RetyredGlam: Redefining Eco Friendly Design

Updated: Jan 19

Favour Oluma. Source: Favour Oluma

Favour Oluma is the 21-year-old university student from Benue State, Nigeria, who is transforming trash to art. In 2020, during the height of the COVID19 pandemic, she founded RetyredGlam, creating furniture and home accessories from old tyres. Yes… old tyres.

How did a young woman studying agriculture come up with such an ingenious idea?

“Whilst on hiatus from university, I was looking for something to do. There were all these old tyres piled around my neighbourhood and I thought to myself, ‘Ah, I can actually do something with these’. I developed an idea to recycle them into artsy and ultra-modern furniture.”

Favour got some money together and made her first piece. She calls it the prototype - a stool – that she posted on social media. “I made it, posted it (on social media), people loved it and started making orders.” Favour also realised how much she loved the process of creating and decided to turn her new-found passion into a business.

Why call it RetyredGlam?

“It’s three words joined together: ‘re-’, ‘tyre’ and ‘glam’. ‘Retyre’ means you are redefining tyres. So that’s where the ‘re’ came from, changing the state of the tyre. The ‘glam’ means something beautiful. ‘Retyredglam’, to me, means ‘changing tyres into beautiful household furniture’.”
Source: Favour Oluma

Nearly two years later, with the help of her family and friends, Favour is selling coffee tables, chairs, mirrors, shelving, stools and wall art throughout Nigeria. She works with all materials that she can, whether cloth, wood, foam or iron. The first piece she sold was a centre table and her first export was to Switzerland. Not bad for someone who had no qualifications or previous experience in design.

Where does her artistry come from then? It could be a family trait – her older brother designs and sells t-shirts. However, it sounds like the meshing of an entrepreneurial spirit, talent, passion and persistence. Favour says she just imagines her designs, puts her ideas on paper to play around with or she may spot a design and recreate it using a tyre.

“Before I started this I spoke to a few friends and they told me I could do this. I also spoke to my Dad and told him that this is what I wanted to do. It’s so sad that he didn’t get to see some of my products because he died soon after I started.”

There is so much that is remarkable about Favour’s journey to glamming up tyres. First, all the pieces are made by hand, at home and with the help and support of her family and friends. Pieces can take anywhere from 2-3 hours to 2-3 days to complete. She is not keen on having workers in her home but once she has a studio, she says she will. Next, the vast majority of her clients came through her social media platforms and word of mouth. Then she juggles being the creative designer and CEO of her own company whilst going to school. “Combining work and studies is very difficult but I work at night and go to school during the day.”

Being a young, female entrepreneur has also come with its challenges. “Sometimes people don’t believe that I can actually make the furniture myself, even when I post my work. It’s only when I show them videos that I convince them. Other people think that I’m too young. But the people that don’t criticize me are really encouraging.”

Source: Favour Oluma

Though right now space and finances are a challenge, Favour has big plans for RetyredGlam.

“In five years, I want to have a showroom in each of the six geopolitical areas of Nigeria as well as outside of Nigeria. I’ve made a lot of effort to get capital and I believe my efforts will soon pay off.”

… So, in about four years, if not sooner, watch this space for news on the grand opening of RetyredGlam Showrooms by Favour Oluma!

Source: Favour Oluma

For more on Favour and RetyredGlam go to:

Instagram: @retyredglam

Twitter: @Retyredglam

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