Gbenga Dada is the creative powerhouse of Cosmopolitan jewelry brand, Gbenga Artsmith Collections. An accessory brand dedicated to crafting beautiful jewelry for men and women. Continue reading
In the year 2015, Bellafricana digest started the exclusive interviews section to give you a close insight to the beautiful minds behind the brands on our platform. The first day this was launched, Bellafricana founder, Bukky Asehinde, was opportuned to interview this young, artistic and talented young lady called Itoro Okon.
Itoro is a Geologist turned jewelry designer. She has a great personality, very smart and straight to the point. She is one of the Nigerian born talents doing great things in the economy.
Q & A
- Please introduce yourself and your background.
My name is Itoro Okon and I am a jewelry Designer based in Lagos, Nigeria. I studied Geology but have a passion for crafts.
- Please tell us about your work.
I craft unique and artistic jewelry pieces with the use of semi precious stones, crystals, corals and a variety of materials. Each craft is inspired by short stories
How did Jewelry by Itoro Okon start?
It started as a hobby and slowly transitioned into a business.
- Where do your ideas for jewelry come from? Where do you find the inspiration for your jewelry designs?
I gather my inspiration from nature, culture, people and precious stones that inhabit the earth.
- Can you remember one of the first things you crafted? What makes it memorable?
It was a strand of red faux pearls and crystals. I never took a picture of it but I remember it so vividly. It’s just one thing that you never forget so soon, it’s a representation of where I started from.
- How long does it take to design and make a particular work?
It depends on the style of the pieces, but on average it takes about 15 hours.
- Can you explain a bit about your techniques to make jewellery?
I mix different techniques together to come up with very unique pieces. I love experimenting.
- What are the challenges you face in business?
Apart from the usual traffic in Lagos, light situation and poor logistics, getting reliable and trustworthy workers.
- What is your most popular item (including a photo would be great)? My most popular item is the piece called ‘sincerely, Josephine).
- What are your goals for the future, both work wise and life?
My goal is to be the number one creative jewelry brand in Nigeria.
- What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I studied Geology but now have a passion for crafts.
- 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?
You have to be passionate about what you are doing. It requires a lot of patience and perseverance. Have a mentor and ask questions, a lot of question. Never ever give up on a design you have in mind. Be unique and let your work speak for itself.
- And finally, I would like to give you this opportunity to share two to four images of your work and tell us a little about each.
You must agree with me that not only is Itoro Okon talented, but her beauty reflects in her work.
To reach Itoro;
Email her on : [email protected]
Look up her website at: www.itorookon.com
[dropcap custom_class=”normal”] To be a Nigerian Jeweler or not to be a Jeweler continued.. If you missed part 1 and 2 check links below. Being picked by YOUWIN (a Nigerian Governmental grant scheme) helped strengthen my zeal to carry on, It gave me hope that things were going to get better and I was on the right track, by this time my entrepreneurship skills had developed thanks to the boot camps organised by YOUWIN officials, I learnt a lot I needed to know about running a business properly and effectively. [/dropcap]
[dropcap custom_class=”normal”] Wohooooo, I’m so excited about this months gemstones D*I*A*M*O*N*D*S. I love me some diamond. Over the years, diamonds have been thought to be the, “King of all birthstones,” This is a great way to celebrate a birthday in the month of April. They make an incredible gift for the receiver! [/dropcap]
[dropcap custom_class=”normal”] I have always loved Jewelry and thoughts of been a Jeweler. Gold jewelry to be precise because growing up my mum loved adorning herself with a variety of them: simple styles when I was younger and bigger and complicated styles as I grew up. She even bought us (My sister and I) a couple of gold earrings and we had gold identity bracelets really cute ones but we always got it misplaced and will automatically switch to G.L. jewelry before we ran her bankrupt. I’ve always been curious about how these jewelry pieces were created but never pursued the curiosity. [/dropcap]
[dropcap custom_class=”normal”] Meet this creative young lady who is so passionate about Africa and all things African. We are always inspired by people who take up the courage to turn their passion to business. We know how challenging it can be to conceive an idea and actually make money from it. So we are always excited to hear the story behind a growing brand. Let’s meet her. [/dropcap]