GRACE IKOMI is the up and coming designer behind the new homeware brand, Village and Home.
The 46-year-old started her first business in October 2019 whilst working a full-time job in the City, and now hopes her African-Caribbean inspired designs are relatable and catch on during this year’s Black History Month.
The mother-of-three says: “I’ve always loved beautiful homes and I used to read a lot of these home magazines.
“It just built up from there and I saw a gap in the market with the homeware that was already out there, because none of it really represented Black people or our culture.
“So, I started to look at the most popular foods we eat like
the plantain and the scotch bonnet that we use in our everyday cooking to represent us as a people.”
Grace, who used to sketch her designs on the way to work, is the sole creative designer behind Village and Home’s “bright and bold colours” that she says have been received well by the public and continue to “puts smiles on people’s faces.”
Her business is going from strength to strength with her UK customer base and is now beginning to expand further within the European and American market.
She is now even developing her buying platforms to be more even e-commerce ready.
Following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, she believes it is more important than ever to support Black British fashion during a time she describes as “challenging” for her business.
“Black people as a whole are very creative people,” she says.
“But knowing that there are a lot of Black people ready to spend money supporting other Black businesses gives them that increased confidence.
“If they see something that represents them as a people and their culture, they will spend their money on that.”
Her designs spark conversation due to the cultural food symbols represent and consumers often use them when cooking with the very ingredients themselves, they also serve as being educational for those from other cultures.
Grace continues to be inspired by her upbringing when looking for future homeware designs for Village and Home.
She says, “I was born in South Africa and came here almost twenty-years ago and grew up visiting my grandparents in the village.
“I know some people were embarrassed to say they were from the village, but for me when you enter the village, everyone knows your name, everyone knows your family, you feel a lot of love and you eat wholesome good food that’s been freshly picked.”
There are plans to extend her homeware brand into bedding and crockery lines, with her designs being recently featured in Homestyle’s August issue.
“My designs are bright, bold and cheerful, they bring life to your kitchen,” she says.
“They represent your culture and cultural foods, so why not use that in your home.”
To shop Grace Ikomi’s designs, her products are available on Village and Home: https://www.sainsburys.co.uk/shop/gb/groceries/new—trending/black-history-month