The Kudos Project: a new column celebrating black-owned businesses
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
The effect of smelling IIUVO’s Bullshit candle is total: I am in the deep, dark depths of Dalston. The white tunnel I stand in is blindingly bright. On my feet are brown patent Marni wedges that make me feel like I am walking on a sticky moon. All the drinks I sip are laced with a new London vodka and have just the right amount of ice. Today, four years later, I am watching my son grind carrot crisps into the sofa; I breathe in deeply and remind myself that I have lived!
Tomi Ahmed, Camberwell born co-founder of IIUVO, needs no such reminder. After launching the perfume and candle range in 2015 (candles from £55, perfumes from £145), the brand was hailed as elegant and stylish, with the likes of London’s Liberty and Harrods, Berlin’s Andreas Murkudis and Milan’s 10 Corso Como scooping it up.
This July, the first Bullshit fragrance is released, accompanied by A Soliloquy of Two Words – a written piece exploring Ahmed’s Nigerian roots, lived experience and art. He wants to continue expressing his vision through smell, music and any other creative form that takes his fancy. I deliver my own muttered soliloquy as Bullshit’s wonderful scent of citrus and pepper takes me away to a dimly lit dance floor: “we are only what we always were, but naked now”.