“My real start was when I interned really…I interned everywhere, from Conde Nast to random couture ateliers, to photography studios to PR agencies” – said Abisole Omole . CEO and creative director of: The Apartment – an events, digital and marketing agency, Arva Stories – a contemporary lifestyle brand and Studio Arva – and interior design studio – situated in East London, which she interior styles herself. Abi’s title of CEO is modest and should be repealed and reinstated to creative genius.
From simple beginnings of curating her fashion and lifestyle blog in 2008 as a hobby, Abi had no direct pretence of where this would take her. With a slight chuckle Abi said, “For the longest time, I wanted to be like this magazine editor because you watch the devil wears Prada and you’re like, this will be me?!” Studying PR and Communications at the University of Arts London – interning within all the creative fields, Abi didn’t hold back. Her blog took off; she started working with brands creating content, predominately fashion and lifestyle.
Abi’s curiosity and willingness to indulge in experiences precedes her, she candidly said, “I wanted to do my own photoshoots so I just started pulling random stuff and doing my own shoots” With Abi’s work experience and growing blog combined, she began to work with clients – outsetting her avenue into the creative industries.
With Abi’s businesses so carefully curated I wanted to know how she did it- keeping her finger so precisely on the creative pulse she said, “I love to research, so whether that’s me surfing the internet for hours, I spend a lot of time on all the social media platforms and so naturally I am very aware of a lot things – all the time”. With a slight pause Abi delicately followed with, “For me it’s always a personal thing, a personal taste…decision, with the apartment it was as simple as trying to find a solution for something, being in a position when I was going to fashion weeks and I didn’t know anyone…” Abi learnt from her own personal experiences within the industry and wanted a different and more comfortable solution for others – creating The Apartment.
Although burgeoning, black women in positions of power are a rarity especially in the creative industries, so with multiple successful businesses Abi gave me the good and the bad. Often over looked in meetings either due to her radiant and youthful skin or the mere fact that she is a black women she said, “I’m usually underestimated, if I am in a meeting the idea of me being the main point of call or the person who is behind this project that your about to do with the apartment…you can tell some people are uneasy because they have never seen someone like me be so high up…especially towards the beginning of my career people would almost be waiting for Abi to walk in…thinking it couldn’t be me .” I was shocked but sadly – not surprised by her answer. Abi’s intelligence and humility permeates through our call, so I was delighted to hear the advantages as she said– “It just meant that because they had such low expectations, we always over delivered, we never disappointed.
Abi personifies herself within her brands so I wanted to know what motives her creativity and business acumen. Besides playing ocean sounds in the background to get her creative juices flowing, Abi revealed her original her motto that keeps her in high spirits amongst other things, “When I was in university I had this ridiculous motto and I put it on the back of every apartment journal which is a book we create every season, I don’t know where I got it from but all it said was, everything is going to be amazing” lightly laughing she quickly followed with, “it’s cheesy but positive”. Being a woman held up by faith Abi continued, “the idea of it came from knowledge as a Christian that, you know, I’m not going to be given anything I can’t handle and so everything is going to have to be amazing.” And amazing all of her brands are! I asked, which of her brands are a personal favourite, struggling to decipher she said, “I guess it would be between Arva and Studio Arva, I would probably say Arva only because of my vision for it”. Abi’s love for styling trumps all when it comes to picking her favourite, Arva – a lifestyle brand encompassing, everything you can think of: beauty, travel, culture and more!
As a flourishing innovator I questioned how she felt she has evolved alongside her businesses over the years. With grace she said, “Something I am noticing now ….is compassion, the understanding that not everyone is like you…I’m still not perfect, as no-one is but I am definitely more mindful and take into mind a lot more things… Genuinely developing myself as a leader as it’s not something I was trained to do”.
10 years in the creative industry condensed into the 60 minutes that I and Abi conversed, with the most positive aura and intelligent disposition, Abi’s entrepreneurial works are un-matched. As her businesses continue to grow with more in the works – Abi gave me an exclusive which, I am so excited share. Abi is now the new contributor to Harper’s Bazaar UK as a plus sized fashion columnist! Abi shares some lasting words of encouragement as a female entrepreneur and creative, “be open to learning in all situations, fuse your personal ethos and personal ways with knowledge and become the best version of yourself.”