Who would have thought that incorporating the ankara or lace materials into an invitation would create someting so unique and beautiful?
Well, meet Ola-Tokunbo Morin-Muhammed aka "Toksy" a talented and creative young Nigerian/American lady who saw the ankara and lace fabrics as something more than wearable!
Her designs are breathtaking, they are beautiful, chic and one of a kind and very befitting of her slogan..."May your occasion be Ijorere - A day that is grand".
Well you know you certainly will have a grand day with Ijorere as your invitation maker!
Here below is her interview, I couldn't resist talking to her. Happy Reading!
FS: What is the concept behind Ijorere invitations?
Ola-Tokunbo:IJORERE (pronounced e-jaw-ray-ray) started as an idea to change the minds of Africans that do not understand the importance of “The Invitation”. I say African, because you know how “our people” can be, they would rather print out flyers or go for $1.00 Invites. They just don’t think it’s that important.
An Invitation is that 1st taste of what is to come. It is by the invitation that you know what kind of class the event will be… Thus comes the slogan “After all, your day comes but once, Shouldn’t it be IJORERE, A Day that is Grand? I decided to alter their minds by providing invites you simply couldn’t throw away. IJORERE are keepsake Luxurious & Eco-friendly handmade Invitations that celebrates the uniqueness of all cultures.
FS: How did you get the initial idea off the ground into a budding business?
Ola-Tokunbo: I started out 7 years ago creating my own wedding invitations. Of course they were beautiful and enquiring minds wanted to know who made them, shocked to discover I did them myself. I really don’t know why they were so surprised though, since I’ve always been a designer. Anyway, I ended up making invites for family & friends and loved handcrafting so much, it dawned on me that this was “Design” I was made to do. I had a friend design me a logo that made a bold statement, brainstormed a unique unused business name (courtesy of my mother), registered my company, trademarked my logo, found a photographer whom understood how to capture the beauty of IJORERE Invites & found a creative web designer for my website. Wah lah! IJORERE was born.
FS: Mixing Ankara and lace in an invitation card is not something that easily comes to mind but you have done it and it looks absolutely beautiful, what made you decide to do this?
Ola-Tokunbo: I did a lot of search on invitations before going forth on this idea. I wanted to set myself apart from the rest. I didn’t want to be another “cliché” invitation designer. I saw patterns of fabric incorporated on stationery but then I thought why create a pattern on paper when you can use the pattern itself? I also noticed the patterns, would be European, Contemporary. Some even had ethnic inspired patterns that were Indian or Asian but I hadn’t seen African patterns. The idea came literally at a moment of inspiration: the proverbial light-bulb experience, I went into my closet, took all the beautiful left over pieces of my lace & Ankara and work it in to my invitation samples…it worked!
FS: Where can people order Ijorere invitations?
Ola-Tokunbo: By visiting www.ijorere.com
FS: How can they contact you?
Ola-Tokunbo: They can contact me by email on: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning 001.312.401.3956.
FS: You said you have always been a designer, I take it you come from a creative background?
Ola-Tokunbo: Yes, I am an Architect by profession, I studied Architecture and obtained a Bachelors degree in 2001 and I’ve always had a love for art & design ever since I was 10 months old (so my mom claims). Designing has always come easy for me and I recollect a story once of my dad and how he would take a pencil to bed and draw my mom on the sheets while she was sleeping. She would awake only to be completely vexed with art all over the bed sheets! LOL…so I most have inherited these skills from my dad…I guess you could say I am just born this way ;-)
FS: Any advise to the budding entrepreneurs out there?
Ola-Tokunbo: You know Cynthia, I truly believe every one of us is born with “That something special” …so I’m not an expert in a lot of things, but I do know I have an eye for Art. My advice to others is to do as you will & follow your heart...But do so with your eyes WIDE WIDE open. The most successful people in the world do what they do best!
Well you've read the story, you know how to contact Ola-Tokunbo, now see the creations!