Throughout my journey with Bellafricana, I have been able to meet with and learn about amazing creatives, who have a thing for transforming the most normal and insignificant things and making them look absolutely beautiful. One of such creatives is Aderonke Jaiyeola. Founder of Mimiremi Textiles.
Read my exclusive interview with Aderonke below, to find out how she wound up in the arts, and how she has been able to create an awesome business out of her creativity.
- Please introduce yourself and your background.
I am Aderonke Jaiyeola, a textile designer. Studied Fine Arts at the Polytechnic Ibadan before proceeding for my degree programme at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. I love arts and anything that has to do with Creativity.
- Tell us about your work. How did Mimiremi Textile start?
As an artist, I specialized in textile design because I wanted an aspect of art that is very functional especially what people can easily relate with. As an undergraduate, I decided to learn fashion design so as to be able to produce finished clothing’s instead of fabrics only. During my NYSC, I started using the name Mimiremi Creations, designing and sewing my designs for a while before the regular sewing of other people’s fabrics distracted me for 7 years. From 2012, I started making efforts to practice textile design more and finally in 2016, I officially registered Mimiremi Textiles. It has been 2 years practising fully as a textile designer.
- How did you come about the name and what does it mean?
I wanted to use my name as the brand name but while playing around with the sound on my name, “Mimiremi” came up and I fell in love with it instantly because it reflects the Africanness in our prints.
- What is your niche and how did you know it was a market to get into?
My niche is textile design. Even though I studied textile design, I didn’t see the numerous opportunities till my experience in the fashion industry when I discovered that there is a need for custom made fabrics in the industry. With the booming fashion industry in Nigeria and our love for unique and stylish fabrics, the textile industry is surely a market to get into.
- Where do you find the inspiration for your products?
I love Nature. I love watching the sun set and the clouds dancing and mingling happily to show different shades of colors. I also get inspired by the everyday life and happenings around me especially our rich cultural heritage. I enjoy drawing African inspires designs.
- Can you remember one of the first products you made? What makes it memorable?
The first product I designed was 2 yards of hand painted heart shape mixed with African pattern on a silver grey linen fabric. It is memorable because I was longing to see my designs on fabric but because of lack of adequate funding, I had to work on different options and at a point it seemed un-achievable. I started sketching out the design on 2/yards of fabric and I kept on asking myself if I will be able to paint the whole length of 2/yards. Amazingly, I did and was able to sell within a short time to a customer that kept coming back for more hand painted fabrics. It gave me the validity I needed to set higher goals.
- What are the challenges you face in your business?
Power supply is a major challenge, our production output will greatly increase if there is stable power supply. Presently, the business is at a point when we want to scale up our product and services but it has not been easy because of access to funds with reasonable interest rate.
- Do you have any regrets venturing into this line of business?
Everyday has not been the same, each has been interesting and demanding but I have no regrets venturing into textile design
- What is your most popular product? (include image)
Our range of hand painted fabric is still our most popular product from our beautifully hand painted fabrics to the colourful hand painted T-shirts.
- To what extent do you draw upon your Nigerian (African) heritage for your work?
Most of my designs are greatly inspired by our rich cultural heritage, the most recent being “the Alujo Collection”, which is a reflection of the beautiful musical heritage of the Yoruba people of South-West Nigeria in 11 exquisite prints.
- What are your goals for the future, both work wise and life?
To build up the company to be able to employ at least 500/people that can independently function on its own so I can have more time for family, retire early and travel around the world for more inspiration.
- What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I come from a family with strong art interest. My Dad is a Graphics Artist/Painter while my Mum is also a Graphics Artist/ Textile designer.
- What profession would you be in if you weren’t in the textile design Industry?
Most likely, I will be either a Graphics designer or a Video Editor/Animator.
- If you could give one piece of advice to youths who want to start their own business, what would it be?