Interviewing Ihunna Eberendu – my editor in chief, had me at a blank page wondering which direction to take first. While some boast of a successful career in one avenue, Ihunna has forged credentials in two. Alongside the challenge of launching her own publication.
Whilst studying business and marketing at university, Ihunna joined the street teams for Atlantic Records, followed by Sony Music. Upon graduating, she became the editor of an online music and entertainment magazine. This meant interviews with artists such as Justin Timberlake, 50 Cent, Chaka Khan and Neyo – to name a few.
It was on the off-chance one day at a fashion shoot, that Ihunna stepped in as stylist. She has always loved fashion and her eye for detail paved the way for this additional business move. For the last 8 years, Ihunna has built a portfolio with clients including Revlon, Diet Coke, Sony Music and Random House Publishing.
To kick-start our series of women in power, we discussed career decisions, inspiration and change needing to be made for females at work.
i the stylist: How would you define a powerful woman?
Ihunna Eberendu: “Personally I think a powerful woman is someone who has confidence in their abilities and trusts their own judgement. You don’t have to be running a massive company to be powerful. It can be a state of mind and once that it achieved, then you can really get what you want (of course, to an extent)”.
What’s the best and worst career decision you’ve ever made?
“Best career choice was definitely making the decision to start the website as a potential business. It started as a hobby and just an opportunity to promote my styling work but I decided about last summer that I was gong to really take it seriously.
I’m really excited about 2018 because the site is evolving and I’ve got an amazing team who offer invaluable support and it’s going to be a big year for us. Without sounding cliche I honestly think things happen for a reason. So any decisions I’ve made regarding my career were right for me at the time. I try not to have regrets and I always try to look for the silver lining…no matter how hidden!”
If you had to give one up today, would you choose styling or editing?
“That’s a tough one. There are aspects of both that I would happily give up! With the styling, I don’t enjoy the manual side of it – dragging a suitcase around and picking up/returning clothing. The part I enjoy the most is putting looks together and the finished product.
With the editing I enjoy the ideas creation and again, the finished product. With a gun to my head I would give up styling simply because the role of editor allows me to do some much – I can still creatively direct as well as write”.
Who inspires you?
“Oprah and Earl Nightingale”.
Name one change that you would like to see with women in business:
“More support. I honestly can’t see a time when women will have equally pegging as men in the boardroom. Not in my lifetime anyway. That leaves self-employment, which would be fine if women received the same treatment as men when it came to funding.
Businesses led by women receive far lower levels of funding than men. I remember reading that men were 86 percent more likely to be venture-capital funded, and 56 percent more likely to secure angel investment. I know you need to take it with a pinch of salt but it still shows that there is bias – I refuse to believe that men continually have better business ideas than women. It’s more a case that funders think that we’re going to run off, get pregnant and have a breakdown…”