Exclusive Interview with Aderonke, Founder of Mimiremi Textiles

Exclusive interview with Aderonke Jaiyeola, founder of Mimiremi Textiles on Bellafricana

She had worked in the fashion industry for 7 years before re-focusing on textile design and became the founder of Mimiremi Textiles. Her long term goal is to build a digital pattern gallery with thousands of African designs that can be used on different surfaces.

She is the founder of Mimiremi Textiles. Let’s meet her


Please introduce yourself and your background 

My name is Aderonke Jaiyeola, I am presently based in Lagos, Nigeria. I grew up in a family of Fine artists, my dad is a graphics designer and painter while my mum is a graphics designer with specialization in Calligraphy. I have always been surrounded by creatives and it greatly influenced my decision to become an artists too. I enjoy watching the sunrise and sunset daily, I enjoy reading and researching on healthy foods and recipe.

Tell us about your work. How did your company start?

Presently, I am the head of Design Team and founder of Mimiremi Textiles, where we transform plain fabrics into beautiful work of art using eco-friendly ink and rhinestones. All our fabrics are designed and hand printed by skilled women I have trained over the years. I studied Fine Arts at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Osun state, Nigeria and specialized in Textile Design.

I worked in the fashion industry for 7 years before re-focusing on textile design and print. While still working in the fashion industry, I got a brief to design a collection of fabrics for a top fashion brand in Lagos, Nigeria. Excitedly I took up the challenge even though we were not taught how to create seamless patterns with corel draw, illustrator and other design soft wares, I spent hours learning on YouTube after I got the brief.

In school, we were taught batik, tie and dye , screen printing etc. The challenge propelled me to learn online and apply all I learnt to successfully implement the project. The fabrics became a bestseller for the brand and was featured on runways both local and international, in top magazines and worn by international models. The success story gave me the confidence to rebrand the business from a fashion brand to a textile design brand in 2016. Since then, Mimiremi Textiles has evolved with many best selling fabric prints and patterns.

Also Read: Meet The Founder of Aso Ibile Mi [Exclusive Interview]

How did you come about the brand name and what does it mean?

‘Mimiremi’ is from the Yoruba intonation on my name ‘Aderonke ‘ translated remimiremi. I decided to remove the first ‘re’ and use the Mimiremi only. I love it and chose it because it sounds fun, African and Artistic.

What is your niche and how did you know it was a market to get into?

In market segmentation, there is a place for research. For many years I researched on how to create a niche for Mimiremi Textiles, I asked questions and worked on solving the problem raised. For example, fashion designers really wanted to have their own ideas printed on fabric instead of using fabrics found in the Local market, a fabric design that is 100%t theirs. I decided to focus on helping designers solve this problem and we started out by creating designs locally but printing them on different fabrics with our partners in Asia. We ran this model for 2 years till it became unsustainable because of the constantly rising exchange rate.

We decided to start researching into how to print our designs on fabric locally and came up with 2 solutions- screen printing and stencil printing, it became an instant hit and we were able to create art work on clothings and fabrics using eco-friendly ink. The beauty of the technique is that we can print on as low as half a yard, we can print on fabrics and keep reprinting as many times as possible even if the designer comes back in 6 months or one year. I was also able to train women in my community to print and work in the studio

Where do you get the inspiration for your products

I love Africa and it reflects in my designs, most of my designs are influenced by the rich African culture that I love so much. My work is also influenced by nature’s beauty- flowers, sunset, butterflies and so much more.

Can you remember one of the first products you made? What makes it memorable?

I stumbled on a notebook/journal I made for my dad while in school, I used Batik on it and wrote ‘I love you Dad’ with acrylic paint. The day I saw it on my Dads table last year, I was amazed about how good it still looked after more than 16years. It was indeed memorable because that was my first line of business, using my batik designs as book cover and the fact that my dad kept it in his library for so many years.

What are some of the challenges you face in your business?

There are so many challenges facing small businesses in Africa especially Nigeria. One of the major challenge we faced is the unstable and rising exchange rate coupled with unfriendly government policies, it has made it very difficult to print our digital designs from Asia and also made it difficult to ship in our eco-friendly ink. The unstable power supply has also made it difficult for us to automate our printing process. The beauty of challenges anyway is that they make you think of a way around the problems and make you invent new ways of achieving results. We have been considering new ways of transferring our designs on fabric and clothing using a material we can easily source for locally, something that will appeal to our customers and which can also open up other markets for us. We are presently introducing our rhinestone designs to the market and the response has been great.

Do you have any regrets venturing into this line of business?

Not at all, it’s been challenging but a great learning experience.

What is your most popular product?

Our most popular product is our hand painted fabric but with the new product,(RHINESTONE on clothing and fabrics)we are introducing to the market, we foresee it will become a major best seller in the next one year.

To what extent do you draw upon your Nigerian (African) heritage for your work?

My African(Nigerian) heritage is rubber stamped in almost all my designs.

What are some of your short term goals and long term goals, both in your business and life in general

My short term goal is to build an interactive e-commerce store and pattern gallery that will incorporate at least 50 patterns and all our other products and services so as increase daily sales and annual turn over.

My long term goal is to build a Digital pattern gallery with thousands of African designs that can be used on different surfaces. I also want to go back to school for my PhD and also lecture in one of the top Art schools in the world.

What would people be surprised to learn about you

I hardly watch TV, I prefer reading and drawing.

What profession would you be in if you weren’t in this Industry?

Nutrition and healthy living therapist or a Teacher.

 If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who wants to start their own business in your industry, what would it be?
Never be afraid to ask your potential customers questions so as to be able to create a solution they will love to buy. Also keep researching on new updates in your industry and how to apply it to scale up your business.
Mimiremi Textiles handmade in Nigeria
Mimiremi Textiles handmade in Nigeria, bellafricana member

To connect with the foundrr of Mimiremi, you can follow and contact her via:

Instagram: Mimiremi

Whatsapp: 08034898474

Choose your Reaction!

Massive Progress in your Business

Subscribe to get the free guide and learn step-by-step exactly what you need to achieve your goals.