Meet the Founder of Yasmin Crafts [Exclusive Interview]

Meet the Founder of Yasmin Crafts

I had the utmost pleasure of meeting this beautiful soul during the ACE Awards 2021, where she won the category for the best home & lifestyle brand. I was beyond awed at her graciousness, humility and positivity that she radiated at every point. Hence why I am honoured and thrilled to meet the Founder of Yasmin Crafts in this exclusive interview.

Meet the Founder of Yasmin Crafts
Hamsatu Aliyu-Afegbua – Founder of Yasmin Crafts
*To know more about the products, simply click on the images*

With no further ado, let’s meet the Founder of Yasmin Crafts for an exclusive interview.

Please Introduce yourself and your background.

My name is Hamsatu Aliyu-Afegbua and I’m an architect and hand-crafter. By the grace of God, I juggle 2 businesses: Eden Signature Limited, an Architectural and Interior design firm as well as Yasmin Crafts Limited which is my handicrafts business. Both of them are situated in Abuja, Nigeria. I am a graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria with an M.Sc in Architecture. I also hold a certificate in Entrepreneurship Management under the EDC, from Lagos Business School.

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

We produce handcrafted products in the form of furniture, home decor and multi-purpose baskets. We use locally available raw materials to create these products. The brand Yasmin Crafts was born to satisfy the need for a custom crafts provider that could give better quality handcrafted products in Abuja.

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

Yasmin” is my proposed first daughter’s name. The “crafts” I derived from the general term “handicrafts” which is the term used to describe our niche.

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

My niche is Handicrafts. Known by some as Arts and Crafts. Living in Abuja for over 2 decades, I came to realise there was no craft maker who could skillfully add on accessories like real leather, fabric, logos, and art on products to enhance them. Most of the attempts to customise crafts, that I saw by the roadside or in the local markets did not turn out looking too good. One day, I decided to buy the basket from the market and then, customise it to my taste. It turned out great and everybody asked me where I bought the customised basket from.

The rest is history. 3 years down the line, here we are 😊. I started out with baskets and decor and within a year into the business, we had begun furniture production.

WhiteLaundryH by the Founder of Yasmin Crafts

Lidded Laundry Hampers by the Founder of Yasmin Crafts

*The Lidded Laundry hamper with removable liner is available in 5 different colors including natural, you can tuck this hamper away in a corner of your bed or bath room and keep those clothes off the floor.*

Wicker Planter by Yasmin Crafts

Wicker Planter by Yasmin Crafts

Wicker Planter by Yasmin Craft

*These stunning natural wicker planters are a nice way to add interior plants into your home. They come with bottoms designed to drain water away from the plant pot you intend to place inside the basket. Great for both real and faux plants.*

Where do you get inspiration for your products?

From my imagination and from observing the needs in the market. I sketch ideas down and develop them. I also draw inspiration from nature.

Another source of inspiration is listening to feedback from our customers, especially negative feedback. We take the feedback and examine our way of doing things as a business. We change what we can and fix what we can’t.

I tell my entire team that here at Yasmin Crafts, customer service is not just one department, it is all of us. Working as a team and sharing feedback has helped us grow as a business.

Natural Lani trunk Size 20 by 15 by 10 inches by Yasmin Crafts
Natural Lani trunk

 

*Giving gifts are an essential part of life and relationships. The packaging container is what will be seen first, so make it a memorable time for the person who is receiving it. This trunk is a classy woven gift box that you can be proud of placing your luxury gifts in.*

Lani Trunks by Yasmin Crafts

*With the high quality interior lining be ready to wow your recipients and make a great impression.  You can’t go wrong with this as your choice of container when it comes to gifting. The best part is, the gift recipient can use the trunk as an extra storage, extra seating to give another gift or even as a decorative piece afterwards!*

Lani Trunks by Yasmin Crafts

Can you remember one of the first products you made?

Yes. It is a 2 tone coiled raffia basket that I made to store my small jewellery pieces in. I was just learning how to weave at the time, and I had to push myself to try and finish it. I’m very proud of that basket.

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

Lack of funds to expand our production. Buying large scale woodworking equipment and conducting more research on product development.

Do you have any regrets about venturing into this business?

Not at all.

What is your most popular product?

Our Aisha set of 3 multi-purpose baskets is one of our best sellers. This is because they can serve a multitude of purposes like storage, home organisation, home decor and gifting purposes.

Aisha baskets are available in 2 designs: a Plain basket with no fabric lining and our fabric lined baskets.

AISHASet3 by Yasmin Crafts

 

*Customised Aisha storage baskets. These gorgeously lined baskets can serve a wide variety of purposes. They come in 3 different fabric lining as pictures unless you say otherwise. There is a touch of Ankara to symbolise Africa.*
AISHAset2 by Yasmin Craft

Top uses among our customers for these baskets include:

  • Making a set of gift hampers with each basket.
  • Decluttering table tops.
  • Storing small items.
  • Displaying products for sale at a store.
  • Using them as a tray for serving snacks.
  • Hanging them as a wall decor basket.
  • Styling a shelf or console.

These baskets are dry use only, please note.

AISHASet1 by Yasmin Crafts

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

We spice things up with touches of popular Nigerian cultural items like sewing beadwork on the handles of our baskets. We also make use of African fabrics to customise our baskets, decor and furniture.

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

Short term, we hope to be able to invest in large scale woodworking machinery and power tools that will help scale up production and cater for the time demands of our customers. Handcrafting is a slow process, having the right machinery speeds things up.

In the long run, we hope to expand our sales and grow the naira through large scale exports. Promoting quality African crafts all over the world is another long term goal we hope to achieve through expanding our locations.

For my goal in life, I’ll say I hope to be recorded in the history books as the founder of a premium Nigerian lifestyle brand that created employment for millions of women We currently employ a majority of women in our workforce and we intend to keep it that way.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I do some of the metal and carpentry work at Yasmin Crafts.

Ladder shelf, with 4 baskets by Yasmin Crafts

 

*This handy piece of furniture helps you save space. With varying sizes of storage baskets, you can organise and display products or decor items on these ladder shelf. Ladder shelves makes for an eye catching display and are great for small spaces where you need a tall storage option. Available in 3 colors: Dark brown, Black and White.*

Ladder shelf, with 4 baskets by Yasmin Crafts

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

I would be in the building profession, which I am already privileged to have been doing long before I founded Yasmin Crafts.

If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who wants to start their own business in your industry, what would it be?

Learn the skill of crafting if you can. Knowing how to make your own products or some of them, is definitely an added advantage.

Take your failures as a part of the success to come.  It may take a lot of time, and you will have to be committed and disciplined to be able to launch and sustain a business in hand-crafting.

It has been an absolute pleasure having this exclusive interview and getting to meet the Founder of Yasmin Crafts.

To connect with Yasmin Crafts, you can follow and contact her via:

Instagram: yasmincrafts

WhatsApp: +234 901 0909 292

Office Address: Suite 15, Okanga plaza, Idris Gidado Street, Wuye, Abuja. (Open Mondays to Saturdays 10 am to 6 pm).

 

Meet The Founder Of Ile Ila #Exclusive Interview

Hey there!

It’s been a minute. I just checked the date of my last published article and I myself was wowed! But hey! Let’s leave the past in the past shall we?

I was opportune to have an exclusive interview with the founder of an amazingly awesome furniture design brand called IlĂŠ IlĂ . The fist time I came across the brand was during the Bellafricana ACE Awards 2018 in Lagos, Nigeria, and I can remember just standing and staring at these sets of beautiful furniture made with Aso Oke. They were so colorful, looked very comfortable and all I could say to myself was, ”Oh wow, this is art!”

This interview gave me more insight to what this brands stands for, why they do what they do, and some of the challenges they face as a business. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Ladies and Gentlemen, I introduce to you, Tosin Oshinowo, Founder and Creative Director of Ile Ila.

Please introduce yourself and your background

My name is Tosin Oshinowo. I am an Architect and run a design practice in Lagos, Nigeria called cmDesign Atelier. I am also a product designer and run a lifestyle furniture line called Ile Ila.

Tell us about your work. How did Ile Ila start?

Ile Ila, is a lifestyle furniture line designed and hand-made in Lagos, Nigeria. The brand design period-conscious furniture with a contemporary African content.

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

IlÊ-Ilà, means House of Lines in Yoruba,

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

Our business is focused on accent chairs and ottomans. we really focused on the celebration and capsulation of Culture.

Where do you get the inspiration for your products?

We get our inspiration from everything around us. In particular we have a thing for color and textures and there is so much variety with Aso Oke.

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

One of the first chairs I made is still in my home. It’s an assortment of purple and lilac Aso Oke. It is really is one of the reasons who I got into the idea of color combination.

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

Biggest challenge has been scaling up of production due to capital costs of the carpentry machinery. Currently, production is slow due to the machinery available, if we can scale up we can reduce time and reduce production cost and pass this saving on the our customers.

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

Not at all. Because I have stayed in the realm of design and creativity both businesses feed off each other.

What is your most popular product?

It’s interesting but difficult to answer. different demographics like different things. All the chairs have done well but i can almost guess peoples preference if I know their background or gender. In terms of sales the Alaafia did exceptionally well.

Alaafia Rocker

 

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

We are all products of our experiences and exposures and it is this combination that is reflected in my work.

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

We really want to push international sales. right now it’s expensive to export and this pushes up the price. short term we want to add more furniture lines to the brand.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I don’t know how to tie gele….. and I hardly wear Aso Oke.

What profession would you be in if you weren’t in the Furniture Design industry?

I probably would have been a visual artist.

If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who wants to start their own business in your industry, what would it be?

Make sure you get your business properly registered and engage the services of an accountant from the start and make sure you pay your tax.

And finally, Here are some more images of pieces by IlÊ-Ilà

Alaafia

ORUN-3

ORUN-2

Aparo

Connect with Tosin on Instagram @ile.ila or send an email to [email protected] or you can call, 08023789728.

Follow us on Instagram @bell_africana for more amazing creative indigenous brands, and to fine out more about the beauty of Africa.

The Asooke Inspired Brands You Should Know

Aso Oke is a short form of Aso Ilu Oke also known as Aso-Ofi meaning clothes from the up-country. It is the traditional wear of the Yoruba’s (the tribe of the southwest people in Nigeria, Africa).

The Yoruba’s are the second largest tribe in Nigeria after the Northerners. Aso Oke is a popular cloth that is worn on special occasions by the Yoruba’s usually for chieftancy, festivals, engagement, naming ceremony and other important events.

It is said that “the beauty of Aso-Oke comes out more when it is taken as Aso-Ebi (group of people e.g. friends, families e.t.c)”, however Bellafricana verified members through their creativity have changed the narrative and are showing the beauty of Aso-Oke in interior decorations, fashion, shoes, bags and many more. You should click here to read the culled history written.

Lets meet these amazing business owners and brands…

Meet Bayo Ademiluyi, founder Ty Tys Design (click images below)

Bayo Ademiluyi, founder of Ty Tys Designs bellafricana member

Mr Bayo Ademiluyi is a lawyer by profession and Head of Design at Ty-Tys. Design (an asooke inspired brand) A company that produces hand-made distinctive neckwear (i.e. ties, bowties), pocket squares, laptop bags, ladies’ tote bags, wall hangings and scarves using traditional African fabrics, predominantly aso-oke.

Ty tys Design draws inspiration quite extensively from the Nigeria heritage, being that the main raw material is sourced from within the country and the ethos of the business is based on local culture and heritage.

Asooke inspired brand Ty Tys Design asooke laptop bag made in Nigeria Bellafricana verifiedAsooke inspired brand Ty Tys Design asooke bow ties, ties made in Nigeria Bellafricana verified

 

 

 

 

 

Asooke inspired brand Ty Tys Design made in Nigeria Bellafricana verified asooke patchwork

Meet Gbemi Johnson, founder O’Eclat Designs (click images below)

Gbemi-Johnson founder Oeclat bellafricana founder, made in Nigeria quality bags

O’Eclat Designs (pronounced O-eyklah) is a derivative of Oluwagbemisola and Eclat which means Style, confidence, distinction etc. She wanted a name that is not entirely eponymous and would not be too much hassle to register as a business name.

O’Eclat Designs is a Nigerian ethical leather handbag and accessories design label, birthed in 2010 by Gbemi Johnson.

Oeclat Mila bag asooke inspired brand made in Nigeria Bellafricana verified Oeclat Mila bag asooke inspired brand made in Nigeria Bellafricana verified Oeclat Mila bag asooke inspired brand made in Nigeria Bellafricana verified

 

Meet Tunde Owolabi, founder Ethnik (click images below)

Ethnik by Tunde Owolabi, an asooke inspired brand is about making aso oke accessible to the fashion-forward modern man and woman. Beyond accessibility and creating fashionable pieces for brand savvy trendsetter, Ethnik is about promoting culture and giving back to the community.

Ethnik believes that sustenance is the key to preserving our heritage. To this end, a core element of our social responsibility means we invest in our local artisans and create an enabling environment where they can continue to weave aso oke the way it is done traditionally, a skill that is passed down through generations.

Ethnik sneaker bellafricana verified asooke inspired brand made in NigeriaEthnik bucket bag bellafricana verified asooke inspired brand made in NigeriaEthnik by Tunde Owolabi laptop bag bellafricana verified asooke inspired brand made in Nigeria

Meet Tosin Oshinowo, founder Ile Ila (click images below)

Tosin Oshinowo, founder Ile Ila made in Nigeria furniture brand asooke inspired brand bellafricana verified

Ilé Ilà (translated “House of Lines”), an asooke inspired brand was started by Tosin Oshinowo in 2017 to celebrate her native Yoruba culture. It is a lifestyle furniture-line designed and hand-made in Lagos, Nigeria. They design period-conscious furniture with a contemporary African content, hand-made with love, in Lagos Nigeria.

Tosin Oshinowo, an Architect behind the design and execution of the Maryland Mall has a natural affinity towards product design. She is particularly interested in the functionality of chairs, but also placing them in a Nigerian-African context.

Ile Ila Made in Nigeria Chairs asooke inspied brand bellafricana verified Ile Ila Made in Nigeria Chairs asooke inspied brand bellafricana verified

 

 

 

Ile Ila Made in Nigeria Chairs asooke inspied brand bellafricana verified

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is a community without people? As for us at Bellafricana, we are so passionate about our league of talented creative members, and you should be too.

Interested in joining the community and getting your creative brand known by more customers? or know someone that should? Then email me at [email protected] cc [email protected] or call 08086363970.

CLICK TO BECOME BELLAFRICANA VERIFIED TODAY

For the love of asooke, have these products below

Oeclat Adire bag bellafricana verified made in Nigeria leather and adire bag

Moroks sneakers Moroks xpressions shoes asooke inspired brand made in Nigeria bellafricana verified

What really is this Bellafricana about? Bellafricana is the leading platform that empowers, supports and provides creative Indigenous Businesses with a platform to showcase their business and connect to their global consumers looking to patronise and trade with them.

Need quality creative products, think bellafricana!

What is your Mission: To Make Finding Quality Indigenous Businesses Easier.

But Why: We noticed a vast increase in the number of unique quality creative products made in Nigeria (Africa) but noticed a huge gap between local creative Indigenous Entrepreneurs and consumers.

Hence, we created this platform to bridge that gap. What better way than through online, which gives it a global opportunity.

Click here to Learn more about how to grow Your Unique Indigenous Business with Bellafricana

What if I just want to advertise on bellafricana website/newsletter? : That’s totally possible, just email [email protected], cc [email protected] or call 08086363970

A Made in Nigeria Chair that gives Inspiration – Ile Ila

Have you ever heard this popular saying by Shirley Chisholm that says “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair”?

Well I say, scratch the folding chair, bring an Ile ila chair, a proudly made in Nigeria chair that gives inspiration.

A wise man once said, ideas rule the world (Sam Adeyemi), and I couldn’t agree more.

Without ideas, you cannot create solutions to problems, you cannot even call yourself a creative, talk less an entrepreneur or intrapreneur.

Well, if ideas truly rule the world, where do you get inspiration from?

Most times I personally like to take a break from my space, go for exhibition, stay cations, vacations….you might even agree that an idea can fall on you anywhere!

Even when in the shower, yes? but you have never heard of you getting ideas from a chair.. right?

So I am here to introduce to you a proudly made in Nigeria chair by ILE ILA.

Wooosh, trust me, you will soon want to own yours!

First click let’s start by meeting the amazingly talented bellafricana verified founder, Tosin Oshinowo…

Here are some of the Ile Ila chairs;

ilĂŠ-IlĂ _House-of-Lines-adekunle-gold_bellafricana verified

Ile ila sofa bellafricana verified

Ile Ila chair and stool bellafricana verifiedIle ila chair and stool bellafricana verified made in Nigeria chair furniture brand Ile Ila inspirational chair bellafricana verified asooke chair Ile Ila inspirational chair bellafricana verified asooke chair

To contact Tosin of Ile Ila (mention you found her via Bellafricana),

Email: [email protected],

Call: 08023190946

Visit: www.ile-ila.com

Building Amazing Living Spaces With Quality Made in Nigeria Products

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”] Our living spaces or working spaces are a reflection of who we are. If you don’t believe this, just do an assessment of your day to day activities in relation with the environment you spend most of your time and the outcome there of.
There’s a saying that whatever good thing we build ends up building us – Jim Rohn. I absolutely agree with this as it applies to almost all aspects of our lives.
It is important to keep this in mind when we build or design the interiors of places we spend quality parts of our days. The ambience of a place adds to the quality of life. It helps in finding a balance between work, friends and family.
We understand this and believe you can achieve such with these suggestions for a perfect home makeover we have brought you… [/dropcap]
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Meet The Founder Of Tǽillo | Exclusive Interview

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”] It is with great pleasure I want you to meet Jumoke Dada, a lovely and focused lady who is the Founder and CEO of TÇ˝illo. Jumoke has a great vision for the future of Nigeria and Africa which she has translated into her furniture.
She makes exquisitely crafted furniture using Aso Oke and Ankara fabrics. These furniture forms one of the best use of creativity in aesthetic ambience, that I have come across where furniture is concerned.
Because these fabrics not only carry the essence of our African heritage but also comes in various beautiful colours, I will say, Jumoke has gifted us with a modern antique of our time. I know you want to meet this specially talented lady. Let’s meet her… [/dropcap]
Continue reading

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