Officially launched in 2011, Dee Rosa is a celebration of London-based designer Juliet Nwekenta’s Nigerian heritage, lifestyle, and cultural inspirations through visually stimulating, intricate patterns and geometric shapes.
Describe a day in the life of Juliet Nwekenta, Founder & Creative Director of Dee Rosa:
My day usually starts with checking and replying to emails. I then form a to do list of what I want to achieve in the day. Sometimes it could be a day of drawing up new designs, or promotion and marketing, sometimes there are meetings, it really does vary. I also freelance occasionally as a music consultant and I just started DJing too plus I have a part-time job for now while the business finds it feet.
How did you get started with Dee Rosa – and how does your role as Founder & Creative Director reflect your personal aesthetic?
After graduating from University in the UK with an Advertising and Marketing degree, I just wanted to do something different. I always loved art/design and was always drawing on the side plus I was a serious music head too. I decided to go down the music route, so I moved to NYC for a year to intern at a couple of recording studios after which I returned to the London and was A&R scouting and then more recently music consultancy.
I still had the design itch and wanted to start a streetwear/lifestyle brand with a bunch of my designs, all of which were patterns. I then started off producing a few tees, people liked them then I did a few more, then I moved on to sweatshirts.
I’ve always been a casual girl and I’ve always loved streetwear. I enjoy dressing up and bringing the heels out for occasions but on a day to day I’m very comfortable in jeans and trainers. As well as the clothing, I also love the whole culture of streetwear, the music, art & design and other subcultures. So my role as a designer reflects my personal aesthetic because I make things that I would personally wear with the hope that others would want to wear them too.
How have the women in your life been instrumental in developing your hustle?
All the women in my life happen to be hustlers (in a good way). My mum especially, is such as huge inspiration because she’s always worked hard and kept a home. When my siblings and I were younger, she always came to our parent teacher meetings and school plays and even though she worked. My mum has always been very independent and as has always encouraged me to work hard and be independent too.
What do you think it takes to make it in this business, especially for women?
I think first and foremost to make it in business you need vision, followed by passion and then comes strategy, hard work and focus!
Cultural trends constantly change. What do you do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve?
I just like what I like and I gravitate to people, blogs and magazines that share my passions and likes.
How has social media shaped your life & career? What’s your favorite platform? Why?
Social media has been a great tool to reach out to supporters/customers and people that are usually difficult to get in contact with. I however have struggled with social media because being an introvert, I’m not used to really putting myself out there which I realise I have to do to promote the business. I am definitely embracing it and learning to make it feel more natural to me.
How do you keep track of personal & business goals, prioritize projects, and stay creative at the same time – even when you’re exhausted?
Lists, lists lists. I used to hate writing lists, but it’s the best way for me to stay focused and prioritize tasks
What are your must-have tools or apps to run your day-to-day grind?
My laptop and phone are very important for me to operate, I also need a pencil, colour pencils, and a sketch pad and I’m good!
What kind of gadgets would we find on your desk or in your bag?
My old Blackberry (soon to be replaced with a new phone) and my Macbook pro. I recently started Djing too so I have the Traktor S2 turntables or baby decks as I like to call them, some Sennheiser headphones and some speakers. I also have an E-mu Midi Keyboard from about 7 years ago where I used to make beats, I’m only just getting back into producing music.
In a fast-paced industry where last-minute-anything can happen, what’s your fool-proof, go-to outfit that will last from morning meetings to evening events?
It would have to be nice top and jacket with some skinny jeans and comfortable footwear. I would then add some accessories for the evening.
How important are mentors? Who is your mentor?
Mentors are extremely important to help keep you on track. Although I don’t currently have a personal/direct mentor, thanks to the internet I feel that I have many mentors because I’m able to research the people that I look up to in business and life and learn so much from them. I would also class some older family members/friends as mentors.
Define your idea of success.
My idea of ultimate success is being where you want to be, doing what you want to do, being with who you want to be with and being able to help other people achieve exactly the same thing. I think success is also being grateful for what you have and enjoying the ride of life.
What’s your advice for other women entering creative fields or starting their own business?
Learn as much as you can, have faith and work hard!