Welcome back to another ‘Noire Excellence’ segment. This time around I want you to meet Tosin. She’s a UK native who has taken home decor to the next level with these one of a kind rug creations. I had the pleasure recently to sit down and chat with her a bit and ended up getting the inside scoop of OT&O. Want to see what I found out? Just keep reading…
ATBEL: Hello! So tell me a little more about yourself and what it is that you do..
OTO: Hi, my name is Tosin James-Odukoya and I am from England in the United Kingdom. My company OT&O Home Interiors have the abbreviations of my first full name Oluwatosin and my mother’s surname Owuye who I also partnered with in my business. I am the creative director of a rug designer company.
ATBEL: How long have you been making these one of a kind rugs? And what made you want to start making them?
OTO: It has officially become a year since I started designing rugs. I was unemployed for 9 months between 2014 and 2015 and this pushed me to go back to what I enjoyed doing as a child which was sketching. I’ve always had a passion for fashion and interior design but chose to pursue a career in HR within financial services. My mother started making wall art and I wanted to help her launch her business because her hobby complimented my love for home decor. My sketches were simple but told a story and I wondered what else I could do with them. So I eventually decided to find a manufacturer of carpets and I located one in India and after that, the samples were made within 2 months.
ATBEL: The designs you make are absolutely beautiful! What inspires you to make a certain theme for a particular rug?
OTO: Thank you! I don’t usually think of themes, I really just go with the flow. The inspiration behind my designs is related to my cultural heritage, fashion favorites and unique of all my emotions.
ATBEL: Are the rugs handmade?
OTO: Yes they are, all the rugs are hand-tufted. Loops of wool are inserted through the canvas backing of the rug that has been imprinted with my design.
ATBEL: How long does the process take from start to finish on one of these rugs? And is it just you that helps with creating the rugs? Or is there a whole team involved?
OTO: It takes 10 – 20 weeks from the beginning stages of the design to the manufacture of a new sample. Everything depends on the material required and complexity of my design. I do not make the rugs, but I do work closely with my manufacturer in India and the team that is based there.
ATBEL: Can a customer get one specially made or can they only pick from the options provided?
OTO: Yes, I do welcome custom orders.
ATBEL: I love how detailed the rugs are. From the full lips, colorful head wraps and long eyelashes; like you thought of everything and I’m all here for it! lol. What comes to your mind when you decide what details go with which rug?
OTO: LOL! Who wouldn’t want long black lashes and full juicy lips?! It’s all we see nowadays. I honestly think less is more. The shape and colors I use to make the rugs standout so the additional features are kept simple to enhance their beauty. I could however go crazy with my ideas.
ATBEL: I noticed that you even have a rug named Erykah (hairflip! Lol) How do you come up with the names for each rug? Erykah is a great choice btw =)
OTO: Hahaha! Erykah Badu is an icon and her love for head wraps are known worldwide and now everyone can relate my design to her beautiful name. I like names with meanings and ones people can relate to; it is however the hardest part of the process.
ATBEL: These rugs have a lot of African influences in them. Is that apart of your heritage?
OTO: Yes, both of my parents are Nigerian.
ATBEL: Do you make anything else besides your one of a kind rugs?
OTO: Yes, my mum designs and makes wall art and we also have a collection of lace cushions that are inspired by Nigerian fashion.
ATBEL: Where can people find you via social media so that they to can get one of your one of a kind creations?
OTO: We are on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and soon to be on Tumblr. otandohomeinteriors.com
ATBEL: That’s pretty much all I have for you today but I wish you all the best in the future with your endeavors and thanks again for taking the time out to interview with me today…I appreciate it.
OTO: Thank you very much for the opportunity.
Til next time loves…