We had the good fortune of connecting with Ehimwenma Ima-Edomwonyi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ehimwenma, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My thought process behind starting Jollof n Chill stemmed from my experience growing up in the beautiful country of Nigeria. Those experiences encouraged me to appreciate the sound, food and overall culture that my country embodies. My goal was to create a brand that curated experiences focused on showcasing and celebrating African cultures by collaborating with DJs, musicians, artists, and small businesses. From Los Angeles to New York, we’ve been hosting Afro-centered events with live music, live art, and authentic African dishes since 2018. We’ve built our community in person and online through African centered content which includes dancing, music, food, customs, and creatives. Our mission is to inspire individuals of all backgrounds to hear, see, and taste Africa.
Our events bring people of all cultures and backgrounds together. We continue to bring people from all over the world to learn, embrace, and empower African cultures. Our events have been the core of our community’s growth. People have used the opportunity to expand their worldly view, cultural knowledge and connect with each other.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Jollof n Chill, LLC is a brand that curates African inspired events via LA County and around the country. What sets us apart from others is that the brand also produces daily content on both social media platforms (Instagram/Facebook). The goal of Jollof n Chill is to showcase African food using local African food vendors, African music and African art using local artists in the area. In regards to African music our brands collaborates with local DJs and instrumentalist in the area. Our mission statement is to inspire individuals from all backgrounds to hear, see and taste Africa. Just like any brand, there has been challenges. Limited funding has not allowed us to put on a full immersive African experiences/festivals that we know is needed in the market. Our focus has only been on events with brand awareness, but we added the content curation aspect due to the Pandemic. We were able to overcome the challenges by ensuring that our audience is engaged and conducting extensive research to increase our social media presence while reaching out to partners across various states to collaborate.
We would want the world to know that Jollof n Chill is a growing brand. Our next steps is to expand to additional cities and countries around the world. Our goal is to collaborate with major brands/corporations so that we can receive resources to hold major festivals in areas such as Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, parts of the European Union and the United Arab Emirates. These festivals will showcase African creatives in the music, food, and art space. This opportunity will also create jobs and financial opportunities for the locals on ground. We hope to connect our growing audiences with parts of the African culture they might have only seen on social media. Our joy is bringing together all African descendants from outside/within the diaspora and individuals who appreciate African culture.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my best friend was visiting the Los Angles area I would start by taking them to Blue Jam Cafe in Downtown Los Angeles (one of the best breakfast spots in LA) for some of the best French toast they have ever tasted with a nice cup of hot chocolate. I will then take them to the LACMA museum to see the beautiful art and later at night to experience the world famous lights. Throughout the week we would go to Venice beach on day 2 or 3 to see the vibrant characters that are always welcoming to beach goers.
In the middle of their stay we would take a walk on the Hollywood walk of fame so they could see the star of their favorite celebrities.
By the weekend depending on their mood, we would either do King Taco or Bottega Louies for dinner. After, we would hit up an afrobeat party to dance the calories away.
A day before departure, I would take them to Black Market Flea or Black on the Block. These 2 vending markets curate successful spaces for small businesses to grow and thrive.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my wife Osatohanwen Oshodin. She has been a support system from the beginning of the brand and has contributed massive insight of the African scene in Los Angeles. Since starting Jollof n Chill in 2018, she has been a core part of the decision making process. She ensures that the brand is keeping up with trends from various parts of the diaspora and provides a helping hand to the team. She is there to help iron out my thoughts and strategies to better increase brand awareness. She is vital to the team and picks up extra duties to ensure that the event is running smooth before and after. She is my rock and a beacon of light to my insane lifestyle.