This is me wishing for snow.

Winter is here for real and like many in the Mediterranean, I’m in full-on denial about how cold it can get on a January afternoon in these parts. So for instance, today I ran work errands in a thin jacket over just two clothing layers. A thin down jacket it was, yes — albeit one of those featherweight ones made with ultralight backpackers in mind. I should reach back for the proper one I stashed away last week, thinking the worst of the cold was over. It isn’t.

48°F (9°C) is cold, no? This is me wishing for snow. I’d go to the park, lay facing the skies, make snow angels. Be competitive about it because I have the longest arms of my friends, designated human selfie-stick. Maybe we’ll have enough snow that we can make balls, snowballs, and throw them at one another before they sublimate in our gloved palms. It hasn’t  happened in all my winters in this city, but a girl can dream.

There’s a lot of activity in the now, including preparations for 080 Barcelona Fashion Week’s Fall/Winter 2017 edition that starts at month’s end. My favorite designer isn’t showing, again, but I’m determined to find new designers to root for, photograph ouevre of, write about. I’ll also be doing a press round of Barcelona Fashion Summit 2017. So, similar to my joint coverage of Lagos Fashion & Design Week’s Fashion Business Series and fashion shows in the February/March 2016 issue of Yonderland, you can look forward to a concise report of both events.



Pictured: Barcelona Fashion Week coverage in past Yonderland issues. To read either report, tap on the image.

Things have been pretty amazing here, and work has been interspersed with not-work. I’ve been waiting for La-La Land to be released in Barcelona, and we’re (finally!) going to see it this weekend. This la-la-lady can’t wait.

MinkuAt080_2014-15b Pictured: An old poster (2014) announcing our participation in the Fashion Week pop-up section.

Out on a disorderly artistic limb

For my most recent birthday, some of my friends presciently gave me a sketchpad.

Although I thought nothing of it at the time, I recently took a break from bag making to return to my first love: art. In the new year, I hope to develop my own illustrative style, and I’m glad that stylistically, illustration seems to give me a broad space in which to explore. I hope to stay in this space and explore it a bit longer.

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There will still be bags, not to worry.

Happy new year!


Listening to Lead Belly’s Christmas is A-Coming.

We got the funk

I’m excited that it’s Friday. We’re about to go and watch a funk band (the guy loves funk :-)) and I’m happy to put away work and go and have a weekend. Or at least a Friday night. I’ve been working on a few things, including the FW2017 collection. Yes, time flies.

When I was in university, I used to count time in semesters. Now I count it in fashion seasons. Here is one of the most recent things I’ve been working on:

MinkuWosanBucketBag_Main WosanBucketBag_interiorDetail_b

It’s called the Wosan bag. One of the ideas I’ve been toying with for the new collection is the idea of love, and what we do for those we love. So perhaps we are excited to see them laugh, so we try to make jokes to make them laugh (palerin), or we nurse them to health when they’re ill (wosan) or we forgive them when they forget something important to us (dariji) or we sing to them or with them (korin), or support them when they’re rooting for their favourite football team (tilehin). It’s been a bit of a shift working with verbs instead of nouns for the names of the bags, but that’s just what I’m feeling at the moment.

Ok, so we saw the Hungarian GP on Sunday. I was quite unexcited to see the race, because something interesting had happened at qualifying the day before, but my <3 was like well, I think Hamilton will win the race, and he did! His fifth win at Hungaroring. And with this, he now leads the championship points table. German GP this Sunday before August break (pardon my error in the previous post, where I thought Hungaroring was the last race before the break).

Well it’s sweltering hot and funk is good for working up a sweat, so off we go. Are you liking the Wosan bag? Which colours of bags would you like to see more of this season? I personally can’t get enough of that pink…



Work, play, and dreaming of the weekend

I worked all of yesterday. Today, too. I am simultaneously working on four bags. You can see one I completed on Monday, here, and also below.


The extra lovely weekend prepped me for such a busy week. On Sunday afternoon, we hung out in plazas watching castellers and drinking canned juice. Then we met up with friends for tacos. On Monday evening, we went to an outdoor cinema where we lay on the grass with maybe 800 other people and saw a movie we had both seen before, and both love. Tuesday came and I started prepping for work and then Wednesday came and I woke up early and started to work and then today too, though I let myself sleep in a bit longer.

I’m making progress, and it is all looking good. You can’t rush this work, though. For two of the current projects, I’m designing as I make, and you can’t rush design. It’s a series of decisions that need you to be well-fed and well-rested and just chill. So yeah, I’ve been having some Zen days of creating, but when it’s all done and mailed, I’ll also just have some Zen days of serious resting.

This heat is not helping things. I don’t know what it is called, but the air here has been stagnant since yesterday. As in, you open the balcony door, but no breeze. Please, summer, have some chill :-)

Speaking of chill, well on Saturday, we will go to a friend’s birthday party. I’m pretty excited — maybe just the thought of taking a break, seeing this friend again, meeting the new people that will be at the party, and exploring a neighborhood with them after tapas. It’s Formula 1 on Sunday :-D :-D :-D, Hungraroingaroing in Hungary. Ok, the circuit is actually called Hungaroring; still, it reminds me of Antananarivo, where I have to consciously learn how many times to repeat the middle syllables. After Sunday’s race, the drivers are going on… August break, he he. ‘August break’ is funny to me because it is the name of a poem we had to read in Junior Secondary 1 (like 7th grade), regarding the rainy season in Nigeria, which runs from April to October, with a break in August. When I start cheesing at my own jokes, it’s time for bed (just kidding, it’s something I always do). I hope you’ve been having a fulfilling week.


New Yonderland issue now out

The new issue of Yonderland is now out, and I wanted to invite you to take a look (or better still, give it a read :-)).


It’s fashion week in Barcelona and yesterday, a friend and I went to see some shows. I want to do a review shortly. For now, recovering from the work that is the production of each issue of Yonderland. Oh, and I saw Joy today, the movie with Jennifer Lawrence. Reminder that entrepreneurship is not an easy journey, but can be so worth it.



Where to buy Minku

I am working on the Fall/Winter 2016 collection, and I thought I should share the list of places to shop our collections.

For Fall/Winter 2016, you can expect bags in that nude pink shade that I like so much. And also bags in brown and black. I’m reworking some old favourites, and also exploring new shapes. Of course there will be backpacks for men and women. Some of it is still that weathered-look Eleko-Wave processed leather. And the rest is classic shapes and lines. They will be lined in some of the finest aso-oke cotton fabrics.

As is becoming almost customary, there will be items of clothing. I make these, really just for the models to have something to wear for the lookbook. They really tie in the Minku aesthetic and style, which I am refining every season (this will be our eleventh collection!).

If you are in Lagos, you may already know that you can get Minku in Stranger. And we continue to work on capsule collections for a store in San Sebastian (Spain), which is undergoing a rebranding and whose new brand will be unveiled soon. We’re also in talks with a Barcelona store, with more details coming soon.

Then of course there is our web site.

Besides leather, I’ve been experimenting with paper — making notebooks, to be precise. Selecting and hand-binding papers has got to be one of the most Zen activities around. I get to use exotic snake skins, gold-toned leather, vegetable-tanned leather, and more in quite unconventional ways. And where I deem fit, to combine them with aso-oke fabrics. See  a selection of our hand-bound notebooks here.


Panic Room 282

What do you do when you’re not sure what to do? I was talking with a friend yesterday, and she said she makes lists. I was telling her how I make new things when I am not sure what to do, because that is what I do best these days, my safe haven activity.

A sick way to make a company work, then, is to put everyone in a space, create high levels of uncertainty over time, and watch what everyone does. Then get an organizational strategist or whatever to pick up the output of each person: lists, product, accounting, and whatever output-of-talent each employee has created in his/her uncertain-ness, and creatively compile them to move the company forward.

Is it true that we do our best work under stress? I don’t know. I do my best work when I am able to focus on the task at hand. I have found that ability to focus can be isolated from the levels of stress one is under, if this stress does not include physical pain. In high school, I would be the calm student waiting for the exam hall to open, while many of my classmates around me were cramming and reciting formulas. “Have you read everything?” they would ask. Most times, I would answer that it was impossible to read everything, and that I felt prepared enough for the exam.

Well, I think I surprised my friend because she was exclaiming that between this time and the last time we talked, I had introduced, launched as she put it, two or three new products, color variations and all. I wasn’t really launching, in my head, I was just producing, as artists are wont to do or whatever. I did read that people do more of what they like to do in times of unsureness, which is what happened with me. I am out of the uncertain bits now, I think.

Even when a situation seems high-octane, it is good to note the takeaways and advantages. For me, here are some:

  • I made several site improvements that I had been putting off. These include changing the image on mouse over on the products page, and a generous sprinkling of <div>s and <tr>s to improve site usability.
  • I learned how to use a different type of leather, and am adding items made with vegetable-tanned leathers to the collection
  • I am learning about myself, and most importantly,
  • I am learning how to ask for assistance when I’m stuck
  • I started, literally, a microblog native to the site. I will still keep blogging here.

What do you do in situations of uncertainty? How do you react? How do you wish you did?