Olasubomi Tolu-Ogunpolu is an artist, podcaster, entrepreneur and most importantly, my sister. I sat down with her to have a chat about her latest brainchild- a jewellery brand by the name of Ifeokan.
Q: First of all, for those who don’t know you, could you introduce yourself?
A: I’m Olasubomi but most people call me Shubby. I’m an artist, entrepreneur and I also have a podcast called MindGrown which you can find on Spotify. I run it with one of my friends (shout-out to Jess, @ja__jess); we discuss various topics as well as interview upcoming musicians so there’s always something to check out there. Apart from that, I’m a full time Geography and Economics undergraduate student. I’ve recently started a jewellery brand called Ifeokan where I sell my handmade jewellery.
Q: SO YOUR NEW VENTURE IS IFEOKAN? THAT’S A VERY UNIQUE NAME. WHY JEWELLERY AND WHY NOW?
A: Ifeokan is from the Yoruba language and it means ‘love from the heart’. The language is part of my culture and who I am, so it was quite important for it to be included with something that I start up with my own hands.
I’ve always liked making crafts and being an entrepreneur in general so it made sense to sell jewellery and I enjoy seeing other people wear or use what I’m create , so all of those factors went into creating Ifeokan.
Q: SO WHAT ARE YOU HOPING TO ACHIEVE THROUGH IFEOKAN?
A: I’m hoping to create an inclusive, encouraging and welcoming environment for both my customers; a community of people who can really be themselves and express their cultures and personalities.
Q: TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR PRODUCTS- THEY’E ALL DESIGNED AND HANDMADE BY YOU, RIGHT?
A: That’s right, they’re all handmade and designed by me and they all feature semi precious stones. The current collection is based on summer so it has quite a lot of bold, fun colours and classic shapes. They can be worn for a variety of occasions; to play, to work, to uni. Those are the kind of versatile products I wanted to create.
Q: WHAT’S YOUR DESIGN PROCESS? WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR INSPIRATION
A: I have a ton of mood boards that I regularly look at. I look at the seasons and different trends, thinking about what people would want to wear. For example, in the autumn or winter, people are usually more covered up, so I design with that in mind, thinking about what would be practical yet stylish to wear.
Q: SO YOUR DEBUT COLLECTION- WHAT’S THE STORY?
A: The story behind my debut collection is essentially summer. For one of the sets, I used freshwater pearls because they invoke a very coastal, seaside energy.
The pearl set was also very much inspired by classic ’90s fashion so I wanted to create something that was cool, yet casual which is maybe a strange juxtaposition.
I was also inspired by the mysterious, so I used Ancient Egypt as inspiration (I’ve been interested in Ancient Egyptian mythology since I was a child) and explored historical artifacts, jewellery and symbolism. You might recognise it in the ‘Drip’ Set which uses turquoise stones.
Q: WHO WOULD YOU LOVE TO HAVE WEAR YOUR PIECES?
A: I’ve created my products with inclusivity in mind so I don’t really have a blueprint or a particular ‘kind’ of person I’d want to wear my pieces; I try not to think about that because I feel that it can sometimes narrow down who I market to or who feels represented by my jewellery, but all in all, I’d like everyone to be able to wear my pieces
Q: FINALLY, WHICH THREE WORDS WOULD YOU USE TO DESCRIBE YOUR BRAND?
A: Practical, luxury and classic.