Abby Adesanya, Founder of Novella
Abby Adesanya, founder of Novella, is a natural born writer living her best life in NYC. Her truest passion of story telling has always aligned with her full-time gig in marketing. BUT, that wasn't enough for Abby. She worked hard to turn the improvisation and theatrics into a successful side hustle, hosting events that sell out in just minutes! If you don't already know about this equal rights activist and powerhouse female- you're about to.
Abby, how did you find your Voice?
As a kid, I was always talking. I would talk to anyone and anything. I wasn’t afraid of chatting up strangers, which was problematic, and my mom was always shouting “keep it down!” from her bedroom in the mornings because I’d just be talking to my stuffed animals while I put on my uniform. So, I pretty much have always had something to say.
I think writing was a way give rhythm to the words I was always sprouting out - I would come up with wild stories about kid detectives or girl wizards, sometimes princesses or gifted witches. It felt like traveling in a way, and I really enjoyed getting out of my own world for a while.
Can you tell us what inspired you to create Novella and why it was important for you to create something like this?
I created Novella because when I moved to New York after college, I realized I had stopped making time for the things that I loved - and that main love was writing. I also think there is something very unique and unifying all at once about the female experience and it’s so important to gather in spaces like ours where we can learn from one another. And although I think I spend a lot of time building these experiences now, I think knowing that women are writing and sharing together fulfills me in the way that I was searching for all along.
Novella is relatively a young brand, but so successful and recognized by the public - what would you say has been your greatest accomplishment so far?
My greatest accomplishment thus far is the community we have started to build. I cannot explain walking into the salon every month and seeing such a diverse group of faces - new faces, old faces, faces of every age, color, background, all women of every identity. It makes me so happy that Novella truly feels like the inclusive space we intended it to be. If anything, that is our biggest win.
Have you heard anything from one of your writing clubs that has moved you and the community to tears or just make you go “ugh” as if it’s tugging your heart strings? If so, can you describe the piece?
The salons are definitely emotionally vulnerable places! We’ve had six salons so far and each of our Selected Speakers have been incredibly moving in their own emotional ways, I don’t think the whole room has cried yet. But, going around watching the second phase of our salons, the breakout sessions, I have for sure witnessed a tear or two, peals of laughter and joy, and overall waves of happiness of being together.
Personally, I’ve loved our member Leeann Duggan’s poem about living in the aftermath of difficult things, and 100% shed tears listening to it her read it at Ludlow House!
How would you say your day-job as a marketer has influenced your work with Novella?
My career in marketing has definitely informed what works and what doesn’t work on getting people to understand your message. There’s a lot of conversations out there and to be heard means you have to be very specific. A lot of people think that Novella’s idea came to fruition easily and it certainly did not - and even when Novella was finalized as the idea it is today, I still didn’t think anyone would care! But I think it’s about timing, it’s about the message, and it’s about the substance. I think marketing has helped me keep a laser focus on all those things.
What do you hope Novella evolves into in the coming years?
I hope Novella grows into itself as a source and platform for emerging women’s voices. I hope we can continue to create experiences where women can connect online and offline to share stories with one another, whether that is through more intimate gatherings like salons or larger initiatives, whether in size or reach, that we hope to premiere sometime in the future.
Interview by Chary and Emily