Our Founder

Tomide Awe (pronounced "toh-mee-day ah-weh")

Favorite Queen Quote: 
“A queen on her throne is a woman who grows beyond boundaries, knowing that the power within her is sufficient to meet every obstacle.” 

Tomide Awe grew up in Nigeria, a country where a girl has a 73% chance of not going to school (UNESCO). Fortunately, Tomide had parents that could afford to send her to school--a fate unimaginable for 17 million girls in Africa today. This disparity did not escape Tomide, and as a result, her entire life revolved around finding a way to make sure that every girl would some day have the same opportunities that she had.

As a Nigerian, Tomide was constantly surrounded by traditional prints and textiles and got to wear them to weddings of family members as well as other ceremonial functions. To her, these textiles are symbolic of tribal roots so deep and stories so dear to the people of these regions. She always admired the art and craftsmanship behind these textiles and after moving to England to study & developing friendships with non-Africans, she wanted to find a way to share her culture with her friends in a way that they also could appreciate. This is where the idea of developing a handbag company began to bud as she considered handbags to be the one thing that her and her female friends could not do without.

While finishing her last year as an MBA candidate at The Wharton School, Tomide was inspired to leverage the beauty and cultural richness of Africa as a way to solve the education problem for girls around the world. After many months of planning, traveling, and prototyping, Olori was born.