Gbemi Elekula is a multi-disciplinary creative entrepreneur, the founder of DreamHome, a full-service interior design and styling company, as well as HUMANx, a fashion brand that is committed to tackling period poverty amongst less privileged girls and young women in Nigeria.
Gbemi’s fashion brand, HUMANx, strives to tackle period poverty, according to her “The motivation for establishing her fashion brand was because she wanted to create beautiful and expressive fashion products (tees, bottoms, dresses etc.) that would attract patronage, thereby providing the funding to tackle poverty challenges.
From early childhood, Gbemi had a strong fascination for colours and a deep love for design of all forms. “I started out creating greeting cards when—on birthdays and special occasions—our nanny would give us coloured pencils and ask us to make something for the celebrant. Then I progressed to painting with markers, and I would frame my works using broken louvres. I also made pillows,” she recalls.
Although her earlier aspiration was to become a doctor like her father, Gbemi found herself tending more towards the arts. She studied Fine and Applied Art for six years in secondary school, and she was the president of the school’s Fine Arts club. “But for the times, when most Nigerian parents didn’t consider creatives as serious professionals, I would have gone on to study creative art at the university.”
After graduating from the Federal University of Technology, Minna with a Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech.) in Quantity Surveying, Gbemi worked in the construction industry and, later, the financial services sector. But her interest in the arts never waned, and her creative side always shone no matter the endeavor. So, it was no surprise when she quit her job at the bank to pursue her passion for design and creative services.
Today, Gbemi not only champions the vision of DreamHome and HUMANx, but also oversees the creative design and production processes, ensuring adherence to timelines and quality standards.
Leveraging natural-born artistic talent, strategic vision, business acumen and an extensive network, she has advised many clients on interior styling for residential and commercial spaces, and created myriad designs of décor and fashion items.
For Gbemi, design should always be about people and their deeply-rooted desires. She has a remarkable ability to bring clients’ ideas to life, creating beautiful, functional spaces and pieces that are tailored to their personal style and practical needs. Gbemi prides herself as being an artistic visionary who is not afraid to push the boundaries of creative expression, building consensus and ensuring projects meet all milestones, deadlines, and budget requirements.
Each space, decorative piece (design throws and pillows, table covers, dispenser bottle covers, door mats, kitchen mats etc.) or fashion item (tees, bottoms and dresses) designed by Gbemi feels cozy, eclectic, and unique. Her works are elegant and timeless, the kind you will want to keep for the long run.
The enterprising creative also makes her own brand of fragrances, in reed diffusers, scented sachets and, very soon, room sprays and car AC vent clips. The best part? You don’t have to be super-wealthy to own any of these quality items.
Beyond personal gratification and commercial gain, Gbemi sees her creative ventures as a medium for addressing social issues. Through DreamHome, she has organised a number of cultural initiatives, the most recent being an art exhibition themed “United in a Pandemic & United as a Nation”, which was aimed at building solidarity and promoting joint action to stop the spread of COVID-19. The Nigerian Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed opened the exhibition.
Gbemi’s fashion brand, HUMANx, strives to tackle period poverty. “The motivation is simple: I wanted to create beautiful and expressive fashion products (tees, bottoms, dresses etc.) that would attract patronage, thereby providing the funding to tackle this monstrous challenge.
So, you can look at it as yet another medium for expressing my art. But I am solving a problem at the same time, as each sale unlocks access to better sanitary products for females in rural Nigeria. Our vision is “A world where period poverty is over. Period!”
For her creative exploits, She has been featured in several newspaper publications, radio and television programmes. FOX 34 News named her one of the Top Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2021.
In addition to a B.Tech. in Quantity Surveying, Gbemi has an MBA in Strategic and Project Management from the Paris Graduate School of Management and a Professional Diploma in Interior Design from the British College of Interior Design, Oxford, United Kingdom. She has attended several training and development courses in design and creativity.