I have known Jumoke Salami since my undergraduate years in Uni. She was actually one of the first people I met in OAU and my favourite memories of us would be from those times when she was my cell leader in year 1. Thank you Jumoke!
It’s funny how going through one of my old journals, I found that I had written down Jumoke’s name in 2015 as one of those people I planned on interviewing some day. This is particularly because I personally found it really hard trying to map out which career path I was going to take after school, so finding someone who pretty much knew what she wanted to do – and so totally unrelated with what she had studied in school – to me was inspiring. It showed me that our lives isn’t necessarily defined by a university degree or grade and that you can be anything you want to be.
Currently, Jumoke is the lead fashion and style consultant for Kwasee, a fashion styling company based in Lagos, Nigeria. She’s worked with top fashion shows and brands in Nigeria such as The Lagos Fashion and Design Week, Africa Fashion Week Nigeria, Music Meets Runway, Ebonylife TV and Vlisco Nigeria, to mention a few. She also co-runs the highly successful fashion show – The Lagos Wardrobe Exhibition (TLWE), which running for 4 years now, creates a platform for young fashion entrepreneurs to showcase their work.
Today, we get a day with Jumoke and she shares with us everything from the gains and perks of choosing a daunting career to what her Ideal man looks like and whether or not she believes in the concept of ‘the one’
You studied Political Science and Education in school but work now as a fashion stylist and consultant, how did you make this career choice?
As an undergraduate in my third year, I made the decision that I was not going to work with my certificate. I used to sell jewelry to my friends and also help them shop for clothes while returning back to school after the holidays. It was there I discovered my unique ability to change the way people perceived themselves. I also hated to see women wearing just about anything or what was trending, regardless of what it looked on them. I decided then I was going to be a solution to my world by helping people dress appropriately for their body shapes. I discovered my purpose and just stuck to it. There was no point going back and forth when I already knew what I’d be doing.
Did you get any resistance from home going into the business of fashion?
No, I didn’t. My parents are the most supportive people.
The business of fashion hasn’t always been one taken seriously in Nigeria, how were you so sure you could make a living and build a business from simply styling people?
Like I said earlier, I just knew it was what I was meant to be doing. I didn’t come up with going into this business, I was instructed to, so I was sure I could build a thriving business from it. Moreover, the fact that it wasn’t so popular in Nigeria fueled my interest in exploring it.
What is the inspiration behind the name ‘Kwasee’?
Kwasee is derived from my Benue (TIV) name TORKWASE. It means WOMAN.
How did you get your first client?
Technically, I got my first client from selling jewelry in school.
Describe your typical day as a fashion stylist and personal shopper in one word?
What is the best part of being a fashion stylist?
It’s the feeling I get when my clients love how they look. It’s everything to me.
What is the worst part of being a fashion stylist?
Well, there isn’t a worst part. Every career or business has its perks.
Since you started, what has been the absolute highlight of your career?
I cannot really say there’s a particular highlight but every milestone I cover, I always celebrate it.
What is that one dream you have for ‘Kwasee’ that makes your heart beat faster?
Reaching and educating every woman in my community and Africa about their body and personal style.
You are Jummisallz – an entrepreneur, a consultant, a personal shopper and co-owner of the TLWE fashion show. Your work is amazing! What drives you and how do you do all these things?
Passion drives me. I am a very passionate person and helping people become a better version of themselves especially through fashion is very dear to my heart. I am also a goal-getter. I am not easily discouraged, and though things may not always go as planned, at such moments, I look at the bright side and keep working at it.
Has your age ever been a limiting factor?
You were recently featured on Guardian Woman, what’s your dream publication to be featured on?
What is the most difficult thing you’ve had to do?
Resigning from my former employment.
What is the biggest lesson you took from that experience?
Trust God. Put your entire life in his hands and he’ll take care of you.
Trust God. Put your entire life in his hands and he’ll take care of you.
Which Nigerian brand absolutely inspires you to dream big?
One advice for young people looking to start building a career?
First, have a passion for whatever career path you choose. When the chips are down, your passion will drive you to do more.
If you could be anything in this world, other than what you currently do, what would it be?
Never thought of that before. Maybe…eemmm… Don’t know. lol!
One skill you wish you learnt as a child?
Singing or Dancing.. That’s if it can be learnt.
What’s the one thing you love about being a first child and what’s the one thing about it you hate?
Let me start with what I hate – The responsibility. You are responsible for everything and everyone. What I love? My confidence level is on a 100!
What is your favourite childhood experience?
Going to the amusement park. My parents always took me there.
How was it like growing up with parents who were in the force?
They were the most protective parents ever. But, it paid off at the end.
One food you could eat every day, all day?
What’s the one outfit you’ll happily wear every day?
Jeans and a top!
What’s your favourite wardrobe item?
If you could travel anywhere in the world for a two day trip, where would you go to and why?
I’ll love to go to Zanzibar because it’s serene. I love my space and sanity.
Describe your ideal man in (3) words; and the one food you’ll love him to know how to cook for you.
Spiritual, fine and smart. He should know how to cook for himself … lol!
You recently got engaged! Congratulations again! Now, what is your idea of a dream wedding?
My dream wedding is having everything before the day, debt free.
What illusions have you had in the past on who to date; and how has this affected the choice of who you are marrying now?
I’ve just always wanted to get it right in marriage. Marry right and not shi-marry. That has helped me rely on God’s direction in choosing who to marry.
Do you believe in the concept of ‘the one’? Why?
There’s no ‘The one’ o. There’s the right one.
Do you get social media envy? How do you curb it?
Not envy but I get fired up from social media.
One advice for young girls and boys looking up to you?
Work smart and put God first.
Kindly give one fashion ‘do’ and one fashion ‘don’t’ that we all totally have to adhere to.
- Wear what suits your body shape.
- Don’t follow the trend.
Please complete this using your own words. ‘Being a woman …’
Being a woman is a blessing.
I really enjoyed this interview, especially the part where Jumoke said ‘there is no the one o.’ Haha. What do you guys think? I also agree that there is the right one and that we need to rely on God’s direction in choosing who to marry.
Another thing I found particularly fascinating is the fact that both women I’ve featured here (Ugochi Obidiegwu, the Safety Chic, being the first one) are doing things now so unrelated to what they studied in school. The big lesson here is that ‘our lives aren’t necessarily defined by a University degree or even our grades and if we find where our passion lies, work hard at it and take the right opportunities, we can be everything we want to be.’
I can’t thank Jumoke enough for this. I know I’m inspired by all that she does and even though, I couldn’t completely capture every bit of her into this post, I hope you are also inspired from reading the few things that she’s shared with us here.
With love 💛,
pS: If you took anything out of this post, I’d like to know, so let’s talk in the comments below.
ppS: Please share this post with your friends. Thank you!