Bibi Invitations: Meet the Brains Behind these Classy and Elegant African Wedding Invitations

| August 4, 2012

One look at their vibrant wedding invitation cards and you’ll wish you could do it all over again. No, not the marriage; the wedding.  And for those who are yet to begin planning their BIG days, you’ll want to place an order of your very own Bibi Invitations anyway. Yes, they’re that gorgeous! Bibi Invitations offers “rich luxurious reds, deep amber’s, indigo’s, and burnt oranges of Aso Oke, Kente and Ankara Dutch Wax fabrics rich with patterns and motifs that are steeped in deep symbolism” for the modern, sophisticated bride looking to add some culture, heritage and uniqueness to her wedding day.

Bibi Nyame Dua, the company’s full name, which means “Alive in the presence of God,” was launched in June 2012 by three audacious, talented and resourceful Nigerian women, Ify Ojo, Omena Babalola and Chinelo Agazie. And when Afrikan Goddess Style went knocking, they willingly and gladly indulged us, talking about their challenges, their dreams, their excitement and what it’s like working together to bring that special something to their clients’ day.

So, who are the brains behind Bibi Invitations? Tell me a little bit about yourselves.

Ify: Though currently Canada-based, I was born in Lagos, Nigeria. This greatly influenced my love for colours because life in Lagos is a total sensory experience, with vivid colours and sounds, and the smell of food from open air vendors.

Omena: I was born in Nigeria and lived there until after my university education before I moved to Canada. I have been involved in activities within the African community because I wanted to still maintain the connection with the vibrancy and color of my African heritage.

Chinelo:  I was born in Lagos, Nigeria. I grew up in a typical middle class Nigerian family. Both my parents were hard working, so I don’t know any different. My childhood was a very happy one.

The three of you came together, combined and contributed your different unique talents to what is now a budding business venture. Explain what role you each played in getting Bibi Invitations started and what role you continue to play now.  

Ify: I originally had the idea to design a line of African-themed wedding invitations that would be a true reflection of the African culture and joy that is celebrated in most African ceremonies. As a visual artist and multimedia designer, the execution of designs was the easy part for me.  However to start my entrepreneurial vision, I got my friends, Omena and Chinelo on board because they both had qualifications that would be a much needed asset.

Omena: My background is in Business Administration (finance and accounting) so I do more of the bookkeeping, tax and accounting work.

Chinelo: I’m a graduate of Electrical Electronics Engineering with a post graduate degree in Business Systems analysis and design. I have over a decade of experience working as a software Engineer and later moved to Project management. My experience in project management has contributed in the management of implementing Bibi Invitation from an idea to a full blown business. My experience in Software Engineering has helped in the implementation of our website and the continuous technical support.

Explain the name “Bibi.” What does it mean or stand for, and what’s the inspiration behind the brand?

The full name of the company (Bibi Nyame Dua) can be translated to mean “Alive in the presence of God.” “Bibi” is latin for “alive” and “Nyame Dua” is a Ghanaian Adinkra symbol that means “The presence of God.”

Interesting! The three of you have created a sensational business enterprise and you must be very proud of yourselves. Did you ever imagine what the response to your venture would be? And is the response you have received so far what you imagined or something more or less?

The response to our African-themed invitations has been tremendous, and we are we are indeed grateful for all the out-pouring of goodwill especially from the African community.

That’s great! Of course, every new business venture takes guts, drive, and the willingness to live with disappointment if things don’t go as planned. What are some of the challenges you ladies faced during the brainstorming process which brought about Bibi Invitations? What challenges have you faced since its creation?   

One of the issues we thought we would have when we started was how to build Bibi invitations with the three of us living in different geographical areas. Omena and Ify live in Canada and Chinelo lives in the UK, but with Chinelo’s experience in managing off source resources in some of her past projects, we adopted a plan that worked for us. Again, with the advancement in technology, communication was no issue. Although we had to use some cheaper options in order not to add to our capital cost. 

We were also surprised at how we were able to sort out the bigger issues like finding reliable suppliers and getting the general production process in place.  But, it was the little details that were the most challenging – Bibi Invitations ships worldwide, so one of our biggest challenges was finding an affordable and reliable method that our customers would be happy with. It was a great feeling when we finally had that sorted out.

Your designs are definitely breathtaking. Let me just point that out before we continue. Are all of your invitation cards inspired by African fabric patterns, or are you inspired by other African artifacts as well? Also, do you plan to design other cards that incorporate other forms of African artwork?

Thank you so much. Our African-themed cards is a result of our tireless passion to truly promote and celebrate our culture and I had this idea to create a truly authentic line of African-themed invitations from patterns inspired from the African fabrics we love so much such as the Kente cloth from Ghana and the Aso Oke cloth from Nigeria. And while our cards do not draw inspiration from artifacts, some of them draw inspiration from everyday objects used in Africa. A very good example would be our “Sweet Salamatu” invitation whose peculiar shape is inspired by the leather purse worn by the Hausa people of Northern Nigeria. Cards are best described as the announcer of any joyous occasion. It’s not primarily a wedding invitation – because of their customizable nature and versatility it has also been used for birthday celebrations and anniversaries.

I believe the answer to this question is obvious, but I still have to ask: who do you design your wedding invitations for? Basically, describe your clientele.

As I mentioned earlier, although Bibi Invitations is primarily marketed as a wedding invitation because of its customizability, it has been used for other joyous occasions as well. But our typical clientele has been an African or multi-cultural female, age 22- 35, engaged to be married and with a great appreciation of our culture.

What has the market response to your product been like so far? Do you think your target market is responding to your product as you expected them to? If so, how? If not, why do you think that is? 

The response from our target group has been absolutely phenomenal; we have gained many clients by referrals from customers because of their appreciation for the quality of our African cards but also for our excellent customer service.

Where is Bibi Invitations based? Are you solely online or do you have a physical location for walk-in shoppers? And what’s the ordering process for online orders? Do you offer (or plan to offer) any other bridal products such as Save the Date and Thank You Cards?

Bibi Invitations is currently based in Canada and it’s solely an online company that offers worldwide shipping. Aside from the Reception and Response cards we offer as an add-on to all our invitations, we also offer an “additional insert” which could be used as the bride pleases. It has often been used as a thank-you card.

I always have to throw in one fun question just because, so please bear with me. Three women working together on a common goal; there’re surely questions about what that must be like, so let me ask: have you ever had any moments of intense disagreements? If so, how did you solve them? If not, how on earth is that possible?

Ify: It’s funny you asked, but I’d tell you this: our various temperaments really do complement each other. We’ve had many moments of disagreements but you know what? Three is the perfect number because the arguments are always settled by the vote of the majority which is and will always be two against one.

Omena: There have been very few tense moments because we have been driven to achieve a common goal.  That being said, we determined early on in our business relationship that we would make most of our decisions using the majority vote principle after each partner has presented their point of view.  This has worked very well for us and since there are three of us, there is no need for a tie-break.

Chinelo: The three of us are quite passionate about our products so we did have few occasions where we had disagreements. Again, we are all professionals in our fields so we did adopt an approach in our decision-making – whereby we go with the majority.

Thank you ladies for your time. You are truly an inspiration and I wish you all the best in your future endeavors. Do you have any words of encouragement for AG readers, or anything you want readers to know about that I may have neglected to ask?

Ify: Keep striving and never give up when someone says “NO” always end it with “But would you consider ……..?  That’s not taking NO for an answer in this most agreeable way.

Omena: If you are passionate about an idea you have pursue it with vigor, and it will eventually become a reality.

Chinelo: I always encourage people to believe in themselves and their dreams. With dedication, hard work and persistence it will come to fruition by HIS grace.

And there you have it, the three spirited and smart ladies behind Bibi Invitations. To learn more about their unique African-themed wedding invitation cards and more, visit their website at http://www.bibiinvitations.com. Give your wedding that special quality from the very beginning!

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AFRIKAN GODDESS MAGAZINE is a subsidiary of Afrikan Goddess Media, LLC. Our content is designed with the educated, professional, classy, charming and sassy African woman in mind. We encourage women to express their creativity and ideas through writing, and also serve as a platform for meaningful discussions and exchange of ideas.

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  1. I am planning a wedding in the Caribbean for November. The groom is from Nigeria and the bride from Dominica, Caribbean. I would like an invitation that has a bit of yellow in it. Do you have any available designs for us to look at?

    thanks

  2. AG Magazine AG Magazine says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Thank you for your comment. Please contact Bibi designs with your inquiry. They should be able to help you. Their website is http://www.bibiinvitations.com.

    Thanks.