by Aderonke Adebayo
Tobi Oreoluwa is that guy who loves to do crazy things. He probably won’t take on a task if he doesn’t feel it’s crazy enough. He lives in his head most of the time as with many other introverts alike. His surname is Oreoluwa, however, most people call him Ore.
Street Church started back in 2018 as a personal quest for Tobi Oreoluwa to understand Christianity from the perspective of an African man. He is a native of Ekiti, born into a family of believers, and both of his parents are clerics. However, as he grew, he began to question how the Bible’s messages were preached. He believed it was too western, and he needed clarity. He sought to discover how the stories of the Bible affect him as a person and his identity as an African man, trying to find himself in the Christian space.
He began to study the Bible daily and posted his discoveries on his Instagram story. Many people began to study the same passages in their Bible and sent him their comments and how they could relate to his discovery. He did that for 30 consecutive days, posting simultaneously every morning.
Tunde, Ore’s friend, put a lot of pressure on him to start the Street Church brand, but he never really thought it could be a thing. Until one Sunday afternoon in February 2021, when he had an Epiphany on his way from church. He designed the Street Church template in less than 20 minutes and posted his first devotional, “Gbo gbo wa la ma je breakfast.” It spread like wildfire. The street church had more than 10,000 followers in less than a week. It has become a global movement of Socially Conscious Christians.
Tobi is a serial entrepreneur. He owns a furniture making brand called Alaga collections, a fashion brand called Tasolo.ng which derives its name from a Yoruba phrase, “A gun ta so lo” and a barbershop called Hairliners.ng. Street Church just celebrated a one-year anninversary. Our conversation lasted a while but we made it brief for you, without leaving out salient details.
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YellowLyfe Style: How does it feel to have built something so important to the community?
Tobi: Usually, I’m not someone who likes to be at the forefront of happenings; I like to be behind the scenes and make things work. Our nomination at The Future Awards Africa (TFAA) 2022 made me feel like we were doing something great. The calibre of people in the crowd at the awards showed that we were doing something powerful that resonates with a generation. I feel blessed and lucky. It’s a good place to be, making this much progress in just one year. However, this is the time to put in more work.
We were doing something powerful, something that resonates with a generation
YellowLyfe Style: Since you started, have you had any form of competition?
Tobi: Ah! We are not in competition with any one. We are not a business, we are a movement. We are only looking at collaborations. If we are looking at it from the business perspective, of course, all churches are our competition even though we are majorly online, doing something different. We are a battalion fighting alongside different battalions to achieve the same goal.
YellowLyfe Style: How would you describe your creative process?
Tobi: I have a structure but I don’t have a structure. I like my space. When I’m in my space, I can think properly. I usually create when I’m alone in my space though. I come up with my ideas and test them on people, ask questions. I seek opinions first. When I hear their opinions, I can now come back and tweak them, then I take it back to them again before I start executing. I do an in-house test before execution.
YellowLyfe Style: Take us through what a typical day is like for you
Tobi: My days are filled mostly with meetings and strategy sessions to discuss my brands. I’m an early riser. I wake up, pray, do the devotional for the day, come together as a team to pray, and discuss what we are supposed to do for the day. I like to put my meetings between 8 am to 1 pm, after which I take a break to watch a movie or listen to music, anything that’s not work-related as a form of distraction. Around 4 pm, I get back into it till 9 pm on some days, meeting new people who can help us achieve our goals as a brand and not just for Street Church.
YellowLyfe Style: How do you manage all your brands?
Tobi: My strength is seeing big things and going after them, but some people have strength in structure or execution. I execute sometimes, but I do more of the vision, so I work with people who have the same goals. I’m inspired by Africa and its ability to fulfill our basic needs. In my bio on Instagram, it says, “I believe that creativity and collaborations will change Africa” that’s my mantra, and that is precisely what I’m working on. We have made mistakes, but that’s normal; the problem would be not trying at all.
“I believe that creativity and collaborations will change Africa”
YellowLyfe Style: Do you feel the content creation field is saturated?
Tobi: I don’t think so. I think we can say a particular type of content creation is saturated but we haven’t even explored half of what content creation entails in Africa. We haven’t scratched the surface yet because content creation is about putting out something that actually matters to society. We need to reposition our stories properly as Africans before we can say that we have fully explored content creation.
YellowLyfe Style: Are there verified steps that must be taken to be a successful content creator in Nigeria?
Tobi: The only verified step I know is to be consistent with whatever you do. People are always watching, no matter what it is. Even if it is the craze, you will find crazy people who would like to work with you as long as you are consistent with it. Before Street Church started fully in 2021, I already had a track record of 120 days from 2018/19 of doing it. So, by the time it came into full vision, it was easy to execute because some people were already following, and It was also very relatable.
YellowLyfe Style: What should we expect from you in the future?
Tobi: I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag but we are working on the Street Church app. Also, you would see us on campuses soon. Love and Light 2022 is coming as well. We have the ideas and we are working towards them but if God says no, then there’s nothing we can do about it.
YellowLyfe Style: What’s your favourite quote?
Tobi: ‘we dey roll dice, na God dey bring double six‘.