A series that spotlights the inspiring women who are building inspiring things.
Abby Adesanya is the Founder of Novella, a platform & community of women who love to write, want motivation to continue writing, and are open to sharing these written works with like-minded people. She's also a brand marketer based in NYC. As a writer since childhood, she is passionate about weaving storytelling into every narrative of her work, as well as advocating for the advancement and success of women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community. Follow her & Novella on Instagram!
What was the inspiration behind starting Novella?
In what sounds like a cheesy movie plot - but real! - until recently, I had this feeling that something was missing from my life. I’ve been a reader and writer since childhood; I have dozens of books back home and even more half-finished stories on my high school desktop. That was my life for years, until I moved to New York after college and all that completely stopped. It was a strange shift in my priorities but once I realized I was spending too little time on the things I loved, I wanted to do something tangible about it. I also knew I couldn’t have been the only one feeling that way, so I started forming Novella and its positive reception so far has been really wonderful.
So far, what was your most exciting day as a founder? What happened? Why was it the best?
My most exciting day as a founder so far was the very first Novella event. It was October 5th, just last year, and I really didn’t think anyone but my friends would show up, which I had already decided would be an absolutely fine outcome. To my honest-to-God surprise, by the end of the night, we had 40 women in the room and not more than 10 of them were my friends. The rest were women who found us on their own and that was truly incredible. The best feeling in the world!
What is your vision for the future with Novella?
I want Novella to remain a place where women feel they can safely and creatively express their experiences while expanding this community to women living outside of NYC. Members have asked us how to sharpen their writing skills and hone in on their craft, so we’re figuring out what that opportunity looks like, too. We want to be of service and refuge to writerly women so our future involves more experiences and more outlets to make that happen.
What is your biggest struggle in the hustle? (Be honest!)
The easiest thing to say is “money” but I will actually say “time”. Money can be figured out, whether that means making something with a little less or waiting until the time is financially right, but time is much more fleeting. It’s not tangible, you can’t pause it, it slips away all day long, etc. As a first time side-hustler, I finally get why people wish there were more than 24 hours in a day! But, I also finally understand the phrase “you make time for the things you love”. I’m willing to wake up a little earlier or sleep a little later to get what Novella needs done.
What is the item on your to do list that you wish you never had to do?
Remember to post, send, schedule any content. I am very bad at this and I don’t know why. I post on my own Instagram maybe once a month. Luckily, I have apps and friends who nudge me but if I never had to post anything ever again, I’d be living a dream.
If there was a brand/marketing/PR genie that would hand you one achievement, what would it be?
A loyal community. I say loyal because new businesses go through a lot - a lot of changes, hiccups, and straight up U-turns. But when you have a fanbase that supports you, wants to see you succeed, and will engage with what you produce even if it’s to give critique, it can make all the difference. I do think we can foster a loyal community on our own but if a genie wants to send us a little magic, that would be fab, too.
What are three things we should read (or listen to) asap?
Read: DamnJoan, Slow Days, Fast Company by Eve Babitz, The Ann Friedman Weekly
Listen: SZA’s album Ctrl, Lady by Fela Kuti, My My My! by Troye Sivan
What is your favorite Instagram feed right now?
@afriquette - the images, the vibrance, everything about the color story. I love it and it makes me feel like home.
Let's end on a non-work note! Favorite place you have ever been?
Amsterdam, Netherlands. I went last summer for quite possibly the most perfect 4 days I have ever lived. Everyone was so friendly, the weather was unreal (picture yourself floating down a lazy canal, temperature in the mid-70s, champagne flute in hand. It was like that!), the sun didn’t set until 9:30pm, it was out of this world. Would love to return.
CEO & Founder of Tactile