This post introduces the amazing Funmilola Kehinde, who is British-Nigerian, having lived most of her life in Nigeria. She has had most of her education there, and has a Master's in IT – her life beyond jewelry is all about computers and technology. The jewelry side is the subject of our exploration today. She fell into jewelry making over five years ago – having taken a short three-week course on beading. She realized how much she enjoyed it and was always looking forward to learn something new. She also didn't mind spending her allowance in getting materials and tools to enable her to learn more designs and techniques! Ever since that one course, she has been designing and manufacturing jewelry part time – and hoping to expand in the near future.
Her favorite piece is a one-strand pearl necklace; as she says, "it says classic, style, and timeless all at the same time...you can never go wrong with pearls!" She also loves gemstones, crystals, and African fabrics. When she looks for supplies online or in the shops, she says "it makes me happy, just like a kid in a candy shop!"
What inspired us to learn more about Funmi was a combination of things – first, her unique focus on wedding jewelry, and second, her commitment to teaching and helping other jewelry entrepreneurs. She is a self-described "wedding person" and loves the detail that goes into planning it. She says brides usually seek traditional jewelry to match their wedding outfit. As a designer, she ensures their jewelry compliments their outfits – often working with coral, gemstones, semi-precious stones, and gold or silver accessories. She is passionate about designing wedding jewelry – because it is such an important accessory for this special occasion. Her target audience is females, aged 22-39, who are preparing for their big day – also, friends of the family who want a special piece to grace the occasion and look stunning!
Funmii's long term goal is to be known all over the world – for teaching women how to build their jewelry business, teaching the craft, and mentoring/motivating others to be successful. She already has a web site that serves as the venue for this part of her work – you can see it here: http://www.elizabethcress.com/
Another unique aspect of Funmi's business is her podcasts, called 'Business Snippets from Jewelerypreneurs'. Her purpose is to motivate other jewelry makers in the industry, and to guide them towards building successful businesses. She interviews successful jewelry designers and artisans – and those, like us at The Bead who seek to supply them. Her hope is to build a hub where designers can meet, collaborate, and inspire each other with ideas, pictures and tutorials – a place for designers, by designers.
It is so wonderful to see an energetic young woman like Funmi, and to at least get to meet her virtually, via Skype. She and I connected when she included me as the subject of one of her podcasts – which will be released soon. It's an amazing world when an old lady like me, in a small village in Corrales New Mexico, can connect to a talented young artisan across the world, in Nigeria! Many thanks go to LinkedIn – as without that, she and I never would have met.
To learn more about Funmi (see her photo to the left) and her wonderful work, check her out at the site mentioned above (http://www.elizabethcress.com/)
Until Next Time,