Jenna Clifford, founder of luxury jewellery brand, Jenna Clifford Designs, South Africa
Jenna Clifford is a world-renowned jewellery designer, known for her unique designs and superlative craftsmanship. Established in 1992, her company has steadily grown its clientele and profile to institute itself as a powerful force in the jewellery industry. Her bold and dramatic designs are sought after by some of the most recognised business icons and celebrities from around the world. Today, Jenna Clifford Designs employs around 70 people, including some of the finest jewellery artisans and craftsmen in South Africa. Jenna has been a consistent advocate of women’s rights and equality and is highly active in promoting women in business. In recognition of her advocacy, Jenna received the honour of torchbearer to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals 3 project, highlighting the importance of gender equality and women empowerment. Her most recent social impact project is the Jenna Clifford Rhino Project through which she has partnered with stoprhinopoaching.com to help save South Africa’s rhino. Jenna’s story is one that is a continuous source of inspiration on many levels. Firstly, that as an African woman entrepreneur, you can build a powerful and highly desirable global brand, and secondly, you can also make a difference in society through your commitment to giving back.
Adele Dejak, founder of luxury fashion accessory brand, Adele Dejak, Kenya
The Adèle Dejak brand creates handmade fashion accessories for the modern, sophisticated and multi-dimensional woman. Inspired by African shapes, textures and traditional techniques, the cutting-edge pieces sit perfectly between artefact and high fashion statement designs. The Adèle Dejak collections express an acute appreciation for African-made fabrics, including Kuba cloth and kitenge (wax print); a dedication to using recycled materials including rice and cement sacks, brass, aluminium and glass; and a commitment to exceptional quality – using only the best materials and employing some of the most talented artisans in the East African region. Adèle Dejak unites style and substance and invites you to unapologetically own your style! Adèle Dejak cut her teeth in the world of typographic design in England and Italy before moving to Nairobi, Kenya in 2005 and turning her attention to accessories design. Adèle found herself intrigued by the natural beauty of horn and begun to experiment with techniques of creating unique shapes and fashioned pieces. Her flair was noticed and spurred on by an admirer of one of her creations who encouraged Adèle to set up shop creating unique shapes to wear. Dejak’s Nigerian roots began to merge perfectly with European influences and she set out on her never-ending quest for that essential artefact that allows you to express your own style. There is still a lot to come from Adèle Dejak who has started a revolutionary art form deeply rooted in African tradition.
Eva Sonaike, founder of interior design and lifestyle brand, Eva Sonaike, Nigeria/UK
There is a growing global interest in African design, textiles and products, and talented Nigerian interior designer and lifestyle brand creator, Eva Sonaike, is taking the world by storm on the back of this trend. Her aim is to position the ‘African’ aesthetic in the global textiles and interior industry as part of her bigger brand-building picture. Her entrepreneurial journey from fashion journalist to luxury interior and lifestyle brand creator makes for fascinating reading, and her ambitions for the future even more so. Eva Sonaike is a London-based interiors and lifestyle brand creating luxurious textiles, home-décor and accessories with a distinctive and vibrant West-African aesthetic. Inspired by the cultural mélange of West-African textile tradition and European craftsmanship, a passion for interior design and an exuberant love of colour, as the company’s Creative Director, Eva’s aim is to add a new and distinctive aesthetic to the luxury interiors market. Expertly printed in Germany and manufactured in the UK, the luxury range (of textiles and products) boasts a breadth of exclusive designs that bring a touch of African luxury to any setting.
Reni Folawiyo, founder of Alara, Nigeria
Reni Folawiyo, founder and CEO of the luxury concept retail store Alara (Nigeria)
Reni Folawiyo is the founder and CEO of the luxury concept store Alara, located in the heart of Victoria Island in Lagos, Nigeria. The store opened its distinctly designed doors in February 2015. Alara, or the “wondrous performer” in Yoruba offers a luxury lifestyle experience unlike anywhere in the world, stocking both Western brands and pan-African design. Reni felt that the country needed something iconic that would change the city, change the way Nigerians saw themselves, and also change the way the world sees them. Reni worked with the internationally recognized Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye to design the Alara building – Adjaye designed the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the Mall in Washington, D.C. The store has an architectural promenade that houses fashion, furniture, textiles, sculpture and art from inspirational designers and artists. It culminates with a glazed rooftop space – that visually connects back to the city. At the rear of the nine metre high building, is a restaurant opening onto a garden that offers shaded respite from the frenetic energy of Lagos. Reni says “Alara was conceived to show the world who we are today, to share how we live and to show Africans that we have a lot to be proud of, that we create and enjoy objects of exceptional quality and beauty, to celebrate those who have done it, and to support and encourage those who wish to exchange, educate, elevate and beautify.”
Renchia Droganis, founder of Africology, South Africa
Renchia Droganis, founder of Africology (South Africa)
Africology is the leading natural, eco-friendly and holistic spa and skincare company in South Africa, with its success spanning across international borders such as the USA, Europe and Britain. Therapeutic in its approach, Africology only uses all natural ingredients that are bio-identical to your biology; effectively enhancing the integrity of your skin whilst simultaneously preventing premature aging. Africology had humble beginnings, a beginning that was forged when experience met vision and initiative was taken. Founder and CEO, Renchia Droganis is an experienced metaphysical and reiki counsellor who has worked with many victims of Africa’s past using her experience as a massage therapist and aroma-therapist to heal their pain through therapy and self-empowerment exercises. Renchia had a vision to create something that would help people without harming, something that was kind and holistic to the earth, something that was free from deceit, and this ‘something’ was Africology. In 2000, Renchia started Africology. Since the early days operating from a small kitchen in Johannesburg, Africology has grown to feature in some of the best hotels and spas in the world. The company’s success has grown well beyond South Africa’s borders and the brand is now available across the globe, offering a luxurious, natural and eco-friendly product range, fragranced with only pure essential oils and manufactured to the highest standard. All products are 100% natural, uplifting the mind and body in a positively therapeutic way. All products are bio-degradable which benefit your body and mind, as well as the environment.
Fatima Babakura, founder of Timabee, Nigeria
Fatima Babakura, founder of Timabee (Nigeria)
Timabee is a new proudly African, luxury accessory brand on a mission to make luxury accessible and affordable, whilst at the same time celebrating the best craftsmanship combined with the finest leathers. The company’s founder, Fatima Babakura in Nigeria, is passionate about the timeless process of creating the most beautiful accessories, harnessing her country’s tradition of fine craftsman-made products, but in a new contemporary way. Timabee believes luxury goes beyond the price tag of an item. It is about the creativity, time, and resources that go into making it. Fatima is committed to designing very unique pieces with the best leathers and hard wares out there! The promise to Timabee customers is that they will never have to break the bank to own luxury. Fatima started her company because she wants to put an African name at the forefront of luxury accessories in the world one day. The impeccable craftsmanship and attention to detail that goes into each bag is undeniably appealing to anyone with an eye for luxury and quality. Fatima encourages African women to embrace African luxury brands the way they have embraced foreign brands.