[dropcap custom_class=”normal”] I am really excited to introduce you to this gorgeous and amazing vibrant lady Rukayat Ositade, the founder of MyImani. MyImani is an ethno-tribal interior design brand that provides you with unique services in sourcing for rare ethnic artifacts suitable for interior decorations.
During our chat, Rukayat said Imani is a Swahili version of Iman, which means faith. In this interview with her, she shared a lot of interesting and some surprising details about herself.
I’m sure you’re curious to find out too. Come on, let’s meet her… [/dropcap]
Please introduce yourself and your background.
My name is Rukayat Ositade , I own MyImani, an ethno-tribal interior design brand based in Lagos. I love to explore and experience the unique and vast tribes of the world- the inspiration is exciting and endless.
I am also a bit of an art bug and as eclectic as they come- photography, writing, fashion, music, poetry, all influence my lifestyle and design theme. I have an MSc. in Innovation Management & Technology Policy with extensive customer focused and business administration work experience cross sector.
In my spare time, I volunteer and advocate for causes that are dear to me, I also enjoy the occasional meet up with friends for lunch or something fancy.
Please tell us about your work. How did MyImani start?
My work involves beautifying homes such that they nurture, support, welcome, affirm and inspire the occupants- I strongly believe every individual deserves an oasis of their own-hence the mission is to create, enhance and beautify your space such that it makes you, your family and guests feel present and comfortable.
The idea for MyImani started around 2007. I was going through the motions of life and quite frankly needed something fresh and exciting. I came up with a personal mood board and drew inspiration from my key strengths and lifestyle. That activity helped shaped my direction and validated my interest for interior design.
Where did the idea for MyImani come from? Where do you find the inspiration for your designs?
As I mentioned earlier on, I had identified my key strengths and organisational skills is one that stood out. Way before I knew about the concept of organised living, I was and still am an organised bunny.
I thrive on this quality and learnt that organised living really is a component of interior design. The inspiration for my designs is from art-life is art- I look out for the mundane things in my surroundings and expand on it to accommodate the design theme.
Of course tribal elements also provide inspiration, so depending on our travels and the cultures experienced, we are able to pull together certain elements and build a fresh and original design.
Can you remember one of the first things you crafted or first space you decorated? What makes it memorable?
The very first place I designed was a room I remodeled after moving homes- this was even before I had any serious consideration to start the business.
Although the room was a blank canvass, it was painted in a hideous and depressing blue, I just couldn’t live in it. On a shoe string budget, I went off and sourced new home accessories, bought fresh new paint plus painting tools, painted the room myself, and maximised the space- it all came together pretty well and in good time.
I’d never forget the shoulder pains I endured from the painting task!
How long does it take to design and make a particular work?
This would depend on a number of factors including scope of project, availability of materials, budget and sometimes the level of commitment displayed by potential clients.
What are the challenges you face in business?
There are the obvious infrastructure challenges like power and reliable internet access, but I also struggle with finding reliable, talented and quality driven crafts worker and artisans.
There are skilled workers without a doubt, but you find yourself spending valuable time micro managing and ensuring that the finished product reflects the original design.
What is your most popular item (include image)?
Our most popular item is the purple lace embellished pillow case. This is from our aso-ebi limited edition range- it’s an elegant piece and has inspired other designs which have been custom made at client’s order.
To what extent do you draw upon your Nigerian (African) heritage for your work?
When we travel from Lagos to other states in search of local arts and craft, we capture the very essence of our country – the history, culture and heritage.
What may ordinarily seem mundane, for us may just be what provides the inspiration for our next project-each picture and experience tells its own story first hand.
That’s why we are keen to work with more local craftsmen and artisans whose works exhibit skilled craftsmanship which projects the different tribes and culture.
What are your goals for the future, both work wise and life?
My goal is to grow the brand to international recognition and have our range of products available in leading departmental/home stores.
If we achieve set objectives on the work front, I’m sure life will be great- remember my job and life overlap .
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
There are a few surprises about me but what I often look back and find most interesting is the decision to go completely bald around 2009- I just had enough of my head full afro and cut it off. It felt liberating knowing that I could watch it grow back regardless of how long it took.
For someone who wishes to take up this kind of career, what kind of advice would you give them? Also, if you could give one piece of advice to youths who want to start their own company, what would it be?
I would say to them to be client focused, train your eyes to identify quality products and original designs- if possible secure an internship at a reputable design firm if not going through the educational route, expand your network and be opened to fresh ideas and new knowledge.
For anyone looking to start their company, I’d say just start. Register your business name, take yourself seriously, value your brand and others will. Define your vision and begin to build your brand around this.
More importantly, be original.
So there you have it beautiful people, another Nigerian entrepreneur forging her way forward diligently. Visit MyImani listing page on Bellafricana HERE
Want to employ MyImani Services or Buy some of their crafts, contact them here;
Email: [email protected] or