Meet OMA the Label’s Neumi Anekhe

Amplify
Wednesday, August 26th, 2020

I’ve been SO excited for this month’s Amplify series. We’re featuring a brand we recently started carrying in Happily GreyOMA The Label. Founded by Neumi Anekhe in 2018, the brand started with elevated basics but recently pivoted to staple, gold accessory pieces. Inspired by her multi-cultural background, every design brings a sense of empowerment and confidence. Our team got the chance to connect with Anekhe on the brand, how it’s evolved, and her perspective on the ongoing conversation around race. Meet Neumi Anekhe, founder of OMA The Label.

In this Photo

How are you feeling? As a women and business owner how have you found yourself coping with everything going on? 

This time has been such a learning experience. I’ve had to adapt in so many ways. First, with COVID, and then with the racial justice movement. My voice has gotten clearer. I’ve been less afraid to speak up. Before, it felt like people didn’t want to acknowledge that racism is a current and ongoing problem. It’s brought a sense of relief and responsibility to use my platform to talk about it.

Another positive for me is that I’ve felt pushed to put all of my feelings into my OMA The Label. We need to see more black owned business, and black owned businesses that are THRIVING!

How do you approach the topic of racism with your friends, family & peers?

I don’t have a one-way approach. My friends and family are all diverse. My younger siblings are half white, half black. And I have friends from different backgrounds and ethnicities.  But I’ve pushed myself to be more vocal and open. This is a world-wide issue. If you’re a human being, it’s your issue too.

For the friends that didn’t speak up at the start of the racial justice movement, I had to voice my hurt for them not saying anything. We love each other, but if you love me, you also have to care about this issue.

 

“This is a world-wide issue. If you’re a human being, it’s your issue too.”

 

Happily Grey recently started carrying OMA The Label jewelry in our store. Can you share a little about why you started the brand and what that process looked like for you?

I’ve always been into fashion. I’m actually a stylist, but in my work I never felt represented. I could never identify myself in anything. So I thought “I have to start something. I have to do something about it.”

I wanted to show black beauty. We don’t see that often in its pure form. It’s always in a way that’s pleasing to other people. Black women need to be properly represented – not altered to or morphed into something more “acceptable.”

What inspires you most to create?

My family. My friends. But also my multi-cultural experience being Nigerian and Norwegian. It’s inspiring to bring those two cultures together. The style of OMA is clean but vibrant. Two opposites, but they work.

“I wanted to show black beauty. We don’t see that often in its pure form. It’s always in a way that’s pleasing to other people. Black women need to be properly represented – not altered to or morphed into something more acceptable.”

In this Photo

How has the brand evolved since its launch in 2018?

I started making bodysuits. I wanted to focus on a product I could do really well. Then it evolved to silk pieces, but because of COVID, our silk production got canceled so I had to adapt. I ended up rushing our production for jewelry and started to create all new pieces – I had only done one jewelry piece before. But everyone responded really well to it.

The voice of the brand  has also become even more needed. People are looking for black brands to support – and there aren’t that many.

If you had to choose one word for 2020, what would it be?

My word for 2020 is intentional. If you put intent into everything, you can gain so much more. Be intentional with the way you shop, the way you interact with people, the way you educate yourself and all in all, the way you live your life. You don’t need to have the answers, just be more purposeful with what you do.

 

“My word for 2020 is intentional. If you put intent into everything, you can gain so much more.”

 

What do you think continued allyship looks like?

Constantly educating yourself on what’s going on. Don’t rely on POC to educate you. Do the work. The only way we can figure this out is if we all use our minds. Constantly acknowledge there is an issue and realize nothing will be the same as before.

What’s something you’ve learned about yourself during this time?

I’ve learned that it’s so important to be in touch with your feelings. Strength and resilience are important, but it’s important to acknowledge your needs, to set boundaries. With females in general in the business world, we don’t like to look weak or unsure. But it’s important to also focus on your well being and mental health. I have learned to be kinder to myself. Working hard and doing the best isn’t always THE best.

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