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Luxury Defined

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Luxury Defined


Regalo1Lekki Phase One still maintains the quietness and serenity that it is synonymous with as an upscale neighbourhood. The well trimmed lawn and tarred road at a portion of the long stretch of Admiralty Way speaks of the class of people who live there. It is a neighbourhood which has defined the class of people who inhabits the large estate and also the kind of businesses which operate there.

It is here that Regalo, as a luxury brand, has pitched its tent. Situated at the posh Centro Mall, Regalo is positioned to redefine lifestyle and good living. It is what can be called a boutique shop for the very best of African luxury.  It is small in size yet it offers interesting pieces that define luxury. “The brand promise of Regalo is recognition of African artistry,” its founder, Funmi Onajide, tells me while taking me on a tour of the store.

Regalo stocks some of the rare statement pieces in terms of African luxury. It is a place where you can get the most premium in terms of quality furniture, leather bags, tea, skin care products and other home accessories.

In terms of furniture, Regalo stocks rare handmade pieces locally manufactured by artisans in Oyo and Osogbo. “Starting with the furniture, all our furniture is made in Nigeria,” explains Onajide. “The chairs are made of Sanyan material, a premium brand of Aso-oke. It is very hard to come by Sanyan now. You have to source it from Oyo or Osogbo.”

Seeing             this furniture, one would easily think they are imported from Bali or the Far East, but they are not. They are crafted by a team of Yoruba craftsmen in Osogbo and Ife, those areas where the skill still exists. “Look at this, this box is made of Omo wood,” Onajide tells me while pointing at a well crafted wooden box with metal out-lay. The earthen ware is handmade from Ghana. These are cow horns. They are in laid with sterling silver and broken ostrich egg shells.”

In addition, Regalo offers nice home accessories like champagne cooler made of crystal that can fit a bottle of champagne with the ice; including fruit bowls, ice bucket, and wine cooler, made of materials of high quality. “They all come in nice hard boxes,” she explains further. “They can serve as very high end corporate gifts.”

Scented candles made of Soy oil which serves as skin moisturisers are interesting pieces to buy at Regalo. Locally manufactured by La Divine, they burn aromatically. There are also scented candles manufactured in Egypt. Also available at Regalo is the famous Yswara range which includes Soy oil massage candles inspired by different cities in Africa like Lagos, Kinshasa, and Abidjan. The locally made Aweni Organics skin care range which includes fragranced liquefied black soap, Shea butter soap in almond, coconut and Shea butter oil are some of the premium brands Regalo has.

As a consumer of luxury products herself, Onajide says, the high level of artistry in Africa’s rare pieces made her go into the business ofRegalo2 African luxury. “We often equate things sold in Africa to things we buy in the normal tourist setting, which is fine. But in my travel across Africa for luxury goods, in the high end mall particularly in Southern Africa, North Africa, I saw that there is a very high level of artistry going on that are virtually unknown to us in West Africa. We are accustomed to buying designer products. But there is the same quality available in a very small market in Africa where more than 90 percent of what they produce is being exported. For a lot of the pieces we stock, they are not known in West Africa.”

As a result, Regalo has expanded its offerings by sourcing for goods from Southern and Eastern Africa. “For me, my baseline requirement is that the goods are made with African hands and they are of the highest quality,” Onajide adds. “I don’t want people to see and think: ‘oh, I am only buying it because it is made by an African.’ You know that sentiment of let me help them. I want people to look at and buy it because it is of premium quality.”

For those who are connoisseurs of tea, there are tea leaves inspired by personalities in Africa such as Oni of Ife, Amina, Shaka Zulu. There is another named Omoluabi. “We have accessories for tea, for the loose tea leaves. It has a strainer so it doesn’t get in the water. We also have the same in ceramic inlaid with white gold. They are very high end. We also have wrapping papers which is designed by me, inspired by Adire.”

At Regalo, you can be sure to get authentic skin leather bags. These are bags without labels but are exclusively made for customers who desire uncommon taste. “We have a man’s bag in Buffalo. They come with life time guarantee. We have women bags in Nile croc. They are one-offs unlike Louis Vuitton piece. You won’t see another person using it. Our bags come in different skins. For example, Buffalo is an exotic skin. Everything I import is certified. It means they are made of skin that has been authorised. This is also part of the Aviva range, the mirror. This is the Buyu range from Kenya, this part here is the Baobab tree, a combination of the tree of life and leather.”

Onajide explains that Regalo started out of her love for beautiful things. “I am one of those people who go look for things that are unusual,” she says. “Things that are really of high standard, I mean wears and household things. Most people think my home is a Regalo because most of things that I am selling here I actually own. And so when I talk of starting a business, it seems very natural to do something along these lines. It is just an extension of myself. People who know me well come in here and they say it is like my home. But I think that the centre of gravity is in Africa. Africa is the next big thing. Africa is exporting talents; it is no longer exporting raw materials.”

And so, a visit to Regalo, means you are sure to be exposed to some of the finest pieces.

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