Celebrating African Culture Through Fashion: Meet Adedunmola Olobayo of StyleMeAfrica
In this highlight we turn our attention to Adedunmola Olobayo, founder of StyleMeAfrica, a company that’s celebrates Africa’s fashion and style. I asked Adedunmola a series of questions, here is what we discussed:
Tell us a little about yourself, where your from, grew up, what H.S./College you attended, etc.
My name is Adedunmola Olobayo, I am the founder of StyleMeAfrica, a company that celebrates fashion, beauty and style inspired by Africa. I was born on the 6th of December in a city called Ilorin, the capital of Kwara state in Nigeria. I attended Olashore international school in Nigeria after which I moved to Columbia international college, Canada before I finally settled in England where I gained a Bsc in business management from the university of Essex and an MSc in international business from Coventry university.
What inspired you to get intfashioEarly experiences worth sharing?
TBH I’ve never really been a fashionista or someone who is drawn to fashion and style. I was just at the time obsessed with online stores and loved buying things online. The idea for StyleMeAfrica started at 17 when I was in my first year at university. I was obsessed with ASOS.com and wanted to develop something similar in Nigeria. At the time, it was called Republic D’nude (which was Dedun backwards with a twist) then it developed into El Amor De Moda and now what you know as StyleMeAfrica.
Talk about a time where you have faced adversity/conflict and have triumphed.
I cannot name any instances in particular but what I can say is I approach all conflict and problems in the same manner every time. No matter how difficult, heated or confusing a situation is, I take a step back and always try to figure out what I could have possibly done wrong and what steps I can make to make amends. I’m always ready to find a solution and find it very hard to hold on to anything and this applies to my business and personal life. Nothing is ever that serious and if it is that serious, taking a second to think and find a solution is my only option.
What do you believe sets you apart from others in the fashion industry?
The fact that my company works very hard to promote African brands and influencers. We are a for profit organisation but the truth is we have some of the lowest ad rates online and the prices of clothing available on our site are considered very affordable. Our goal is to make African brands easily accessible to their customers and we work very hard to give every brand a platform to showcase their work. I believe this is one thing that definitely sets us apart from the others in the industry.
I must add that we are also the only platform that promotes and sells fashion goods from African brands.
Do you have other interests or hobbies?
I like to read. A lot. I read almost any and everything. The Bible, fiction and non fiction Books, fashion blogs, tech blogs, gossip blogs, sports blog, online news publications, literally everything! I am almost always reading something on my phone, laptop or on my bed side table. I love to read and believe it’s one of the reasons I know so much! My cousin always says put Dedun in a room and she can have a conversation on virtually any subject. It’s cause I read, ALOT.
I am also a LOVER OF CHILDREN. I am very obsessed with tiny humans and one of my life goals is dedicated towards empowering and educating children from all over Africa.
Any projects you have out or or currently working on?
StyleMeAfrica recently launched an online store and we are working on signing on a few new brands to our platform. We are also expanding our blog to feature even more amazing content and cover brands from all over Africa. You can check out our site at https://stylemeafrica.co
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years, I’d want to be a very successful business woman who not only has success in business but also has great success in impacting positive change in the lives of the people in my society and beyond. In 5 years, I pray I’m doing something to change the world!
What was the inspiration/motivation behind StyleMeAfrica?
I’m motivated by bringing about change in the lives of people. That is honestly the truth behind what drives StyleMeAfrica. I want to give brands a platform to showcase their talents, I want to do something to help my country and continent as a whole diversify and grow. I want to help small and medium brands grow into large fashion houses selling thousands of dollars worth of merchandise daily. I want people in the western world to take Africa and our talented people seriously and that is what inspires my brand StyleMeAfrica. This is not about me. It’s something bigger than me, it’s a movement for African brands, it’s a life line for Africa. It’s what will help change my community. When I see StyleMeAfrica for what it is, I get very inspired and motivated. Because it will change a lot of lives.
What advice can you give to individuals working toward a career in fashion?
Fashion isn’t the easiest place to work in. It’s a very saturated market and you have to work very hard to stand out. Make sure you thoroughly understand your customer. Figure out what their problems are and offer them the best possible solution. Never stop working hard, it might seem endless but it will pay off in the end!
How can we follow along in your journey? Social media?
You can follow @StyleMeAfrica on all social media platforms :) I tend to show my face on Instagram every Thursday during our Instagram live chat with our followers! You can always tune in to find out what I’m up to ;)