Grace Ikomi’s designs are vibrant, modern and will brighten up your kitchen in an instant. The products at Village and Home have become so popular that Grace is now selling on Amazon and will even be featuring in The Great British Exchange pop-up store at Kingston’s John Lewis from Monday 14th to Sunday 20th December. With designs this colourful and unique, it is no wonder they are selling so quickly.
Grace was born in South Africa and has lived in the UK all of her adult life. After attending university in Leeds, she now lives in Epsom with her husband and children. Following university, Grace started work as a Food Technologist before changing careers and working as a Legal Assistant for city firms.
Grace told us: “It made sense for me to make that leap into business because I could see a gap in the market for cultural themed homeware. I have always loved home decor and I wanted to start a business in an industry that I loved, basically turning my hobby into my job. I used to purchase home magazines and look forward to poring through them with a cup of tea. In all these magazines I did not recall seeing any products that had images of cultural foods.”
Grace explained that she now sells kitchenware – tea towels, aprons, oven gloves, napkins, place mats and coasters – with an African and Caribbean theme. They feature products which are common in African and Caribbean cooking such as the plantain, scotch bonnet pepper and okra. There is also a three legged pot design, which is used a lot in Southern African cooking and she has a gorgeous Ghanian kente design which incorporates cooking utensils.
Grace started the business just over a year ago which obviously coincided with the Coronavirus pandemic. Grace explained some of the challenges that she has faced: “A significant part of my growth strategy at the end of 2019 and going into 2020 was to sell at pop-ups shops and markets. However, as a result of the pandemic, I have lost revenue opportunities following cancellations of many pop-ups and markets that I signed up for.”
Despite these setbacks, it is clear that Grace’s products are still highly sought after. Her online sales continue to rise with Village and Home now on Amazon as well as featuring on other websites such as Etsy, and soon to be in person at the pop up store in John Lewis, Kingston in December.
Check out Village and Home online, or even in person, and get your hands on some of her bright, bold and vibrant designs which will make ideal Christmas presents. Let’s face it, we all need a little more cheer to finish 2020 and Grace’s designs are the perfect antidote.
The Great British Exchange Pop Up, John Lewis Kingston : Monday 14th December to Sunday 20th December 2020
Amazon: Village and Home