Meet Eva Sonaike, the person behind the luxury interior design company of the same name. Her home textiles and furnishings have a vibrant West-African aesthetic with high-quality manufacturing and hand-finished designs.
Today she discusses how her early career in fashion journalism helped her gain the confidence to launch her brand. She has long been passionate about African fabrics and design but started in interior design from scratch. Learn why she chose to use her name as the company name and why it’s important to never compromise on your standards.
Eva draws on her background. She was born to Nigerian parents in Germany and adopted by a German family. Embracing different cultures is important to her, and what drew her to the UK. She reflects on breaking barriers and becoming mainstream. The chat ends with a discussion on finding the balance between home and work demands.
In this episode, we talk about:
- 00:00-1:54: Introducing Eva Sonaike
- 1:52-2:31: Correct pronunciation of her name
- 2:32-3:34: How she started in her business; why using her name as the brand name
- 3:34-4:45: Eva’s upbringing in Germany and her Nigerian background
- 4:45-6:15: Learning to work with textiles and creating fabrics
- 6:17-7:26: Early interest in interior design, but taking time to build confidence
- 7:27-10:32 Searching for a multicultural city; making the move to the UK
- 10:32-13:21: Reflections on what has been achieved, breaking barriers and crossing over into the mainstream.
- 13:21-17:49: Being unapologetically African and staying true to her brand standards
- 17:50- 19:47: How she was able to get started with interior design; you need to keep learning to be successful in business
- 19:48- 21:26: Myths about entrepreneurship and finding success
- 21:26-23:45: Balancing sustainability and quality in business choices
- 23:46-24:55: Finding ways to inspire and lift up others
- 24:55-27:37: Attending trade shows and if they are the way going forward
- 27:38- 29:27: The interesting customer demographic and person who likes her work
- 29:27- 32:30: Making tough choices when balancing work and home life; the need for support networks
- 32:31- 33:37 What’s next for Eva’s collection
- 33:38-35:08: How to find Eva and the wrap-up
About Zeze Oriaikhi-Sao
Zeze Oriaikhi-Sao attended Grenoble Ecole De Management where she received a Master’s in International Business. She also holds a Bsc (Hons) in Informatics. She is mother, an international and entrepreneurial leader. The Founder and Managing director of Malée Natural Science; Africa’s 1st global luxury fragrance and body care brand operating across two continents with products available in 9 countries in wholesale, B2B, Hospitality, E-commerce and travel retail. An advisory board member and Program director at INNOCOS, the world beauty innovations summit as well as a consultant and international speaker and beauty industry expert on the luxury beauty and cosmetics industry, sustainability practices, innovation, disruption, trends and brand heritage. Featured in international TV and Media publications such as CNN, The Telegraph, Grazia, ELLE Magazine, Glamour, Oprah Magazine and Atlanta Post. She is a pioneer of Female owned luxury business in Africa and is passionate about innovation. Zeze is the host of the pioneering podcast Third Culture Africans. She shares entrepreneurial tips and more on her personal website Zezeonline.com