Bukky Omotayo: Byko Afrika

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BKYO: A Collision of Bold & Chic. Every well dressed woman has them, unmatched pieces that turn a basic outfit into an exceptional one. From handcrafted pieces with a modern edge to a chic new take on your classic clutch, BKYO pieces are the keystone to unparalleled style. Each piece is inspired by Bukky’s African heritage and features bold shades of color. These vibrant pairings come to life in impeccably crafted pieces that are at once timeless and modern with just the right pop of color. Each piece is made from carefully chosen authentic Wax fabric and Cowhide Leather; above all, they are inspired by Afrika!

Where are you from and where do you live?
I am originally from Lagos, Nigeria. I moved to the US after college and I currently live in Dallas, TX.

What does BKYO AFRIKA stand for?
BKY is an abbreviation of my first name (Bukky). “O” is the first letter of my married name (Omotayo). AFRIKA is a reflection of my African heritage. My love for my African Heritage and fashion led me to create my brand BKYO.

When did you start your collection?
BKYO was birthed in April 2014. It was a time I was at cross-roads in my career. The company I was working for at the time was on a road to bankruptcy so it wasn’t the best of times. It was in this chaos that the inspiration came to launch my brand and I haven’t looked back since!

Where are the bags manufactured?
My bags are manufactured in NYC.

Why bags and not fashion?
I started with bags because I found it harder and harder to find exactly what I wanted/desired in the stores no matter how hard I searched and when I found the right one, it was too expensive. So I thought to myself “why not create what you want”? I started to sketch my ideal hand bag and the rest is history.

What were the challenges you faced when you started and how did you overcome it?
The main challenge was initial funding. I had to make a big decision to put all of my savings towards starting BKYO. It was a big risk but I am glad I took the plunge. The other on-going challenge is trying to balance my 9-5 job with BKYO. Initially I became burned out from the stress and doing it all myself, but I have learned to manage my time and resources the best I can and also take time out to de-tox.

What was the first bag that you designed?
My first creation was DEBBIE, named after the bible character Deborah. She was a counselor, warrior and wife; all virtues that inspire me. I love that she was a strong warrior but also caring enough to be a counselor and exemplary wife.

What is in the future of the brand?
My dream is to eventually branch out into the fashion industry and to have my African inspired pieces featured in major stores across the country.

Where do you find your inspiration?
My inspiration is drawn from my African heritage and classic objects. I love color and this is featured throughout my designs using bold shades of African print. My inspirations come to life in crafted pieces that are at once timeless and modern.

website: bkyoafrika.com
Instagram: @bkyo_afrika

 

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