Meet the Founder of Melia by Jade | Exclusive Interview
Melia by Jade is making great strides in the fashion industry in Nigeria. One of those brands that you just want to keep stocking in your closet and never get tired. Founded by a beautiful, hardworking and tenacious woman by the name Jadesola Rawa. Let’s meet her…
- Please introduce yourself and your background.
Jadesola Rawa is the founder of Melia By Jade, a clothing brand that uses Adire, Tie & Dye, Kampala, Batik to design contemporary outfits such as Shorts, Jackets, Playsuits, Cape dresses, Pants etc for the modern-day woman.
She is the mother of a very precocious seven-year-old who shares her passion for clothes and art. With the use of Adire, Jadesola is fulfilling a life-long passion for beautiful clothes as well as contributing to preserving an art form that has been in existence for centuries.
She is passionate about building a brand that mixes art with wearability; making every woman see the fun, sexy side of herself.
- Tell us about your work. How did Melia by Jade start?
Melia By Jade started around August 2016. It came from an idea I had in Dec 2015 when a very lovely white lady expressed an interest in an old Adire robe that I had on while on holiday in Dubai.
I promised to make a piece and send back to her in the UK…and Melia By Jade basically took flight from me trying to fulfil that promise.
- How did you come about the name and what does it mean?
Melia came from the hotel I stayed in at Dubai…the Melia chain of hotels. And when I did a little research into it, I found out that Melia means “feminine beauty”. Something ethereal. 😊
- What is your niche and how did you know it was a market to get into?
Adire, Batik, Tie/Dye, Kampala…we work only with fabrics in this group. We have used only these fabrics strictly, but will be launching a diffusion line soon where we mix these fabrics with other materials to create even more beautiful pieces.
I believe I was drawn to batik because of my love for Art. I love ART. I love paintings…and batik is really a work of art. Its as simple as that. I guess that is why our tagline is…” Wearable African Art”
- Where do you find the inspiration for your products?
From everything really. From the things I love to wear. I don’t do “trends”. I love classic items you can have in your wardrobe for years.
I find inspiration in everyday things…I love shorts…so why not make shorts from adire? I love pants…why not make the cargo pants? Every beautiful thing I see inspires me…a burst of colour, a piece of fabric, etc.
- Can you remember one of the first products you made? What makes it memorable?
I made a robe…then decided to make a skirt with the rest of the fabric. I think the fabric was the memorable part of this.
The uniqueness of the colours…the art of it. Its one of my favourite fabrics till date. I have not seen anything that compares…
- What are the challenges you face in your business?
Hmmmmmm…. structure! Putting structure in place. The business side of it. I love making these pieces. I was so bad about the business (money-making) side of it for a long time. I am still bad. But I am getting better. (covers face)
- Do you have any regrets venturing into this line of business?
Not at all. I have ALWAYS loved clothes. I always knew I would do something with clothes/fashion. I knew it wasn’t just retail.
I love the process of creating something out of nothing. That was what drew me to TV…and that’s what I love about what I do now.
- What is your most popular product?
I would say the “Ajoke Shorts”. I get people saying to me all the time…”I love your shorts.
They are my motivation to lose weight” That always makes me happy. Why not be chic and healthy? And I love the fact that women who are usually concerned about how they would look in shorts and things like that are now just happy to buy and wear a pair. (Maybe because they are also the cheapest in our product range as well? 😊)
- To what extent do you draw upon your Nigerian (African) heritage for your work?
Our fabrics are all local. Both the ones we buy from Nigeria and another African country. Tailors, etc are all local. Packaging, branding, all done by Nigerians. I am VERY proud of this.
As apart of my aim with the business is to empower others.
- What are your goals for the future, both work wise and life?
I want to succeed at what I do…be it Melia or any other business(es) I birth. I want to raise my daughter to be a decent human being.
With the right values. I want to empower her, so she faces life head-on with no fears. I want to be able to help others as much as I can. I want to make heaven…😊
- What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I am a homebody. I genuinely don’t like going out. Dressing up and having to attend a function is really a chore for me. I avoid it as much as I can.
- What profession would you be in if you weren’t into fashion?
TV production. Which is what I did a short while back. I would do it some more someday…for sure!
If you could give one piece of advice to youths who want to start their own company, what would it be?
JUST DO IT!!! What’s the worst that could happen. You fail. You dust yourself up and you start again.
Don’t be afraid to change directions. If something doesn’t work, sit, pray, reflect and start on a new path with a clean slate.
- And finally, please share images of some of your work.