Chairman & CEO Planet 3R and Jokelinks Weaving
Adejoke Lasisi is an African fabric designer and environmentalist. She is the founder of Planet 3R and Jokelinks Weaving School which are the first of their kind in Nigeria. Adejoke holds a Bachelors degree in Economics from Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife.
She also holds a certificate in Entrepreneurial Management from Enterprise Development Center Lagos, Nigeria. Adejoke is also saving the planet using her weaving skills by converting textile and plastic wastes into innovative products.
Early Life and Education
By the age of 9, Adejoke had begun weaving with her parents. She attends higher education at Obafemi Awolowo University lle-lfe and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Economics. She also has a certificate in Entrepreneurial Management from Enterprise Development Center in Lagos Nigeria.
Adejoke Lasisi and Aso-oke
“I was born to the family of weavers, a craft I have been practicing since age 9. However, I was admitted to Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife to study medicine a profession I abandoned in level 3 because I wanted to see the world and it’s colors rather than just tissues and human parts. This drive I believe was also stirred with my interactions with peoples across cultures and countries which my talent in basketball among other things offered me.”
Adejoke’s innovative exploit of the Yoruba aso-oke weaving technique shows how Africans are juxtaposing traditional innovations with contemporary trends in creating a sustainable world for all.
While narrating her story, she expressed that there are enough ”greener pastures” in Nigeria like other parts of Africa which Africans in their entirety can use to uplift the continent from the decadence and deadness it is now seen as and restore the continent back to its glory long before the slave trade or the.
While Jokelinks focus on sustainable aso-oke, the planet 3R’s arm of the company explores the weaving of nylon wastes into a diverse range of products including slippers, bags, gift boxes among other beautiful things.
How the Jokelinks Clothing Started
The Jokelinks Clothing Limited, its offshoot, The Jokelinks Weaving School, as is customary of most successful global textile companies are a bequeathal- the legacy of several generations of Cloth-weavers, fashion enthusiasts, tailors, designers, and business people in the family.
Established in 2015 after almost a lifetime of apprenticeship from her mother, this brainchild of Adejoke Lasisi, an Economics graduate is a deviation from the old methods of weaving in Nigeria Africa.
I started doing Aso Oke at age nine. It was something I learned by going to help my mum and later on I went to the university. I graduated from the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife where I studied Economics. So as at the time I graduated, I realized many people were not into Aso Oke; it had started going into extinction. So I conducted a little survey to understand why people were not going into Aso Oke. The majority of them said it is heavy and not attractive. We came up with innovation and it became lighter and attractive.
Traditionally, African weaves are heavy and are not attractive in modern-day fashion trends. Aside from this, the designs are monotonous and cannot withstand the level of competition in today’s world of varieties in fashion.
Jokelinks after many years of studying trends and experimenting with patterns and designs came up with the innovation of finding a very rare type of thin, light, and durable loom to weave thereby solving the problem of heaviness that was consistent with the traditional method. With this disruptive discovery, we have started a renaissance in the weaving division of the textile sector by our solution where the traditional blends with the conventional.
This discovery, apart from revolutionizing the ways African attires like Etuu, Alaari, Sanyan etc. are made. It also made possible the use of handlooms to make western apparel like suits, jackets, trousers, waistcoats, mufflers, shoes, and bags.
Consequent upon innovation, it became necessary to let other industry practitioners and weaving enthusiasts learn about it and so, the Jokelinks Weaving School was birthed. Contrary to opinions in some quarters that opening the school is tantamount to exposing our trade secrets and differentials, the textile industry is one where knowledge is not hoarded but shared.
Opening the school also upholds our vision of ‘‘establishing and developing thread technology to provide preferable and affordable products that meet local and international needs and standards through efficient production mechanisms’’.
Later on, in 2016 I got to know about the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), but I didn’t have an idea of how to go about connecting with them. So when I heard about a program that they were going to do in Lagos that people should bring their products that if they select someone’s product, the person would go and represent Nigeria and take the products there. So when I got to the program I realized the products one can take along should be one that the person can be proud of and it must be of international standard.
So I learned a lot and when I came back, I told myself I need to work on my products. At that time, I didn’t even have an export license but I started working at getting the products to a good standard, so we started doing bags, adding value to what we do, it was not just about weaving Aso Oke for Aso Ebi anymore.
Jokelinks Success Factors
Jokelinks Clothing Limited was born out of the need to see things done and well in the textile industry. In our little above a year of existence, we have trained over 20 youths during our workshop training and our classes. We have also made all kinds of clothing apparel for hundreds of clients of all social and financial strata of the society with the Jokelinks touch of excellence and professionalism.
Adejoke Lasisi and PLANET 3R
Planet 3R is a social enterprise dedicated to converting textile and plastic wastes into eco-friendly products using the 3R: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle to save our planet earth by weaving them into innovative items. With the vision of creating a sustainable world without textile and plastic wastes, it became necessary for us at Planet 3R to reduce the landfill space by recycling clothes and nylons. As we know landfill sites are a threat to our environment as well as water supplies.
Motivation Behind Planet 3R – Adejoke Lasisi
In my quest to creating more impact, I realized many people in my community usually dump textile and plastic wastes by the roadside while some even go to the extent of burning them thereby depleting the ozone layer which is hazardous to our health and environment. This prompted me to use my weaving skills at Jokelinks to create an innovative solution by starting Planet 3R Initiative.
What actually motivated us to start Planet 3R was the fact that we wanted to make more impact in the community, Jokelinks was already making a social impact by creating employment opportunities through empowering young people and we wanted to make an environmental impact through the wastes we see in our communities. We used the skills we already have at Jokelinks to convert those plastic and textile wastes. That was how Planet 3R was bathed.
So what makes our brand unique is that we are able to convert this waste into beautiful products and we make sure that we link our products into a heritage that we promote our heritage to the world by converting these wastes and at the same time uphold our culture to really make these products and one of the things we did by coming into the environmental sector.
We didn’t come with the idea to compete, rather we complement existing solutions. We identified that we have existing solutions whereby most of them use tires, some people make use of pet bottles, and Ankara wastes from tailors. The majority of them were not working with nylon bags, textile wastes, jeans, t-shirts and we were able to see that there are gaps and Planet 3R is already bridging that gap.
Meeting Point of Environmental and Aso-Oke Making – Adejoke Lasisi
We just use the skill of Aso Oke making to convert this waste at least we are using the skill of Aso Oke because people think in Aso Oke you only need to weave thread, but now we are weaving thread, using nylon. I’m just happy that people are now accepting it. There is this big celebrity that said she really wants to tie this nylon Gele that she is waiting for it.
So many people are really buying into this idea and thankfully we came out with this innovation of using this woven nylon to do reusable shopping bags. We are trying to tell people to stop using these one-time nylon bags, by the time they use these reusable shopping bags, they use them and wash and use them again. These are the things we are trying to use to impart our environment, educating people, and providing solutions from our own end. To some extent, I think we are able to achieve that, it is not about using new things but reusing the old things and recycle.
In July 2020, Adejoke won the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) of the Year Award, an event that was well attended by state governors and ministers. She was recognized and celebrated by President Muhammadu Buhari as a youth innovator at the maiden celebration of the National Youth Day on November 1, 2020.
She also won the Eleven Eleven Twelve Foundation’s Africa Green Grant Award on November 14, 2020 at the second edition for her actions to improve the environment.
(Sources: Nationalwire, Wikipedia, Africapalette)