- Popular LAGOS Diamond Merchant, SHADE ADESOYE
If one is talking about one Nigerian luxury jewellery merchant, Otunba Folashade Adunni Risikat Adesoye’s name will pop up. She is the CEO of one of the most sought-after jewellery shop in Nigeria, Jewellery Affair. Aside the fact that she is a socialite per excellence, she has been able to carve a niche for herself in the business. Most timeless jewellery adorned by most socialites and celebrities could be traced to Jewellery Affair, Adesoye’s shop. Her humility has also made her the choice of many rich Nigerians.
She has also been able to make her brand a household name as far as jewellery is concerned. Even her pretty daughter, Mayomi, has her line of business called “Meeyas Goldlink”. It is an upscale jewellery brand for upward mobile young celebrity babes and guys.
Penultimate weekend, City People’s Assistant Society Editor, ABIOLA ORISILE, had an exclusive interview with the Ijebu Chief, Otunba Folasade Adesoye on why celebrities buy diamond more than gold and why her brand is unique. Enjoy it.
How did you start Jewellery Affair?
I started Jewellery Affair when most people didn’t want to open shop to sell luxury jewellery. I travelled abroad and bought some collections, which I told my friends to come and see. They loved them and bought some of them, on which I made little profit. That was the beginning of Jewellery Affair. The shop was opened 10 years ago, but I have been in the business for over 2 decades.
How did you get the name, Jewellery Affair?
It was a name which just came from me. I just thought of a name for my brand and I settled for Jewellery Affair. Really, I have so much passion for jewellery and I love jewellery to a fault. It was even my passion for it that made me go into it as a business.
What is the difference among 18-carat, 14-carat and 22-carat?
14-carat is mostly use in United State. It is used mostly by American people. It is cheaper than 18-carat gold. 18-carat gold is what is widely accepted in Nigeria. 22-carat is accepted by Northerns. The Hausa used to love 22-carat. It is not of the same colour as 14 or 18. So, it is more of gold. These days, the Hausa go more for 18-carat gold because everybody likes the 18-carat classy gold.
How do you identify 18, 14, and 22-carat?
Well, you may not be able to identify each of the carats beau use some 22-carat gold look like 18-carat gold, but mostly, 22-carat is very yellowish. The 18-carat is like regular gold, which is either “Mat or Satin”. It is regular yellow and white Gold, but not like 22-carat, while 14-carat looks like18-carat.
When we mention Jewellery Affair, first thing that comes to mind is diamond not gold, how did you start, was it Gold before diamond?
We started with gold. I mean, pure 18-carat gold and at a point, Nigerians were crazy about diamond. Everybody loves diamond and we decided to diversify from the usual symbol diamond that people used to wear in those days. So, we decided to diversify into what can raise the value of what they are buying. At some points, everybody wanted diamond. You know, it a luxury brand, so people want diamond or nothing.
You are one of those, who started embellishing diamond with gold, what brought that?
It is just passion for what we do. If you are passionate about what you do, you will keep improving on it. You want your customers to be happy at the end of the day. You want them to get value for their money. You want them to look at their piece and fall in love with it. This was borne out of love for jewellery.
What makes Jewellery Affair stand out?
It is the uniqueness of our collection. Our collection can not be seen anywhere. Do you know why? It is because we select, modify and tell the producers the stone we want. Diamond and gold designs are luxury jewellery that could not be seen everywhere. So, we design with the manufacturers and that is what stands us out.
Your brand is popular among A-list Nigerians, how did you do it?
Well, aside the fact that I am a socialite, I have also been able to build Jewellery Affair to an enviable height. I don’t want to mention names of my clients. It is their private life, but people who know us acknowledge that when you buy at Jewellery Affair, you buy exclusive. It is God’s glory all the way. Gold has second hand value just like diamond. For instance, if you buy gold 10 years ago, you will be happy if you sell today, the value would have gone up. That is why many people buy gold. It is an investment people will rather buy gold than designers bags.
Why should a celebrity buy diamond than gold?
‘Diamonds are forever’. One, a gold design can go out of style, but a diamond design can never be out of fashion. If you have a piece of diamond you bought 10 years ago, you can still rock it now as if you just bought it yesterday. ‘Diamonds are forever’. You can’t have diamond and say, my jewellery is out of fashion. Or I want to go and change it. Yes, you can change it, but it looks new all the time. That is the beauty of diamond.
There is this saying that colour stones are more expensive, how true is that?
Yes, if you are getting the ruby, saphire, emerald, depending on the cut, clarity, obviously each comes with a price. Diamonds come with clarity, carat, and quality. It comes with different ranges. We have the VS, VSI, VVS which are the top. Diamonds are white, but there are yellow diamonds, pink, different colours. Yellow Saphire is a stone. It comes in different colours, Emerald, and ruby, also come in different grades and you have to sell according to grade.
Do you sell in grams like gold?
No, they sell in carat and not in grammes. The quality depends the on the carat. One carat that is a solid rock and you can have 1 carat that is a broken stone. So, when you are buying, a rock is different from a carat in broken pieces.
You haven’t finished explaining why celebrity love diamond than gold?
You stand out when you wear gold. Gold makes you complete. Gold gives you confidence.
How have you been able to build your brand to an enviable height.
It is the glory of Allah and relationship with customers and what you give to them. When you are passionate about what you do, people will see it.
How do you feel seing one of your daughters in your line of business?
Well, Mayomi runs Meeyas Goldlink. I thank God for that. Mayomi was on a short visit to Nigeria after she completed her Master’s. She came for 3 months. She couldn’t sit at home because she was use to working in London. She said Mum, let me be coming to shop.
She came one day and I said, you did Accounting in school, help us manage our books. She started with the books and one thing led to another. She started having interest in it. So, anytime I am in Milan, which is just a stone throw to London, I will ask her if she wanted to come for exhibition to see what it looks like. That was how she called one day and said she wanted to go into the business. So far, she is awesome.
I couldn’t have asked for more. She talked to customers and many fell in love with her immediately and it is not as if she saw me talking to customers. She relate so well and I will be like Mayomi. She is doing our design and the passion is waoh! Like the Y-bar you spoke about was her idea. She sketches and people buy from her. Gold and diamond are luxury brands, and Meeya’s targets are young people, but the elderly people buy from her too. Meya’s gold is for young celebrities, while Jewellery Affair is for the A-list people. The economy of Nigeria has also made many A-lists dress down to go low-scale too with Meeyas Collection. Mayomi has been so amazing and I respect her creativity.