Designer Profile: Eva Sonaike

Avoi Sonaike’s make of vibrant interior textiles and accessories was created from the desire ‘to bring homes to existence with color’ as well as in celebration of the vibrant African aesthetic.

Launched within the United kingdom in ’09, her products happen to be stocked at Selfridges, Liberty and Fenwick and therefore are now offered worldwide through boutique stores in countries including Australia, France, Nigeria, USA and Hong Kong.

She describes her signature interior planning look as ‘African, particularly west African: a glance of luxury modernism having a high dosage of color’ and she or he references the means by which being born and elevated in Germany and finding pleasure in her own Nigerian heritage has inspired her to fuse individuals cultural influences and make the type of uplifting products she wanted but was not able to source on her home.


Avoi Sonaike’s first career was like a journalist. After studying for any BA in Journalism in the London College of Printing as well as an MA popular Journalism in the esteemed London College of favor, she labored with German national television across different systems, then spent six further years like a Fashion Editor in publications editorial at titles for example German Elle, In Fashion and concentrate.

The transfer of focus from fashion to interiors came although refurbishing her very own London Docklands apartment. Avoi thought it was difficult to source luxurious homeware having a wealthy African aesthetic so when she go about designing her very own fabric for cushions the spark was ignited on her business enterprise.

‘My husband and that i are generally of African descent, so we aspired to high finish, quality products to the taste but there is very little available on the market which i found appealing. I produced a very small assortment of cushions in my flat so when my buddies all loved them I began to consider maybe I possibly could start a small company quietly,’ Avoi explains. ‘In hindsight, establishing a business would be a very brave factor to complete. I had been youthful coupled with a significant stable career in journalism and it was really busy, enjoying my job however i desired to work more creatively.’


Researching the necessities on her business started during six several weeks of maternity leave. ‘As I journalist I understood how you can research, that was invaluable as I needed to discover everything myself.’

She sourced a printer to print her designs along with a factory to create up accessories. A company contact introduced her towards the buyer at Selfridges who place in her first order, after which came the leap of belief.

Through 2009 and 2010 Avoi labored difficult to secure other stockists. There have been many ups and downs. ‘We knocked on a lot of doorways and that i got more rejections than acceptance.’

Her tenacity was rewarded with listings at Liberty and Fenwick in addition to boutique shops but because Avoi procedes to explain, ‘then the design and style aesthetic altered to “British floral” and that i were built with a really tough couple of years, trying keep your business afloat. I had been doing everything myself from blog conntacting marketing to designing to sourcing and managing production. I believe lots of people might have quit.’

Avoi thought that presence at industry events could be pivotal to success and tenaciously adopted her instincts. ‘It was a lot more challenging in those days when it comes to finding information and becoming exposure. There wasn’t any Instagram or social networking to talk of which means you needed to actually work challenging your projects seen.’

She procedes to say, ‘I understood I thought about being an worldwide logo and to determine my products globally and that i understood from my experience like a journalist that industry events were key. My first show was the ICFF in New You are able to this year. It had been a very interesting learning curve. I travelled available on my own and hang up everything by myself however it was useful since i were built with a very effective show and became stocked in several boutiques over the US. In 2012, I visited Maison & Objet in Paris – my dream show – which would be a really significant method of reaching a worldwide audience.’

Her instincts demonstrated right and her range now features fabrics, wallpapers, pouffes and splendid rugs, sticking carefully to that particular original DNA.

‘Inspiration for brand new collections is definitely from west Africa. For me personally it’s probably the most inspiring place. I did not develop there however i consider it home to some extent. After I go “home” Personally i think my most authentic self. There’s a lot inspiration. It is filled with positive energy, color, design, movement and that i still feel enthusiastic about using this inspiration around the world stage,’ states Avoi.


‘I never opt for trends, I actually do things i like and delay pills work. You have to be conscious of trends for marketing as well as in language you use, however i think you shouldn’t compromise your authenticity it is best to attempt to believe in yourself. With regards to my design I’ve got a very obvious style. Like a designer or creative you decide to go through phases but my signature type of an African story will be exactly the same.’