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Bonike Odegbami: Iconic Jeweller

Interview News

Bonike Odegbami: Iconic Jeweller


Odegbami works with her partner, Sade Adegboyo, who sketches the designs.

In this interview, BONIKE ODEGBAMI, niece to famous Nigerian former footballer, Segun Odegbami, tells FUNKE OSAE-BROWN how she is creating a world class handcrafted jewellery.


Bonike Odegbami may not be a popular name in Nigeria but she is a woman whose name rings a bell in faraway United States of America. She is currently serving as the Vice Chancellor at Wayne County Community College District – Detroit Michigan with a special focus on International Programs and Global Partnerships. She has been in this role for six years but with the institution for 12 years starting as a campus dean. She has also served as an Assistant to the President, Vice President of the Campus, campus president, provost. She is a niece to the former Super Eagles footballer, Segun Odegbami.


An interesting aspect of her life is her sojourn into the world of handcrafted jewellery. Her brand, UNICAS, LLC was conceived in 2013 out of the emotional pain she was experiencing when her daughter was diagnosed of brain cancer. It was a way of escape from the pain she was going through. She occupied her time and mind by expressing herself through art. UNICAS is a Portuguese word that means unique. With this name, Odegbami pays homage to her late maternal grandmother who hailed from Brazil. Most of her pieces have Portuguese names.


Odegbami works with her partner, Sade Adegboyo who sketches the designs. “Some of our designs are inspired by ideas I find on the web,” she says, “and some are inspired by what I am feeling. On some occasions, my clients will work with me to conceive a design. The pieces are made with a combination of beads, crystals, and fabric trim. I won’t necessarily refer to them as costume jewellery. The fabric trim is not necessarily expensive but the gems can be depending on what the client wants. At this time, UNICAS does not have any jeweller that creates our pieces. We have an intern in training at the moment.”


UNICAS, LLC are bespoke pieces specially created for women who love to stand out in the crowd. “Our pieces are usually custom made to the client’s specification unless we are creating pieces for a show. Each piece is handmade with attention to detail and very difficult to duplicate. It is also very light,” explains Odegbami.


Tai inspired by her first year experiencing life after cancer.

Tai is inspired by her first year experiencing life after cancer.

Although created in America, UNICAS’ pieces have been well received outside the shores of the United States. However, Odegbami says her pieces are yet to really gained ground in the Nigerian community in the U.S “as Nigerians still seem to gravitate towards the traditional beads. I do however have a few great Nigerian clients. We do not have a client base in Nigeria yet. To date, only two people in Nigeria have ordered from UNICAS. We push the brand in the U.S. via fashion shows and editorials. We are working with a few celebrities in Nigeria to assist in pushing the brand in Nigeria.”


Odegbami tells TLR that her business model is to create custom pieces so she generally try not to have an inventory, however, she makes pieces specifically for shows like the Baltimore Fashion Week and Haute Accessories Week. She has have about 18 pieces in her inventory at the moment.


One of iconic her pieces is Dream. It is a piece she created out of her personal desire to have a traditional wedding and after 25 years in a relationship, her dream did not materialise. “Since that dream was not be realised so I created my “dream” necklace for my imaginary wedding day. We did a photoshoot of this piece in a wedding gown – absolutely beautiful,” she says


Dream a piece she created out of her personal experience of having a traditional wedding and after 25 years in a relationship.

Dream a piece she created out of her personal desire to have a traditional wedding after 25 years in a relationship.

Kaleidoscope was inspired by the numerous experiences she had with her daughter’s ailment

Odegbami says her business model is to create custom pieces.

Odegbami says her business model is to create custom pieces.

and her cousin who was also dealing with cancer. “At the time this was created,” she recalls, “my life was shifting in different directions. My daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer, my sister was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, my cousin was dealing with cancer, my niece was born premature, I lost two uncles within a week. The patterns of my life kept shifting so the experience inspired this piece.”


Her piece, Tai – Tai, is the short form of the Yoruba word, Taiwo meaning he who was first to taste the world. She created the piece after her first year experiencing life after cancer. “This year, there were no drugs, no treatments and not illnesses. It represents a web of life. Following the web-lines, I chose to focus on the positive and anything negative shall be trapped in the web.”



You can purchase or create your own pieces online at www.unicasllc.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Unicasfashions

Instagram @unicas_llc

Twitter: @unicas_llc

Email: sales@unicasllc.com

Phone: 248-692-4754





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