INTERVIEW: jewelry is what completes us—passion is everything, says Jewelry by Limah Founder

Founder Jewelry by Limah, Halimah Funmilayo Umar 

Do you know that you can have and wear beautiful pieces of unique jewelries of good quality without spending a whole lot from what you have saved up in the bank? A jewelry line called Jewelry by Limah says absolutely yes.

Deeply saddened with having to break the bank in order to actually deck to the nines with jewelries, a  beauteous entrepreneur Halimah Funmilayo Umar whose passion for jewelries is unending in description, established a jewelry line where affordable and durable pieces of jewelries are aplenty for varietal choices and purposes—it’s all your jewelry needs in one place.

As it is the tradition to bring you an interesting read at no expense, in this interview, Godfreytimes Lifestyle brings you an adventure of who, how and what brought about this chiefly trusted Jewelry Brand operating in Lagos. Plus what  jewelry is to a woman, how Umar came about her passion,  her thoughts on availability for international recognition and how vital feedback is to her.

Let’s meet you please

Umar:My name is Halimah Funmilayo Umar, I was born in Lagos and also an indigene of Lagos State. I am a Christian and I schooled in the University of Lagos where I studied History and International relations. I finished in November 2016 and after that, as it is the tradition, went for my Service in Abuja; where I served at the Inland Revenue, which is the FIRS. Upon completion, I came back and started my business which I actually established before I went for my NYSC in 2017—although  way before then, when I was in school, I  have always loved Accessories so on this strength, I had a business back then in 2016 but was just doing it just to have something on the side so I was just selling neck fittings and earrings for ladies only but didn’t take it seriously as much as I do now because I had to focus on school…it was just something I did at my spare time—that was where it all started somehow and it was Chic n Unique…that was the name but on the strength of pursuit for passion, which powers consistency, I reinvigorated my business with the needed focus after acquiring my first degree and serving my nation by turning my pet project on the side that is not registered to a legit and very serious one.

Besides being a kind of person who cannot do without wearing a bit of jewelry because I would feel empty, I started my jewelry line in order to  meet a need because most people would like to have something of good quality but would not want something that will be too expensive so I ventured into selling durable jewelries at affordable prices…something that has my name Halimah on it and that is how Jewelry by Limah came about…so I registered my business and started selling necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings and others…I was doing that and posting it on all social media to get more sales and with the plan of getting my website as the business progressed on in order to expand so I have been consistent since I started in 2017.
Business for me is passion and not the issue of let me just do this business and make money, no.  There are times when it won’t boom but the only thing that will keep you going is when your customer would call you and say I got my package and I love it…keep doing what you are doing—Business is all about passion not profits…of course profits is why we do business but I just love to see my clients happy and the principal aim for my brand is customer satisfaction, we are obsessed with our customers so we ensure that their satisfaction is achieved always. In addition to our watchword, at Jewelry by Limah we don’t just sell jewelries, we teach our clients how to take care of their jewelries as well. Because we would not want a client to purchase a piece of jewelry and after weeks he/she would be like haa my jewelry is looking dull…what can I do? Am not happy…so we ensure each order comes with a free care-card and a polishing cloth—all you need do is listed, so for us at Jewelry by Limah it goes beyond selling jewelries—its passion. I always make sure they are happy because if they are not happy, I am not happy—it is not good for business because both of us have to be happy.

When we just started we were selling female jewelries but right now we sell for Kids, women, Men, customized jewelries and engagement rings as well and now that we have expanded I decided to have a website because the dream is to actually be one of the fastest jewelry retail brands in Africa. So right now we sell jewelries, we also may sell customized jewelry too but along the line we actually have our own design but right now we don’t retail just prerequisite from everywhere else…we have our manufacturers all over, we have them in Dubai, China and then in Texas so we just tell them the quality of what we want and they have it done—the website is up, it is like we are just starting again even though we started in 2017…right now the dream is to have a store, your one-stop shop to all things jewelry—all your jewelry needs in one place. If you a man and you want to get jewelry for your wife, your want to get a bracelet for yourself or you want to get a piece of jewelry for your mum, you want to buy for your daughter that is clocking two next month or for your brother who wants to propose to his girlfriend or you want to get a customized jewelry for yourself, everything is online, it’s on our platform…it’s all your jewelry needs in one place. You don’t have to worry about how you get jewelry for your wife or yourself, you don’t have to think about that—everything is in one place. Also we do worldwide delivery, we ship worldwide via DHL and it takes physically three to five working days for your package to get to your door step and you don’t have to worry about anything all charges has been covered by us, you just pick your delivery and you don’t have to pay an extra fee because we have handle everything and it’s safe.

Godfreytimes: Before I go to jewelry for kids, what is jewelry to a woman?

Umar:Well for most women jewelry is what completes us; it is what completes our outfit. I mean you can’t just dress up, wear your shoes, get your bag and then you are done…a woman is, I personally feel although some people might not agree with me but I personally feel a jewelry is what completes a woman’s outfit, it’s what makes us look elegant, it’s what defines you. I as a person now I can’t wear something on my left wrist and don’t wear on the right wrist, it has to complement each other. For women we just can’t, most ladies can’t do without it…it doesn’t have to be too much, even if it is just a piece of something and it can be a wrist watch, just to have something on your body and you are okay…for me it’s just like wearing a dress and you don’t have a shoe on (she laughs) it’s like what are you doing? Your feet should not be bare, so just like how your feet should not be bare, your wrist shouldn’t be bare as well…it’s what completes our outfit, and it’s just like how some people can’t do without make-up, that’s just how most women can’t do without jewelry.

Godfreytimes: How did you know that you have a passion for this, how did you come about it? We all have passion for something but how did you get to know yours?

Umar:You know some people will say it’s the grace of God, yes but asides that I believe in doing things differently and I feel doing things differently will lead to  something extraordinary you don’t have to go with the crowd and like I said, I have always been a jewelry person ever since I was a kid my mum would make me wear a lot of  accessories on my body, pack beads on my neck most especially during  cultural day,  at school. My mum would make sure it’s evident in my appearance and when going to church I just could not dress up without a bit of jewelry on me…I think it has just been in me.

Godfreytimes:Jewelry for kids what are they like?

Umar: Although we haven’t categorized them but we actually have let’s say for customized jewelry now, you want to get  a customized jewelry for a baby we have that under our customized section. Most times our clients do call or send a message via Whatsapp; ooh my baby is turning two (2) I want a customized jewelry for her, we have… or some will say I want to get a small stud earring for my daughter, we have. Although it’s not there on the website yet we are still working on it so there’s still a lot of work to do but we just had to start from somewhere…we can’t get everything done at once.

If an offer for an international recognition comes up, like maybe you get to do something that will have you exhibit your products, would you go for it?

Umar:Yes of course. We all need that exposure and you need to take your brand out there because there is life outside selling online and on social media. It would be a great opportunity, although   I have actually attended an exhibition just once and that was March 2017 at the University of Lagos.
I would like to also say that for me it goes beyond just selling, that is why I said passion is everything, I don’t know how best to put it or explain this passion of a thing, it covers everything. When my clients say they are not happy I won’t be happy…I have to make sure they are happy. Even after they get there order I always follow up with messages them I don’t just assume they are satisfied with their purchase, I send messages to them : are you okay with your purchase? Is there any other thing you would like me to do for you? If you are not satisfied with your purchase please let me know? I always ask for feedback and review even two weeks after I would message them saying I hope you are still enjoying the piece of jewelry you bought from us some weeks ago?

Godfreytimes:Why do you bother about their feedback?

Umar:Passion covers a whole lot of things, it goes way beyond me just selling jewelries, I want to make money, and there is profit in the jewelry business. When I just started selling jewelries way back in school, it was just few of us but right now I must tell you, the jewelry business is saturated, especially online…you can’t be the only one doing that thing, it’s not possible. So the only thing that can make your customers come back is if you do the right thing and number one is, the quality of your product, two is customer service; how you relate with them, is key and number three is your packaging, the way you package your items, branding is everything…the way you package your item says a lot. In fact most brands these days are not selling their goods; they are only selling their names—so branding, identity, everything matters in business, it’s not just selling, and Nigerians most especially like packaging. They like it when they receive an item from you and it’s in a well packaged state, they like that warm feeling, and they like a thank you note: thank you for patronizing us. We hope you love your item.
When I just started, in my packages I had a thank you card and it was hand written because we realize that most people actually appreciate hand written notes, you know it makes them feel warm and appreciated. Most of my clients actually loved it but I wasn’t feeling it because my hand writing is very bad (chuckles) when I am writing a thank you card I have to make it nice and sometimes my hand writing can go where it shouldn’t and it won’t look neat so I had to stop it and just do the typed ones, just type it out and use my pen to write out your name that is, a client’s name. So for me, packaging is everything.
Apart from selling something good to your client, you have to treat your client like they are gold. For my brand, although like I said all your jewelry needs in one place, there are actually some pieces I would not have that someone else would have so I also do referrals. Yes it’s a large market and there are lots of people in the business.  All I do is contact this lady she sells this.
The metal I use for my customized piece is stainless steel because it’s durable, affordable and something you can shower with and it’s hypoallergenic…some people do react to some jewelries, some can wear a bracelet and after one hour he/she has rashes on her wrist. You can’t react to stainless steel, for example if you want to undergo a surgery, the knives, scissors, and every other thing used is extremely surgical so if it can actually go into someone’s body then it can stay on the surface without you reacting to it. That is why we call it hypoallergenic; you can’t be allergic to it. Like I said, good quality for less, stainless steel is affordable and durable.