Ifedayo Agoro is elevating women’s voices through the power of community storytelling.

From a young age, Ifedayo Agoro turned what began as a “weekly letter writing punishment” into her life’s passion, creating Diary of a Naija Girl (DANG) and branching out with DANG Lifestyle, a thriving business.

This week’s #MCNWorkLife features Ife, as her close circles know her, diving into her journey of nurturing a community that’s grown to over 700,000 women. She opens up about her evolution into entrepreneurship, the joys and challenges of being a public figure, and how she’s impacting women’s lives by harnessing the transformative power of community storytelling.

Who is Ifedayo Agoro?

Ifedayo Agoro is a woman who loves to see as many women as possible thrive in every way—in romance, finance, or just achieving wholesomeness in every way. I am also an astute businessperson and an empath who can connect with people’s plight. I take on a business, do it properly, and always succeed.

What was your childhood dream job, and how did this translate to Diary of A Naija Girl?

As a kid, I did all sorts of business, knowing I had to make money. From when I was eight years old, I would hawk garri (because we used to live in a ghetto area.) I would take my friends to dance at parties held in the area to entertain the guests and, in turn, get paid for our ‘service.’ I knew that I was going to make a good businessperson.

However, my mother and other friends wanted me to study law because they felt I was confident and outspoken. Because of them, I knew I wanted to study law and become a businessperson. But I never knew that I was going to be a writer. I found that out when I was older, in secondary school.

What significant experience did you have that made you become a writer?

I went to a boarding school, and a girl decided to befriend me. We became friends, as I am naturally amiable and don’t cast people away. At some point, we decided to buy food from public restaurants, as we found it more delicious than the cafeteria meals. What I didn’t know, however, was that this girl had been paying for those meals by stealing money from students. She had deceived me by claiming she was from a wealthy home.

People assumed I was an accomplice when she was caught since she was my friend. Despite my friends’ pleas, who trusted me, the matron sent both of us home on a Thursday. During that weekend, my mom spoke words of affirmation to me, and when I came back that Sunday, she made sure that the matron made a public apology for me in front of the school to clear my name.

When I went back to my hostel room, I started writing letters to my mum about daily events happening to me in school. During one of my visiting days, my mother applauded my letters, saying it was like “storytelling” to her. She then made letter writing a weekly “punishment” for following a supposed rich girl around.

I started writing and noticed that I enjoyed it because it came so easily to me, and my mother enjoyed it. It made me realise I could connect with people through writing. This happened in JSS 2.

JSS 2 is relatively young! So, would you say that your love for writing kicked off the DANG community?

Yes, that, and also what I had observed concerning the subjugation and segregation of women. All my life, I had lived in a bubble where women were just allowed to ‘be’. However, when I started working in the oil and gas industry, I realised this wasn’t the case for other women. The roles for men are not the same as the roles for women.

The more I saw these things, the more I realised that I could not be silent. I had to say something.

Also, I usually write recaps of my outings with friends, and they realised that I could pinpoint crucial details they did not notice. This made me aware that I was observant, and I tended to write those observations down in my quiet time.

DANG came to life in 2015 when I decided to share my journey openly, hoping to inspire others to embrace their own stories without fear. I poured everything out for the world to see – the highs and lows, triumphs and slip-ups, gorgeous and tough moments. I kept nothing back. After a year of laying it all out there, I took a short break, only to pick my pen back up in 2016, ready to continue sharing my path.

After some time, I realised that my stories positively impacted people. They began to reach out and share their stories, too. It took a while because it wasn’t the norm, unlike writing about celebrity news or fashion gossip, which quickly gained traffic. It was just mostly about bringing our wholesomeness to the fore. But it did catch up with me just writing stories anonymously. It has now grown to include women writing their own stories and commenting without shame, which is beautiful.

Why were you anonymous when you first started DANG?

I believed that what was necessary was our story. Everyone should be able to come forward with their story without their faces. I did not want my life to be out there at the time to place full priority on the storytelling of women so that we can evolve, thrive, learn, and laugh together. I didn’t think it was necessary at all. Until today, I believe that is why I have the brand we have – the ability to continue our conversations without a face to them.

What made you reveal yourself?

It was for three reasons. The first reason was an email from someone threatening to expose my face. One of the things I hate is for people to tell my story for me. I believe that no one can tell my story better than I can, and I also didn’t want my face to trend without my permission in some gossip blog. I knew I had to put myself out there to control my narrative.

The second reason was my skincare company, DANG Lifestyle. I knew that for people to connect with the product, I needed to show them the progression of my skincare journey over the years. I wanted people to understand the product’s authenticity without “fake before and after” photos.

With those two things happening simultaneously, I saw it as a fantastic opportunity to come out and reveal myself. But even then, I still decided not to post pictures regularly. My coming out was just to own my narrative, not to post photos of myself.

How did you make a full-fledged, thriving community out of DANG?

I would say that I was intentional about it. When I started writing, I wrote as if I were writing to my friends. Today, no one acts superior in the community because, from the beginning, everyone was treated as equals. The goal was to have a safe space for women to come to, regardless of who you are. That has been widely accepted, so much so that an oil and gas MD could chat with a fruit juice seller in the comments, and nobody checks who is talking. We have formed a space where no one is better than anyone else.

Even if the person is popular, it doesn’t matter because I created a space where I didn’t act like I was better than anyone else. All of us are trying to figure life out, so let’s figure it out together. There is nothing women like more than a place where they feel safe and comfortable speaking their minds. Women thrive in such areas.

I also made it a duty not to accept toxicity in the community. Comments deemed inappropriate, abusive, or judgmental were immediately called to be checked. We have maintained this to date, and women see this is unlike other communities. And they come to stay.

What was the turning point for DANG when it started to get known?

It was always a continuous process. Looking back, I see that it was never a sudden growth. It has always been so gradual, and I am grateful for this anyway. I can’t pinpoint one thing. Today, we could have gained 10 new followers, and the next day, 50. I continue to do the work because quality reigns supreme. Having millions of followers cannot be equated with having quality followers.

Of all the stories you have read since 2016, which stories struck you the most, and what lessons have you learned?

This community has made me a better person. People thank me for what I do but don’t realise how much I learnt from them. I learned so much because I had lived in a bubble for so long. I didn’t see much regarding the maltreatment of women, even though I had heard of it. This community made me know what women go through, how diverse they are in their storytelling and the decisions they make after they tell their stories. It made me a better person in terms of my knowledge of gender issues, as well as more understanding and empathetic towards the plight of women.

One recent story that stuck out for me was that of a girl I call ‘Baby Tee.’ She had a drug problem and had written to me saying, “Ife, I heard you are in the UK, but I can’t come. I have been having issues with drug abuse, and now I am in rehab. I’m sorry, I can’t come.” She didn’t ask me to come, but I came anyway. I had to cut my holiday one day short in Budapest to see her at the rehabilitation centre and for other reasons. Sitting down with her and seeing how happy she was that I came gave me joy. She also had screenshots of people’s good wishes for her printed and pasted all over her wall. She mentioned that when she sees those comments,  it gives her life and hope to start anew. I can never forget her.

She is out of rehab now and has returned to her law firm. She’s thriving. This story is relatively recent (2022), but it also struck a chord in me about how women can lift each other up from whatever hole we dug ourselves in.

If we make up our minds to do it, we will definitely do it.

I have seen so many examples. Baby Tee’s story touched me and made me firmly resolve to continue telling women’s stories.

As someone who has followed your community for years, I realise many of the stories shared are sensitive. How do you get people to trust you with such stories?

I think it was three things. One is saying the truth about myself and others, which I say in love and am not ashamed of. I make sure to be sensitive to other people. We all make mistakes, but I constantly reinforce that we must grow despite the hugs and laughs. And I do this out of love, not judgment. This has helped and endeared me to many of my community members.

The second thing is intention. No matter what you do, you cannot hide your intentions for too long. The intentions that I started with are still there to date—telling the stories of women, helping people, letting women grow and thrive (while doing it with kindness), and listening to people. People can still see this; that hasn’t changed despite the growth.

Thirdly, the stories are told not only to seek my advice but also the advice of the community members. Some people write their stories and say, “I trust that the women in the community can give me quality advice.” This takes us back to growing a quality community, not one of quantity. So, I took all that time to ensure that the posts I was putting out were for the people in my community. It took some time to catch up, but we had at least 80% of those types of women when it started catching up. And that’s enough for me.

Let’s move to DANG Lifestyle, your skincare product and home fragrance company. How and why did you start the business?

With me, there is always a backstory. The DANG Lifestyle company started with scented candles first. I like to smell great, and my environment smells excellent, too. I thought, “Since I like scented candles, why don’t I make them?” I then asked the women if they liked scented candles, and I got excellent responses. So I got a candle maker, and we worked together and released a candle line. However, COVID-19 happened, and the business shut down.

But during that period, I was thinking hard about my next course of action. I had made 600 pieces of candles that sold out fast before I closed my business. I then thought about making more candles as I realised the business thrived. We also talked about skincare in the community and how the skincare products Nigerians use are made for Caucasians and tested for their weather only and not for us. We didn’t have products we made and tested for us and our climate. I then thought this was a massive opportunity for me to step in. I had the capital to start a skincare company for people with melanin skin. Why can’t I? Why not?

I then gathered the community members to announce my intentions to start a skincare brand and request testers, and they applied. Today, we have up to 5,000 people who are testers, and they all come from the community. That’s how DANG Lifestyle started. There are still more products to be made, as it is not to be restricted to skincare or fragrance products alone. It’s a thriving community company.

Amazingly, people could trust you enough even to become testers for your product…

You see this trust thing? I won’t lie to you; it puts much pressure on me. People trust me so much that it feels like I can do no wrong. There’s this pressure to be correct all the time. I don’t succumb to it, but I acknowledge that it is there.

My fear is – what happens to me if I fall out of grace? Would I be forgiven? Would they acknowledge the fact that I am only human?

Feeling the weight of responsibility isn’t just part of being the leader of the DANG community and CEO of DANG Lifestyle; it’s about ensuring our products hit the mark every time. I’m well aware that no single skincare product suits everyone. Yet, because of the trust placed in me, people often buy products on my recommendation.

The thought that keeps me up at night is, “What if a product doesn’t work for someone, and it leads to disappointment?” My community’s trust in me means they’re willing to try what I suggest, but the fear of letting even one person down is real. This pressure, self-imposed though it may be, challenges me to face the possibility of making mistakes and whether I can still hold the trust and acceptance of my community despite them.


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A post shared by Dang! (@danglifestyle_)

Would you say that this pressure is one of the challenges of running your community?

No. It’s a pressure, but I can’t be that person because I can’t be righteous or 100% correct. I have also told my own stories of when I have made mistakes. So they know that I have never assumed the role of Ms. Perfect. This is, however, a pressure that I put upon myself.

What would you consider challenges for DANG Lifestyle and the community?

For DANG Lifestyle, I would say it’s the refusal of customers to read. We have written instructions at the back of our product packaging and website, but because of their familiarity with me, they feel the need to ask me questions already on the website. Usually, they wouldn’t do that if this business wasn’t borne out of a community. DANG Lifestyle has at least four aestheticians who consult for our customers. But they don’t go to them; they come to me! I have hired people to do the job; why are you asking me?

I would say this is the downside of having a close community where people feel so close to you; for that reason, they come to you even though I have over 45 staff. That, again, is a lot of work and pressure. We have over 700,000 members, and I cannot answer everybody. Because of this, people who don’t get my answers or replies get upset. It also upsets me because not only have we grown, but I have also gotten much busier than I used to be.


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A post shared by Dang! (@danglifestyle_)

The challenge we face with the DANG community is turning a virtual community into a physical one. I know that everyone, including myself, has been busy, but we have to interact physically in the real world at some point. It’s something that I am a little scared of because the virtual community is enormous on its own, and when it becomes physical, there’s every chance that the community will be massive. This seems like a lot of responsibility on my shoulders. How do I manage this without disappointing people? But we don’t have a choice. We have to do this.

Navigating misunderstandings comes with the territory, especially when your words reach far and wide. For example, during election time, I playfully cautioned our community against basing votes on a candidate’s looks, urging them not to “look at how handsome a candidate is before voting, but know the candidate’s track record, and use that to judge.”. This light-hearted advice unexpectedly sparked a larger reaction, drawing criticism mainly from those outside our circle who might not be familiar with our casual banter. While it seemed some were just waiting for me to slip up, I realized the importance of context and timing in humour. I apologized and clarified my intentions, acknowledging that those who know me understood the jest was not a dig at anyone’s discernment. Misinterpretations are part of having a voice that reaches many, and while not everyone will get the joke, it’s all part of the journey.

What solutions are you taking towards these problems?

For DANG Lifestyle, I tell them to visit the website or contact customer care. I don’t do this for everyone, but I sometimes take screenshots and send them to customer care. A representative then reaches out to them. This way, they know that “Oh, Ife doesn’t have time to answer. Next time, I go to customer service.”

I tell the community to jokingly go to the dang lifestyle page, customer care email, or live chat to share their issues. A prompt on my page also refers people with DANG lifestyle inquiries to customer care. With this, people are gradually beginning to see DANG Lifestyle as an entity of its own.

For the community, we plan to host a DANG Women Fest in April to bring these women together under one roof. Again, it’s daunting, but we will do it. Also, there’s a travel club I want to start with a minimum of 100 women from the community. That way, we can network and see each other physically.

What would you say are the most prominent challenges women face in advancing their careers?

It’s believing that they deserve it, and that’s the biggest challenge. I feel like the moment women become aware that they deserve everything they dream of, they will ask for more. Women don’t negotiate as much as men or talk about themselves as much as men do. Imagine being in a meeting, and a man tells you what he has done. Half of it may not be accurate, but he would sell himself well. However, a woman would be concerned about being boastful. We push ourselves down a lot; we don’t hype ourselves enough. That’s the challenge.

Every time a woman asks for what she deserves, she grows and becomes successful. Ask for what you want, put yourself forward, and don’t be shy about your achievements. I am happy to see more women doing this recently.

What would you consider your most significant achievements for the DANG community and lifestyle company?

For the community, it’s how the stories seem to influence and change people’s lives and mindsets. I cannot count how many times people have come to thank me for sharing this story or that story from early 2017 to date, every day. That’s a lot of power right there. It is a gift that God has given me – the ability to touch someone’s life every day.

For the past two years, we have also done the DANG 20 Days of Christmas, giving money to startups to boost their businesses. I was amazed when we did it the first time and saw the responses and the happiness of people getting the money. Seeing their enthusiasm to apply for the grants and how community members were excited to watch their videos and watch for them significantly impacted me. I decided that this would be done every year.

We did it in 2023 and will do it again in 2024. It is a massive achievement for me—gathering powerful women to fund the grant and helping other women.

For DANG Lifestyle, it is incredible that for a company that has not done any major campaign or onboarded major influencers, we have sold over 400,000 units of our products in 3 years. We are just doing the work and selling our products. Most of these buyers are from the community. It’s a massive achievement because few small businesses can boast 400,000 units sold without a significant campaign or billboards.

DANG Lifestyle products

What advice would you give a woman looking to start an online community and business?

Understand your why. You cannot pretend for long. If your intentions are only to make money, people will find out. No one likes to have things advertised for so long without value. So you must ask yourself, “Am I creating a community just to make money?”

If you are, you must change your mindset and determine the value you are giving your community. They have to be confident and comfortable there, so much so that they can do things for you without asking. Your first thoughts must always be on service and how to give value to your community. Then you’ll see things come back to you.

What is a day in Ifedayo’s life like?

I would first wake up, pray, and check emails. No matter what, those two things must happen because God, who has significantly shown up in my life, has to be given all the glory for everything constantly. Sometimes, I forget to pray and study my Bible, but I continually try to improve.

Then I start work. I talk to suppliers and deal with staff, both the community and lifestyle company staff. I have to attend meetings and speaking engagements. It is a lot and can be unpredictable, but these things certainly happen almost every day.

How do you make time for your personal life?

I spend as much time as I can with friends and loved ones. I try to be very present, even laughing and gisting on the phone. Outside of all of this is real life, and these are the people who will stand by me when nobody is there. For my trust circle, I make it a duty to check up on them. Not all my friends are in that circle, but I need to be there for them.

A hobby I love is travelling. I have travelled quite a bit around the globe and love to travel with my family, especially my nieces and nephews. They make me laugh so much. My nieces and nephews give me so much joy when they leave that I remember how free and light-hearted I was with them.

Ifedayo Agoro

How do you prioritise your mental and physical health?

For mental health, I am learning to pause. When I pause, I can think clearly. I take issues to my friends and family and ask for their advice because I don’t have all the knowledge in the world. I have realised that the world will not end in the moment of pause. DANG Lifestyle and Community will always be there. I don’t respond to emails, DMs, or phone calls when I am at that moment. I stop. And I look inward to take care of myself in the way that I need it at the time. Then I continue to go on. That helps me find a centre for myself.

Keeping up with my fitness routine is a real battle for me. There are days I hit the gym, and days I just can’t make it. I dream of getting into a groove where I work out consistently, aiming for five days a week. I’m not there yet, so I haven’t shared much about my fitness journey with the community. I’m setting a goal to stick with this routine for two solid months before I feel confident enough to talk about consistency. I definitely need to step up my game in this department.

If you were not a writer, entrepreneur, or community manager, what role would you take in your second life?

If I could pick a different path, I’d be a travel journalist or blogger. The idea of jet-setting around the globe, soaking in new sights, and sharing stories about the cool spots I discover and the interesting folks I meet sounds like a dream. As long as there’s adventure and fun involved, you’d find me doing just that in some alternate universe, as the saying goes.

Ifedayo Agoro



  • ChiAmaka Dike

    Chiamaka is the Features Editor at Marie Claire Nigeria. She is a woman who is passionate about God, women, and top-notch storytelling in all formats. Send all feature pitches her way - chiamaka@marieclaire.ng

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