helped you succeed?                                                    I am resourceful and resilient. I believe there is alway a way. It is down to how bad you want something. I am self aware, a realist. I don’t obsess over challenges (they exist, it’s a fact) I find solutions, thinking up ways of how I can , that’s my priority.

Over the years I realised that being afraid to ask is the surest way of getting nothing or going nowhere. Fact is, no one is just here looking for you and what you need right? You need to make your intentions known, be open, frank and actively engaging.

Over the course of my life, I have experienced wars, the after effects and the troll it takes on the families and country, which sadly is the result we see today. Broken families, inadequate education, poor health care and the rest. My generation grew up not knowing what a normal life looks like. It is a circle that needs to be broken.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Ellefoodie was born out of passion for Nature, art, and food. It is an Eco-conscious brand promoting sustainable living. I am excited about the work we have achieved working with artisans to create unique pieces from locally sourced materials. Watching an idea take on a tangible form. It is an ongoing journey, not easy but I will say a fulfilling one. Through my engagements with the artisans and crafts makers it opened my eyes to the general state of the country and the challenges.

Like most African countries. Lack of proper education, high rate of unemployment, talents being wasted, high imports of everything that could be made locally using materials that nature has blessed us with to help empower the large numbers of the population.

I saw gifted, talented people not being able to generate an income for themselves and family. No understanding of how they could market their skills and talent, lack of self improvement of their skills because they have no access to the available tools. My goal is to empower the community I work with, so they can in turn extend the same to others. How can we work collectively, using resources for the greater good? What better way to do that? Than through creativity when faced with lots of obstacles of why and how you cannot or should not do it?

What’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with?                        “A patient dog eats the fattest bone” . It is not totally untrue, but what needs to be stressed is not just how patient you are, but what is being done by you during the wait period you have that is 100% within your control. I came across a statement that I connected with, “ success doesn’t just find you, you have to go out and get it.”  I am a firm believer of taking charge of my life, being accountable and doing my ultimate best to achieve the result I desire.

What habits do you feel helped you succeed?                                              Resilience. I can’t stress this enough. Living in a post war, underdeveloped country with dreams to achieve, you need to have the desire to keep going, despite the setbacks and challenges  you encounter daily.

What is the most important factor behind your success / the success of your brand?                                                                                                    Perseverance and commitment. I am

What’s the most important lesson your business/career has taught you?It will be okay to start where you are and make the necessary improvements along the way.  

Work life balance: how has your balance changed over time? How do you think about the balance?                                                                                        Balance is essential to your wellbeing and  growth. Being out of balance throws me in a loop. I get stuck, lacking creativity. I remembered during an intense work period, I always found a way to keep a smile on my face and lighten the atmosphere that I am in. I had a workmate ask me how I do it? My mindset is that what needs to be done needs to be done anyways, stressing over it won’t make it get done any faster, instead I focus on how I can get it done faster so that I make time for other things, especially outside of work.

Why did you pursue an artistic or creative career?                                              It is an interesting question <smile>. I have always been fascinated by the artistics. During high school, elective was my favourite class time, because it involved creativity and working with my hands. It has always been a habit that I was passionate about. Working in the ICT space with a background in business is very interesting, and where I always wanted to be since college and now I have found a way to blend both sides of me into my business. Connectivity, global reach and an artistic, eco conscious brand.

What are you inspired by?                                                                                I am inspired by the women in my life. I see the difficulties they are faced with but how they persevere is just amazing. From my grandma to my mom and the ladies I work with to create my products.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’ll recommend a few of my favorite spots.

Definitely the beach will be the #1 spot, we have several options. The benefit of Coastal living.

  1. Nana’s Lodge, it’s located in Capemount County. Magical Sunset, local club beer, sound of the waves. It’s also a great spot to surf or watch the surfers.
  2. A road trip outside of the city to see the Kpatawee waterfall in Bong County and enjoy the lush greenness along the journey. Drink local palm wine from the roadside.
  3. Evelyn’s Resturant in Monrovia for authentic Liberian dishes and a taste of the Liberian Jollof Rice and other local dishes.
  4. Pure relaxation and bliss at Libassa Ecolodge, in Marshall. Don’t want to miss this one.
  5. Wine at the Royal Grand Hotel rooftop – Good vibes, offers a taste of Asian cuisine in Liberia.
  6. Live Band at D’Calabash on a weekend, with a lagoon view and their special local drink, made from cane Juice.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my Grandma, Rosetta Pearce. She is the core of our Family and a true definition of strength.

Website: www.ellefoodie.com

Instagram: https://instagram.com/ellefoodie?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/ellefoodielib/

Image Credits
Rochelle Bannerman (Myself)

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlanta is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.