Beautifully smart and wonderfully honest, my interview with Oyinloluwa Aboaba Sunmoni has been one of the best interviews I’ve conducted in recent times.
Oyinlolu tells her story on how she developed her passion for style, branding, corporate communications and image consulting in such an easy and well thought out manner of expression. It felt like my home girl was giving me nuggets of wisdom on how to live out my passion with enthusiasm, logic and far sightedness.
Do you have an eye for style and image consulting or are you enthusiastic about elegance and poise, this article is definitely a must read.
Hellurrrandom celebrates the delectable Oyinloluwa Aboaba Sunmoni, a lady in every way.
#CelebratingWomen Campaign: Oyinloluwa Aboaba
#CelebratoryFact: Passion, Elegance and Style
Introducing herself and explaining how she discovered her passion for style and image consulting, she says:
‘Hi, I’m Oyinloluwa Sunmoni. I am the last of 4 girls, I grew up in Lagos with my parents. I have a Bachelors degree in Economics from the University of Lagos and a Masters degree in Corporate Communications and Reputation Management from the University of Manchester. I have work experience in branding and marketing but also in image consuting which I learnt under the tutelage of Ifeoma Williams, a certified Image Consultant in Nigeria. I guess I have always known I liked fashion following the days when I’d write a long shopping list for my mom whenever she travelled out of the country specifically detailing how I wanted each item of clothing to look like and in what colours. But this was a subconscious thing until I finished from Unilag and went to intern at an accounting firm owned by a family friend. I was in the Human Resources department but I found that I was bored and uninterested and that instead of going through resumés, I was more interested in the physical image of the firm. So I spoke to him (the family friend) about it and he said oh that’s branding. Before then, I had never come across the word “branding” in that context. So I was intrigued. I went on to Google and then discovered Masters programmes relating to the subject but my dad would have none of that. He just categorised it as marketing and that how can I be the CEO of a company with a Masters in Marketing? Sadly, he passed on the year I was making applications for my Masters. Before then, I had served and then worked at Alder Consulting (Leke Alder) and Fruition Consulting (Ifeoma Williams). It was at Fruition that I fully came into the world of fashion, style and image consulting. Before then, I just tried to dress nice and look good, never thought I’d take it seriously. So following my stint at Fruition, armed with knowledge about fashion and style etc, I set off for Manchester. I became serious about posting pictures of myself looking stylish and I have to say, it felt like I had always been doing that. I guess you can say that it’s in my blood.’
On the mechanics of translating your passion into a business, she expatiates:
‘I’m still perfecting that. But I believe that if you can show people that you know your stuff and are pretty confident about it, they’ll come to you. I have styled a couple of people who out of the blues sent me a message and said please can you help me with this? In my own mind, I’m just having fun but to people, she’s doing this pretty well. So I’d say develop the passion, things are changing so quickly, if you don’t stay current, you’ll be left in the dust. Also, have a structure to things, don’t look scattered and all over the place. It gives people a sense of security.’
I ask her on what the words poise, elegance and style mean to you, and how can they be effectively communicated, and she beautifully narrates:
‘These words mean the ultimate woman. What every woman should strive to be. Where without effort, things are easy because of how you carry yourself. I think that before they can be communicated, people need to be educated about these things. That’s why someone can walk up to me and say they just like the way I carry myself. They don’t understand what it is about me, but I know these things, so I’m like ‘Oh, thanks’ and smile sheepishly. I firmly believe everyone should be introduced to these things, especially earlier on in life, so that some things are just a breeze, you know? Till then, I’ll try to communicate these things in my behaviour. This is why image consulting should be for everyone and not just those who think they only need it for the spotlight.’
When I ask her on her take on learning from people who are already established in that field, she says confidently:
‘I strongly believe in being under the tutelage of someone in the industry already, it definitely makes things easier. You don’t make the same mistakes they did, they can support and guide you when you have questions. If you cannot meet them one-on-one, follow their success story closely.
On the quintessential question of how she merges her passion with her everyday job, she honestly states:
‘Well that is not easy as some days because of the stress of work, I could not be bothered about my outfits which meant I could not take a picture and post online. Also, with my personal shopping business, sometimes I’d just be tired from work. But funny thing, if I was off my passion for a couple of days, there would be some internal reminder telling me to go back and then I would. I guess that’s what happens when you’re passionate about something. You can only be dispassionate for a while, it will always come back. Currently, my husband and I have moved to New York so my passion will definitely become my everyday job lol.’
She muses on where she sees Style by Oyinlolus in the next 5 years thusly,
‘I see Style by Oyinlolus known across the globe as the go-to for all things style. I look at top industry players and I see their success as definitely achieveable. I want style to be projected to the world in a modest but classy way. The kind that gets heads turning for the right reasons.’
On how she keeps up with everyday trends, while retaining her individuality, she elucidates:
‘Honestly, if I don’t instantly like the trend, I don’t go for it even if everyone is raving about it. Also, I say to myself, is it decent? Would I be proud to show my children this picture years from now? If the answer is no, I don’t do it. My sense of style is very specific, my sisters can attest to that, they see an item of clothing and they say “it’s only Oyin that can pull this off”.’
On her 3 top style don’ts for young professional women, she lists the following:
‘Funny coloured hair to the office 2. Satin is a no-no for the professional woman, leave that to the evening dates and 3. Wearing too tight clothing.’
I ask Oyinlolu to give three female celebrities that style newbies could model their sophisticated chic style after, and she says,
Oyin: Genevieve Nnaji, Ifeoma Williams and Blake Lively. Why just 3 though? lol
Considering the fact that her passion is slowly and steadily becoming a business, I ask what other ways she has found to relax after a busy day? She replies ‘Television relaxes me, I think too much lol. Or I take a nap’, she replies light heartedly.
Finally, on a word of advice for women itching to venture into their passion, but do not know how, she speaks sagely:
‘Start small, think big. Have a vision for yourself, ask yourself “where do I want to be in the next year, 2 years, 5 years?” What will help you get there? Also, be patient, life happens but always remember that nothing happens to you without God knowing and letting it happen. Be optimistic. Have a daily confession, I have one which says “I am Oyinloluwa Sunmoni and I’m a great woman”. I try to say it everyday. Develop yours and work at your passion.’
All pictures captured by: @awgz.married