inside the mind of the lady behind the brand
I had the lovely opportunity of visiting the Lolu Rhoda HQ, and got to have a chat with the lady behind this amazing brand.
“Lolu Rhoda, founded in 2013 by a second-generation jeweller; Tiwalolu Osibodu, London-based jewellery brand Lolu Rhoda aspires to create distinctive, striking and sophisticated statement jewellery. Lolu Rhoda pieces are modern, versatile and perfect to enrich the wardrobe of a woman with great style.”
Hi Tiwa, tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I am originally from Nigeria but I have lived here in London for about 8 years now and worked in fashion for the past 6 years. I studied IT and Marketing but I decided to take a short course for jewellery making and that’s where this all began.
Why the career change?
I’ve always been an IT person, so i just did what came naturally to me, what i thought i would find really easy. Once i graduated, i knew i wanted to do something in fashion, i just wasn’t sure. I made sure i always got jobs in fashion companies, making sure i was there with the design team, learning and listening.
I think you can always incorporate what you learn in school into the businesses. I was able to build my website myself and also do the marketing and social media and i feel i wouldn’t have been able to do that if I didn’t study IT.
What was your inspiration behind Lolu Rhoda and starting the brand?
Rhoda was my grandmothers name, and Lolu is the other half of my name; my name is Tiwalolu. So when i was trying to think of what to name it, it just came together. I’m also inspired by my mum. My mum used to design jewellery when i was much younger; bigger, vintage-y styled pieces, so i was very inspired by that, but wanted to make something much more affordable and tailored to people my age.
How would you describe your style?
Simple and Minimal, but with Jewellery, i like things that are a little noticeable. So i use it to dress up my outfits.
So, Who do you say the target market is for Lolu Rhoda
I think right now, its people my age, so maybe from 20 to about 35. I think when i get older than that you are drawn to investment pieces. So i would say my target market is a girl that kinda wants to buy jewellery that would last a long time, that would look expensive and but she doesn’t necessarily have spend £700 on a necklace
What does it entail when you fashion out a piece, talk me through it
I guess the first stage would be when i see something and i know i want to us that as a point of reference for my designing, so i either draw something or kinda find a way to piece things together. It could even be something I see.. lets see if I can find an example..
I got an idea from this random electronic thing i saw, it was like knob and i though “Ahh, this is quite minimal and clean”.. So i tried to figure out a way, i could incorporate it into jewellery. I remember what i see, draw something, speak with a CAD designer who tries to makes a 3D representation of what i’ve drawn and thats what we work with when we speak to the manufacturers. Inspiration can come from anything
A knob is actually inspiration, so i can imagine where your inspiration and everything can come from.. So how do you feel when you see people wearing your pieces?
Its all very exciting, i always get really excited when people actually genuinely like it and want to spend their money and buy it. I’m happy, it good to designs things and say your own things are nice but when people are giving you that affirmation, encouraging to go on by buying your pieces.
I remember when i was going out and i saw a friend wearing your earrings
Oh really ! 🙂 I like when people contact me and say they’ve seen someone wearing and they want the same thing. Its really nice
So how has it been running this business
Obviously, you would have had some moments
Yes, It’s very stressful, but i think what keeps you going is when you really really really like what you are doing. Its simply when you enjoy what you’re doing, it makes up for the stress of, manufacturers not delivering on time, things breaking, customers complaining about things.
One thing that i’ve learnt from running my own business is, you have to approach everything in a calm way, think about it and try to figure it out. because if you let it overwhelm you, it would be very very stressful. Things would always go wrong, usually they are fixable things, what you can improve from.
That is very important because passion makes the road much easier
Have you had any exhibitions
I’m actually doing one in December, on the 4th-7th.. Its called the East London Design Show. It should be really good, its like a bunch of designers showcasing and selling. This would be my first proper show. That’s what coming next
What do your parents think about the business? i know you’re mum used to design jewellery so i’m guessing she’s on board
They help me so much, my parents are so supportive. Cause they each own their businesses so every time i need help advice or anything, they are usually the first people i call. My mum is going with me to Italy to see our manufacturers in January next year, its nice to have that support. Some people get it from mentors, friends, I get it from my parents.
What are your plans for the future?
The main thing i want to do is to get a better flow of collections, always being ahead. At least two seasons ahead. Trying to make designs better, increase my customer base, get more awareness for Lolu Rhoda. I’m expanding to Nigeria, so making it available there.
I do find that a lot of Nigerians want the jewellery but since I’m over here, its hard to. I am trying to make it happen, find a stockist and figure a way of delivering things to people myself, if they order from me.
How do you feel, obviously you’re happy but sum this experience in a short sentence
Its exciting and i can’t wait to see what the future holds. I don’t know what is going to happen. Its one of those things, that you have to keep going. I always try to dream big, imagine Lolu Rhoda in stores like Selfridges, not really letting anything hold me back. Yes It’s Exciting, Overwhelming, Stressful but its all worth it in the end when everything comes together.
— and there you have it guys!! —
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