Allure Feature: Meet Boluwatife Ogunniyi, Founder of Inclusive Hair Accessories Brand “Ashanti Avenue”

For its May 2022 issue in the talent show feature, Allure magazine portrays a teenage entrepreneur from Toronto and Ashanti Avenue founder Boluwatife Ogunniyi.

In this feature, Bolawatife talks about her upbringing in Nigeria, the origin story of her hair accessories brand, and the goals she wants to achieve with her brand.

According to the publication:

When based in Toronto Boluwatife Ogunniyi19, couldn’t find any hair accessories that worked with her coils, so she got to work.

Boluwatife had a vision to create a space where women of all races could find pieces to feel beautiful. And from this vision, @shopashantiavenue was born.

Read excerpts from the interview below:

On his education:

I was born in a very densely populated area of ​​Lagos, Nigeria called Makoko. To grow [there], I saw with my own eyes what it was like to struggle to make ends meet. When my dad got a work visa, we moved to Jamaica and then to Canada. We lived in Parry Sound for a while, which is a small, [predominantly] white city. I remember kids wanting to touch my hair to see what it felt like.

At the birth of his brand:

I have thick hair which is generally difficult to style, and [I began] notice the lack of representation in hair accessories on the market. So [two years ago], around the age of 17, I started doing things for me that had more elasticity. I had a vision to create a space where women of all races could find pieces to feel beautiful, [but] I didn’t have the means to do it.

Then I heard about the Ontario Summer Company program, sponsored by the Ontario government, which provides business mentorship. Thanks to the program, I had a pop-up shop and that’s when I knew it could really work. Seeing people in my pieces made me so proud to be part of their hair journey.

On the goals she wants her brand to accomplish:

The goal of my brand is to create accessories that you can put on and take off knowing that your hair is beautiful the way it is. My headbands have a very flexible base: you can widen it if you have very big curls, and tighten it if you have fine hair.

As my business grows, I want to keep my handmade products. There’s a certain quality you can’t get from a machine.

Read the full Allure feature here.

David R. Brewer