Columbia resident Kemi Ajibare wants to help women express their personality through style.
Founder of Styled By Kemi, a personal style and image consulting service, Ajibare is passionate about helping women build their self-confidence regardless of their shape, size or skin color.
Ajibare, 29, who is a security analyst by day, describes her personal style as “classy” and “chic,” adding subtle touches of color and prints to her workplace outfits.
“My personal style really just stems from my personality,” she said. “I’m very laid-back and I enjoy doing things that make me happy, so I like that to reflect in my personal style.”
Soon after having her now 4-year-old son Israel, she said she no longer liked her body and wanted to find confidence in her personal style again.
Now she uses her business to help women who feel the same way she did.
“It was kind of a personal journey for me, finding my style and just being confident in who I was after having a child,” Ajibare said. “Because I went through that journey and I’ve always been passionate about fashion, I figured that I would also help women in that similar journey and route, and that’s really where [my business] stemmed from.”
In an effort to reach a broader clientele, Ajibare aims her business toward women from diverse backgrounds.
Partnering with Mys Tyler, a body-positive styling app that matches women with peers with similar features, she is able to connect with women from a range of shapes, sizes and skin colors.
Ajibare said it is necessary for her to serve a variety of women through her business.
“It’s really important that women see themselves in today’s industry, especially fashion-wise, because I think women are powerful and a lot of our confidence comes from how we look and how we present ourselves,” she said. “It’s important that a woman feels included, that she feels accepted and that she feels beautiful because that’s who we are and that’s what my goal is as a stylist.”
In addition to her consultations, Ajibare shares inspiration and styling tips on Instagram to her more than 11,000 followers.
Photographed in outfits she styled in various locations around the region including Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., she features items from stores like Anthropologie, Free People and Zara.
Rebbecca Bakre, 34, who lives in Costa Rica, is one of Ajibare’s followers on Instagram.
Frustrated by her experiences shopping online, Bakre said she scheduled a consultation with Ajibare to better understand her own personal style.
“[Ajibare] eased my mind and all the anxiety that I had around [shopping] by teaching me different techniques on understanding my size and understanding how to compare what I see online to my actual body shape,” Bakre said. “After consulting with her, I noticed that when I first went to the mall, I knew what I was looking for, so I wasn’t as overwhelmed by all the other elements that overwhelm me when it comes to [shopping].”
Ajibare said she wants her clients to feel confident in their personal style after using her services.
“One of my main things that I hope my clients take away is truly self-love and confidence in who they are,” she said. “I want them to be more confident in going out there and putting outfits together and just feeling confident in what they wear.”