#WomenWorldwide: Creativity from the heart of Lagos with Oeuvre Designs

For our #WomenWorldwide series, we’ve gone out on the road to find the most innovative and inspiring entrepreneurs we can from every corner of the globe. Today’s interviewee, Zainab Akingbehin, is an interior designer at Oeuvre Designs, based in the heart of the bustling city of Lagos, Nigeria.

HOC: Great to meet you Zainab! Let’s start with the tricky stuff! What’s your elevator pitch for Oeuvre Designs?
Zainab: Oeuvre Designs is an interior design studio based in Lagos Nigeria, we specialise in bespoke designs with the client’s personality and functionality being key to our designs.

HOC: Your work is beautiful! Tell us about your journey to running this business?

Zainab: Oeuvre designs started in 2016 with as little as nothing! It’s been quite an interesting journey though, of course there have been some learnings also on this journey, and hasn’t always been a smooth ride, but the determination has been strong.
When we launched the first question was, where do we get clients from and how? But we came up with our first furniture design “Hexa Stool” and everything went from there and brought us to into limelight. I guess that’s how we started!

HOC: You are based in Lagos which is known globally for being a hub of design, what’s it like running your business there?

Zainab: Trust me, Lagos is one of those tough places to get anything done on a daily basis. The hustle and bustle is real and the design process isn’t a smooth one here, getting things done in time is quite challenging and there are limitations too as we
almost never have the right places to source for things. But, hey, we are strong people here and the passion drives us so we never get tired of the challenges!

HOC: How do you balance these varying demands on your time-being creative and running the business side of things?

Zainab: As a creative designer and a business owner in today’s industry you often have to wear multiple hats. It’s a juggling act and not always easy to get the balance right. I don’t think there is ever a perfect balance though because there is a guilt either way.

I’m a perfectionist and the reality of being a creative designer and a business owner is that something always have to give which doesn’t sit well with me. But with the support I get from my team at work allows me to shuffle both.

HOC: Who would be your ideal client?

Zainab: Definitely clients that love good finish and clean lines; clients that have creative personality and also the support co-creation process.

HOC: Why, in your opinion, is good design so important?

Zainab: Good design is important due to the aesthetic value it possess in a given space. The fact is having an interior design that looks nice and beautiful will make you like your home even more. Also, good design means functionality because it
affects your quality of life. In your home, people live in such a way that they interact with their environment on a daily basis. Trust me, if a design does not work for you it’s most likely to frustrate you more than making you happy!

HOC: For our creative readers, what advice would you have for them to grow their artist practices and get their work seen?

Zainab: Firstly, self-confidence is very important. For instance, a stranger asks what do you do, and your response is not portraying any aura of confidence, then you are not doing a good job being a creative artist and selling yourself. No matter how
amazing your work is, if you are not confident enough in your work then it’s going to take series of miracle for anyone to see and appreciate your work!

Secondly know your value. One man’s paint splatter is another man’s masterpiece. So when you are trying to decide how much to charge for your work you need to take a lot of things into account like the time and cost of your supplies.

Thirdly consider the factors in the intangibles of your work that gives it value.

HOC: What piece that you’ve created means the most to you and why?

Zainab: Definitely my “Hexa Stool” : it was the start of my furniture design and it brought me into limelight so it means the most to me.

HOC: Where do you get your inspiration from?

Zainab: I get inspiration everywhere, from nature, my environment, architecture, sometimes in books and design blogs. Also by surrounding myself with positive minded people.

HOC: If you ever have a creative block / funk; how do you get yourself out of it?

Zainab: Most times I just take 2 days off work and it helps a lot. I always have in mind the idea of finishing what you’ve started because the creative part is in seeing it through to the end and turning that dream into reality! I can also be spontaneous in nature; some of our designs are done lastminute and that is the fun part of being a designer.

 

Check out Zainab’s work at Oeuvre Designs at OeuvreDesigns.co

Follow along at @Oeuvre_Designs

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Anna Willatt

A chronic over researcher, Anna is the one who will sniff out all the unusual things to do at a destination and create a spreadsheet of options so there's no FOMO. Less likely to be spotted at an infinity pool, Anna will be finding dive bars, flea markets, 3rd wave coffee shops and chatting with locals to find out what they get up to...and sharing that intel here as part of #TeamCoco.

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