Nigerian Designer: Kunmi Otitoju

Three years on, Minku continues to define a fresh sub-Saharan aesthetic through its subtle use of cultural elements and artisan approach to contemporary bagmaking.

Minku founder Kunmi was on a computer science research and consultancy path when she discovered her intense enjoyment of designing and creating everyday items.

She received her Masters degree in Computer Science from Virginia Tech in 2007, and graduated summa cum laude with a Computer Science Bachelors degree from Howard University in 2005, interning in the technology division of Goldman Sachs in the summers of 2003 and 2004. Prior to that, she attended secondary school in Queen’s College, Lagos, Nigeria. There, she won the Fine Arts prize every year.

In 2011, after stints at Goldman Sachs and a few other international corporations, Otitoju established Minku, a fast-growing high-end Afro-centric brand that produces luxury bags, wallets and other fashion accessories for men and women by subtly blending Aso-oke into contemporary Spanish leathers to present a transcontinental finish.

All Minku’s products are hand-made at a workshop in Barcelona, Spain, but they are sold at high-end stores in Nigeria and on the company’s website.

In 2014, Forbes Magazine named Kunmi as one of the 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs in Africa (Forbes list pdf; interview html).

Minku is a family-run limited liability company. Kunmi hand-makes each bag in the Minku line, working from her workshops in Barcelona and Lagos.

The Minku philosophy:

  • There lies a unique beauty in things painstakingly handmade.
  • Repurpose, reuse, and reduce waste (80% of our bag interiors are lined with repurposed items of Yoruba ceremonial dress – aso-oke and damask fabrics).
  • Personalized design over masstige whenever possible.

The typical Minku loyalist:

  • has a strong ability to respond with appreciation and excitement to everyday items made in an unusual way.
  • appreciates the functionality of a well-made bag.

Facebook: Minku 
Twitter: @MinkuDesign

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