A project manager by profession, Ijeure Ezebuike Onwadike is the Founder and Creative Director of the luxury celebrity award-winning accessory brand, Urezkulture. A brand that was “born more out of passion than the need to do business.”
Ijeure is the accessory designer to the stars and her pieces have graced the crowns of top fashionistas, actresses, socialites – she totally owned the Met Gala themed red carpet premiere for Ocean’s 8. Ije’s creative pieces adorned the head of guests like Toke Makinwa, Nowe Isibor, Tajé Prest, Simi Drey, Bolaji Ayinde and Stephanie Busari.
The fashion industry/business is cutthroat but with over 15 years in the industry, this brain box has worked hard and smart in maintaining the relevance and success of the Urezkulture brand in Nigeria by adding her own dose of elixir to enhancing the beauty of women.
Ijeshakara, as she is fondly called, describes herself as an extrovert, someone who is a focused and hardworking goal-getter with a strong passion for designing and creating beautiful accessories.
She is the last daughter of Dr & Mrs Ozurumba Ezebuike, telling us that growing up for her was so much fun and exciting.
I grew up with a father who was so hardworking and very disciplined and a mother who is so creative and resilient. My mother is my hero. They both raised us with so much love and instilled in all of us moral discipline and inspired us to never relent in achieving greatness.
We took some time out to get to know more about Ije and the Urezkulture brand and here’s all the tea we’ve got for you!
How did you come up with the name UrezKulture?
Urez is coined from the suffix of my first name Ijeure. Culture, as we all know, is described as the way of life of a group of people but I decided to change the C to a K so it sounds different.
How would you describe your brand?
My brand is vivacious. Urezkulture is the go-to label for all things elegant, classy and timeless. We offer bespoke, very distinctive pieces to our amazing clientele.
Did you get any formal millinery training?
I started out self-trained first. Made hats out of straws and feathers, then after a while, I took some classes to get the basics.
Would you say UrezKulture is for every woman?
I can safely say no because you have to have some certain type of personality to be able to pull off some of our pieces.
So, who is the ideal UrezKulture woman?
An Urezkulture Woman is bold, chic and elegant. She is a perfect blend of allure, femininity and strength. A woman that is not afraid to stand out. She is unapologetically in a class of her own.
What inspires you and your design process? What are your favourite materials and colours to work with?
Am inspired by nature, colours of the birds, shapes and architectural designs. My favourite materials to work with are crystals, feathers and sequins. My favourite colours have got to be red and gold.
You’re a wife, mother and entrepreneur. How do you juggle all these aspects of your life?
Yes, I’m married and blessed with 3 amazing kids. It’s not been particularly easy juggling all the roles in my life. I have enjoyed a lot of grace and support. Grace has come from the boundless God-given energy to undertake things and yet be blessed with things human effort can never buy.
I would have to say that I have a great support system. I cannot quantify the support I have enjoyed from my husband to my mum, cousins and aunts. I can say am better equipped to function beautifully in all my roles as a wife, mum, daughter, entrepreneur, creative designer, boss to mention but a few.
If you weren’t a milliner, what would you be doing instead?
Doctor. My father would have forced me. But because I had this passion, he didn’t bother.
What do you do for fun & what are your fears?
I love my work so I’m allowed to call it a hobby. Also biking, playing lawn tennis, reading books and spending quality time with my children. My Fears: heights and injections.
What’s your favourite UrezKulture piece?
I can’t really lay my hands on a favourite because all my pieces are obsessively gorgeous. They are hard-wired to be so, so adorable.
Who has been your favourite celebrity/influencer to partner with?
My favourite celebrity influencer has to be Uyiosa Olowu.
Who would you say your competitors are?
I do have a lot of competitors in the industry, but then again there’s no competition in creativity. My greatest strengths of business are my design aesthetics. They are unique to me and this is clear for everyone to see, even our clients can testify to this. Anywhere you are in a crowd, our piece will hold its own even amongst international brands.
The amazing prettiness of my pieces keeps our clients hooked and always coming back for more. They are breathtaking and timeless pieces. UrezKulture pieces are a collector’s item.
What are you plans for UrezKulture in the next 3 – 5 years?
I intend for my brand to continually be at the forefront of the Nigerian fashion accessory revolution through an innovative and diversified product offering.
While my main drive is to be part of the force that will take Nigerian fashion to greater heights both nationally and internationally. Using my exposure and knowledge and to mentor, a new generation of corporate accessory designers who are well trained, equipped and primed to successfully run their own craft businesses.
Presently, I’m working on our brand website to make purchases more accessible and easier for our numerous clients in and out of Nigeria. Also, our millinery and craft academy would be set up online.
Thanks for talking to us Ijeshakara!