In celebration of the five-year anniversary of Marquette University’s 707 Hub, Marquette Today is looking back at past winners of the Brewed Ideas Challenge. Oluwapelumi Oguntade earned the honor in 2019.
“It takes a village to raise a child.”
Originally from Nigeria, Marquette student Oluwapelumi Oguntade understands this proverb first hand as she works to create cultural allies and spread love to all cultures through her fashion brand, OLUOMO WORLDWIDE.
OLUOMO won first place in the Social Innovation section in Marquette 707 Hub’s Brewed Ideas Challenge. Oluwapelumi, a rising sophomore and economics major, plans to use the prize money to expand her business. In this Q&A, she shares her vision for the future.
What is one thing Marquette has taught you since coming here?
Marquette has taught me to not be afraid to start a conversation and ask questions — because one conversation can be really valuable to you, the other person, or even better, both! Through this, I have made wonderful friends!
Where do you see yourself after graduation?
I see myself constantly expanding the company. This includes accquiring more team members that have more expertise in successfully running a business, while also keeping the OLUOMO dream of fashion. That means fashion that is functional, accessible, versatile and long-lasting.
How does the process work?
Customers can choose from preexisting OLUOMO styles or have something curated just for them. It takes about 7-10 days to receive the new piece of clothing.
What types of clothing pieces do you offer?
OLUOMO offers Nigerian fabrics like Ankara, lace, adiire, guinea brocade, or something custom specially requested by a customer.
Approximately what is the price for a custom piece of fashion?
The average price is $75 for a blouse and $100 for a dress. The average price is $25 a piece for jewelry and scarves.
How did you come up with the idea? What inspired you?
I wanted a one-stop-shop for different ethnic fashion and I had a deep longing to be surrounded by aspects of my culture that I love all the time, rather than occasionally.
Is there a meaning behind the name?
OLUOMO means a One of a Kind person in my Yoruba language of Nigeria. This name embodies who I want to be and what I want the brand to be — a person and a brand that is valuable, one people want to be reckoned with.
What makes your idea unique?
I have yet to see a brand that highlights and brings different cultures together with the awareness that all people have different body shapes and you can’t make them conform to the “standard” measurements. Our target customers are also people beyond our culture because we really want to spread the love and knowledge beyond us.
What are your interests outside of the class?
Talking about writing at the writing center, running a business, and catching up with friends.
How do you think this will benefit the Marquette community and/or greater Milwaukee Community?
Beyond the fashion aspect, OLUOMO WORLDWIDE opens doors to the critical cultural conversations needed. My brand provides the cultural education needed to begin engaging in those conversations. I feel that this will bridge the gap and lessen some of the racial tensions on campus by creating more allies.
How do you plan to use the prize money from the Brewed Ideas competition for your business?
I plan to use it to build an inventory of fabrics and accessories, pay for the cost of vendor spaces, and pay for the cost of both business cards and branding.
Any long-term goals you have in mind for your business?
My long-term goal is to incorporate more cultures so that we can live up to the dream of being a one-stop-shop for ethnic fashion. I’d also like to have sub-brands called OLUOMO Women, OLUOMO Men, and OLUOMO Children.
Any additional thoughts?
There is a common African proverb that it takes a village to raise a child, and that saying holds true here at OLUOMO WORLDWIDE. The brand’s success has truly been a team effort. Now, I want to use this opportunity to thank God for propelling me forward to meet the right people, so I could talk about my dreams and goals. I also want to use this opportunity to thank my team for listening to my ideas and helping me refine and execute them. I really appreciate you all and may God bless you!