Founding father of Nigerian trend model Irawo Studio, Innovator Award

Temidola Ikomi, a 2017 graduate of the D’Amore-McKim School of Business, actually missed the Northeastern group, so she joined Women Who Empower

Ikomi needed to construct new connections with like-minded ladies who wished to assist one another develop and might need their very own companies, she says, as a result of she is a co-founder of an African-inspired trend model in Nigeria, her residence nation.

“The folks I’ve met to this point on this journey have been wonderful,” Ikomi says.

This yr Ikomi was honored with a 2022 Innovator Award, introduced by the Ladies Who Empower, within the younger alumnae undergraduate class together with a $22,000 money prize. She entered the competitors final yr as properly, however didn’t win.

“It exhibits that being an entrepreneur doesn’t imply that you’re going to quit whenever you don’t get what you need. You simply carry on pushing and pushing,” Ikomi says. 

A woman stands on a balcony overlooking a tropical beach with palm trees and green-blue water
Temidola Ikomi

Collectively together with her mom and two sisters she owns a Nigerian trend model known as Irawo Studio. Irawo means “stars” in Yoruba, one of the three primary languages spoken within the nation.

They at all times knew they needed to do one thing within the trend world, Ikomi says.

“Style has been an effective way for me to specific how I really feel, my id with out essentially saying something,” she says. “All of us do love trend. All of us additionally need to embrace our Yoruba tradition, [and] that’s one thing we’re capable of do with a contemporary twist.”

Ikomi was born in Kano, within the northern a part of Nigeria, and grew up between Lagos, Nairobi, Kenya, and South Africa due to her father’s travels in company banking. She attended plenty of worldwide faculties and have become acquainted with assembly folks from totally different cultures.

In 2012, she enrolled in a school in Virginia, however didn’t really feel prefer it was various sufficient for her. She determined to switch out and selected Northeastern for its range and the co-op program. 

“I imagine I develop the perfect by challenges at instances, and I felt the co-op program would actually enable me to see how it will be to be a full-time worker earlier than I graduate,” she says.

Whereas at Northeastern she was an adviser and the president of Northeastern African Pupil Group. She graduated from the D’Amore-McKim School of Business in 2017 with a bachelor’s diploma in advertising and enterprise administration.

Her first job was in company communication. In 2018, Ikomi moved from Boston to Brooklyn, New York, the place she at the moment resides.

When each Temidola Ikomi and her sister Ama Ikomi graduated from faculty in 2017, the ladies in her household determined that it was time to start out a trend enterprise again in Nigeria. 

Ama Ikomi went to New York College Stern Faculty of Enterprise and took on the accounting and finance of their new firm. Temidola Ikomi targeted on advertising and promoting. Their youthful sister Anire Ikomi, a graduate of Parsons Faculty of Design, helps with the model’s public picture. 

The day-to-day operation of the enterprise is overseen by their mom, Abby Ikomi, who’s the artistic director of Irawo and lives in Lagos full-time.

Ikomi says she will get her entrepreneurial nature from her mom. In each nation they lived in, her mom had a enterprise: hair, furnishings, jewellery. 

“I believe that’s how I’m, too. Once I’m very keen about one thing, I give it my all, and I need to be sure that it’s profitable,” Ikomi says. 

Working together with her household was a bit difficult the primary yr, she says, as a result of they wanted to grasp the dynamics between themselves.

“As a result of it’s household, you’ll be able to simply be very blunt and be sincere. And typically that’s what you want within the enterprise,” she says.

They attempt to preserve their deal with what’s the greatest for the enterprise. All of them take part within the artistic growth course of, brainstorming collectively in regards to the model’s messaging or the following lookbook, Ikomi says. 

On the identical time, Ikomi says, they’re a Nigerian household first, and her mom will at all times have their unconditional respect. The enterprise comes after that.  

Within the first yr of operation, they determined to take part in one of many greatest trend exhibits in Lagos known as Come up to make a grand entrance to a quite saturated market, Ikomi says. Irawo Studio additionally participated within the Glitz Style Week in Ghana.

 “We did all these trend exhibits to assist us embark [on this journey],” Ikomi says.

She describes the Irawo garments as African-inspired womenswear that’s fashionable and stylish in addition to very snug {and professional}. She says, Irawo clothes are for trailblazers who’re chasing their goals in their very own approach. They are often moms, college students or working skilled ladies.