We are very proud to bring you this weeks wonder woman, Yvonne Telford, known for her honest, thought provoking and inspiring instagram posts, as well as her amazing brand Kemi Telford/KemiKids. At KemiKids we create beautiful and exceptional accessories with great slogans that are fun, purposeful and empowering. Our aim is to create stunning products that celebrate motherhood and womanhood. We love Yvonne’s ethos, find out why she feels it’s important to evolve as a woman by, working on how to be ‘not so humble’ about her achievements.
FF: Can you tell us a bit about your background?
YT: I was born in Nigeria and my early education was all in Nigeria. I left Nigeria twenty years ago – when I was in my 20s – in order to live in England. I studied Law in London and went on to work in a pharmaceutical company as a Credit Risk Analyst. I resigned from this role when I had my first child, so that I could stay at home with her.
FF: Why did you start Kemi Telford?
YT: The Kemi Telford brand was born out of two needs. 1) To be more independent and 2) To encourage women to be the best that they can be by sharing my own story with unapologetic slogans on apparels. I had been a stay-at-home mum for almost 8 years and I was becoming unhappy with being just that. I wanted more for myself and I also wanted to show my daughters (who had grown up just seeing me as the person who takes care of the home and everyone else) that their mum is not only a mother; she can kick asses too. The brand has evolved so much that now it is a brand to go to when you want a positivity boost.
FF: What does Future Female mean to you?
YT: Future Female is the woman who knows who is she is, what her value is, and she does compromise on that.
FF: What is your creative process?
YT: I don’t have one per se. However, all of the slogans I design and create come from my life’s story. When a positive slogan pops into my head, I write it down immediately or it disappears. I will also ponder on the slogan and let it brew. If it stays in my head after a few days, I’ll go ahead with the idea; I will also talk it through with my daughters, husband and my trusted friends. Next, I’ll do my research into the true meaning of the word, who has used the slogan before and how I can make it better.
FF: What do you love about being your own boss, and what are the challenges?
YT: The flexibility that working for myself gives me is incredible. Also, seeing my business grow is satisfying. Being a mother of two young girls and running a business is not easy, but it’s doable. I have had to change how I use my time as this is precious to me. I still struggle with the day-to-day running of the business. This problem will be fixed soon as the business is now able to employ someone on a part time basis.
FF: Can you tell us about a project that is inspiring you at the moment?
YT: I am working on several different projects at the moment. I am particularly excited about the jewellery pieces to be launched in the next few months. I wanted something fun, light and sassy. There is something for everyone in this range.
FF: There is a shift in how and where women work, was it a natural progression for you to go it alone and why?
YT: The way women work has changed for the better. A lot of women are now running businesses from home. However there is still a lot of work to be done for the women who are employed by companies. I don’t think it was a natural progression for me to go it alone. It just happened without any planning. After 7 years of staying at home, I eventually went back to work for a year. During that year, I discovered that I was unhappy working for others. To be fair to my then employer, he was very flexible with me. I was able to drop off and pick up my daughters at school, and during the holidays I did not have to work. But, there was a yearning in me to go it alone. I wanted more flexibility in my life.
FF:What is inspiring you at the moment? Whether its creatively, or a personal level or a friendship?
YT: What I find really inspiring are the honest conversations women are having on social media at the moment. Women are boldly talking about the lack of diversity and inclusion. Women are also rebelling against being told what their lives should be like. They are tired of being told what they should look like and how to parent their children. There is a revolution brewing and I am excited.
FF: If there was one thing you would change about your life as a woman what would it be?
YT: There is a Nigerian proverb that goes “When the lizard falls from the tree, if no one praises it, it praises itself.” I am working on how to be “not so humble” about my achievements. It has taken a lot of sacrifice and hard work for me to be where I am at the moment. Plus, men are not particularly modest about what they have worked hard for. They shout it out.
FF: Are there key messages you are passing on to your children when it comes to gender equality, how important do you think it is to change your story around gender?
YT: I encourage my daughters to question everything. I tell them to question their teachers. I encourage them to read books. I encourage them to be curious. I tell them to ignore the lies that society tells them on what they can achieve as girls. I also encourage them to question what I tell them. They have to question me because I may get it wrong. I have worked so hard on my way of thinking about gender equality but I am still a product of the old Nigerian patriarchy upbringing. Everything I was told as a child about what a woman should be or do, I tell them the opposite.
FF: What are you reading at the moment?
YT: The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav
FF: How would you describe your fashion style?
YT: I am a vintage girl and I try not to do subtlety. My style is bold and “in your face”.
Big gratitude to Yvonne Telford for sharing her pearls of wisdom and inspiring us to be the Future Female we wish to see in the world. Check out Yvonne’s website Kemi Telford Store to purchase one of Yvonne’s amazing empowering jewellery pieces and receive an exclusive discount using code FUTURE1 (available for 24 hours from the time this blog goes live) And follow her instagram feed here Kemi Telford Instagram