Her introduction is simply modest—Jumoke Oyeneyin, wife, mother and the CEO, Jummhy Exclusive Laces & Fabrics. She is modestly elegant too. What just beats the imagination is how she has remains humble in the midst of affluence. Mrs Oyeneyin is a power dresser and a lover of exotic jewellery. Everything about her speaks just one word—panache. Even her husband, Otunba Noah Oyeneyin cannot be ignored among captains of industryin Nigeria. The 50-year-old speaks to Owambevibes magazine in this interview.
I was born and raised an Ijebu, Ogun State. I am a graduate of the Ogun State Polytechnic, Abeokuta but I attended Command Secondary School Ibadan. I am affiliated to Ondo by marriage. My father was a soldier. Fortunately for me, I was not a naughty child and I didn’t receive beatings. But our parents were very strict. My mum was a teacher and our father, who is late, was a soldier and he was always getting transfers from one station to the other. I was born and raised in Ijebu Ode. We were a simple family of five. It was a humble beginning but we were in the boarding house. Childhood was fun because we were modest.
Style is a totality of who you are—the clothes you wear, your shoes, your home, your office, your shop and more. A fashionable woman is one who loves fashion, someone who loves good clothes, jewellery and everything that has to do with you. Being a stylish person has to do with your wardrobe, home, your presentation. You have to cut across and blend things well. I don’t have to see you all dressed up before I would say you are fashionable.
It’s a good thing that we haven’t been left behind in the fashion world. Nigerian women are top-notch fashion icons. Even at parties, you get women looking so good and wearing good jewelry and clothes. We are rated high in the style department anywhere in the world.
I’ve always wanted to dress up. I have always had a flair for looking good and as I grew, I loved to dress up. I love good jewellery even as a very young girl. For fabrics, I have always loved sourcing for fabrics and was doing it for personal use until I realised I had excess fabrics which I decided to dispose of. That pushed me into selling fabrics because what I was buying for myself was getting too much for me. But then, I was doing the business from home. That’s over 20 years ago.
My home—husband and kids—is my priority. They are top on my list. You can’t stop being a mum. No. Even with my business, I had to compromise at a point. Then, my kids were just growing up and were in nursery/primary school. I knew I had to do a business that wouldn’t take me far from home. At a time I was into gift items and I had a shop in Iponri, Lagos but I felt it was taking too much of my time and I had to steer clear of it—I needed time for my kids. So, I returned to jewelry and fabrics. Then, friends, family and my husband’s friends came around the house and bought from me. I’m comfortable doing it but a lot of people wondered why I did that. It worked for me but that doesn’t mean it would work for some other women. I would not tell a career woman to leave her job and face her kids. It has to do with what works for you, just learn how to prioritize everything.
I’ve been in business for over 20 years but I’m just coming out publicly to have a shop and build my brand. Competition? I don’t think that I am in competition with anyone. When you are consistent with what you do and you make sure you source for genuine fabrics, clients would come for your products. Also, there is the need for commitment to the business and a sense of focus. I don’t look at what someone else is doing; I do what is comfortable for me. In this business know what you want and set a target for yourself.
There is no special way to starting a fabrics business. All you need do is to take a step at a time. You need not break a bank but rather you need to grow into it. You need to be focused to grow and move forward. You don’t need to buy all—buy what you can sell and what your clients would buy. If you want the high-end fabrics, why not? You start from somewhere and display what you have.I travel a lot. Sourcing for fabrics is second nature to me and that makes it easy plying my trade. Even when I’m not buying fabrics, I still have to travel.
Advice to Young Entrepreneurs There are so many things involved in the making of any successful woman you see. Don’t see the finished products alone, see what is involved. First, know what you want. But what you want isn’t what you get, so be patient. Be humble, slow down and be reasonable. There’s no short cut to riches.
To have a successful marriage, you must marry your friend. I met my husband early but I didn’t get married until I was 24. He has always been my friend and we understand each other very well. Just ensure you are married to your friend. My husband has had a previous marriage and things didn’t work well for him. So, he understood what he wanted in a woman. A successful marriage has to do with understanding between the two of you. Agreeing on certain terms, disagreeing on some and creating ways to make it work. That’s arriving at a compromise that would augur well for you and the kids.
Life As a Mum/Entrepreneur Raising kids now is challenging—social media, peer pressure etc you have to be there for them and monitor them. I’ve always been a hands-on mum. While they were young, I monitored them—homework, lesson etc. It’s a continuous process and even now that they are having their Masters degrees, we still communicate like friends.
Social Life Attending owambes and celebrating with friends, clients and family members is something that I’ve been doing and I know where to draw the line. I know when to strike a balance. I know when to leave a party and head for home. It’s all about knowing your priorities. My first priority is my home-front. Everything isn’t money—my kids matter to me. My husband also matters and I need to strike a balance to be a good mum, a good wife, a successful businesswoman who still has time to socialise. I am a very private person and people don’t know much about me but I live each day as it comes
Beauty Routine I take water; I walk two hours every morning. I exfoliate my skin and I eat in moderation but I eat everything. I can wear anything as long as it’s comfortable. And it sits well on me. I used to tie my gele in a particular style those days, but these days, make-up artist has mellowed the size of my gele. I still know how to tie my gele anyways.
Jummhy Exclusive Fabrics Our walk-in store is located in Esteek Plaza, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos. Really, I want to build a brand name for my business, Jummhy Exclusive Laces & Fabrics. It has to do with quality; I want people seeing less of my face but more of what I do.