From the beginning, Anthony Nsofor sought to create a brand that stays true to his creativity, upbringing and his love for jewellery. It is in this environment lleke was born. A chemical engineer by profession, Anthony was put in charge of his family business, importing glass beads, which proved to be a foundational learning experience. Being in such proximity to colourful materials and inspiring designs sparked Anthony’s creativity once again. Ileke transforms waste materials into valuable wearable art, the name “ileke,” literally means bead. It is a native Nigerian word that defines something of great value.
We had the opportunity to speak to Anthony and find out more about this brand, mission and how sustainability plays a role in his designs.
What inspired you to start your Ileke?
I have been long fascinated by paper and folding. I remember reading about paper jewellery in an inflight magazine and I thought to myself that this could be a great way to show off my creativity. As much as I wanted to grow my brand, I had to remember to incorporate sustainable and ethical processes at every step. On the customer end, I wanted to take them on a journey to explore the ways we have been able to recycle waste
What does sustainability mean to you?
For us, at IIeke we strive to build a 100% sustainable brand. We transform what a lot of people would consider waste into one of a kind pieces that add glamour and refinement to any outfit. We add value at every step of our production.
What are the goals of your Brand?
To change people’s perception of waste, contribute to achieving a cleaner Earth and reduce waste through Up-cycling and other cleaner and greener processes.
Do you believe your country is on track to fulfil its sustainable goals?
Yes, I believe that Nigeria is on the right track to fulfilling its sustainable goals. Through Collaborative efforts from Government and private Environmental groups, we are seeing some improvements. Many organizations are trying to improve awareness and are committed to ending the culture of littering while encouraging recycling and providing opportunities for waste management. It’s a gradual process and one we hope to attain someday.
Where do you see Ileke in 5 years?
Our online shop continues to show remarkable sales due to the constant support from our customers. 5 years from now we aim to break away with the tradition of using only metals in jewellery and incorporate paper waste as a viable and sustainable option.
How does your brand interact with the community?
At Ileke we work closely with a local silversmith company, they handcraft unique sterling silver findings for our collections. We also support a local charity that donates prosthetic limbs to child amputees.
We couldn’t be prouder of the work that Ileke is doing to reduce waste, connect with local artisans and support the local community. With stunning designs and a mission, we will be seeing more of the brand as it expands into new markets.
We could not be prouder of a brand that continues to champion sustainability in an exciting and innovative way.
For more information, feel free to reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org