Founder Q&A

Lighting The Way From RHOP to Home Essentials

By
Lighting The Way From RHOP to Home Essentials

You may have seen the television personality on Real Housewives of Potomac, but for those who aren't familiar, Dr. Wendy Osefo is multifaceted entrepreneur. From political commentator to television personality to interior design, and most recently home essentials, Wendy has a goal of becoming the Black Martha Stewart. Onyi Home Essentials is a collection of timeless, luxurious home decor essentials that is both versatile and affordable.

Wendy came to the United States from Nigeria at a young age and was honored to become the First Nigerian-American Housewife in Bravo TV history. Throughout her first season of the Real Housewives of Potomac, Wendy highlighted her Nigerian heritage, what it means to be a Nigerian-American, and how her Nigerian roots and background play a pivotal role in who she is, how she raises her children, and the woman that she is today.

Onyi Home Essentials fragrances are handcrafted and infused with one of a kind fragrance oils, blended together to create the perfect aroma. We interviewed Dr. Wendy Osefo to learn how she is changing the interior design landscape, one fragrance at a time.

What inspired you to create OHE, a brand focused on scents, and what is OHE’s mission as a brand? 

Growing up my mom always had wonderful aromas filling the house. Whether it was the scent from an air freshener or food cooking on the stove, the house always smelled amazing, so scenting was always a passion of mine. When I moved into my first apartment in college, the first thing I did was purchase candles and Glade plugins to fill the air. Scenting is one of the core tenants of our emotions, and I wanted to tap into that with OHE.

The mission of Onyi Home Essentials is to be the go-to collection of timeless, sophisticated and luxurious home decor essentials for the everyday person designing on a budget or searching for the most opulent aesthetic.

 

We are all about the community at Goody. We learned that your PhD is in public affairs and community development and you currently teach at Johns Hopkins School of Education. A. AWESOME!!!! B. How has your education inspired you to build and lead at OHE? 

Because my education is centered around public policy, I’ve listened to feedback from customers and those around me. I put on my professor hat and really wanted to look at the data, the likes/dislikes, the high sellers, etc. and grow this brand and build the foundation based quality.

 

You have been quoted as saying, “You have to know where you come from to understand where you are going”. Can you share what that quote means to you and how this principle relates to how you build and maintain the OHE community? Does your Nigerian heritage and upbringing play a part in your business? And if so, how?

My love for interior design and décor developed from a young age waging from my mom. I think part of me founding this company is rooted in knowing where you come from and leading with that. My Nigerian heritage runs through the brand. I named the lifestyle brand Onyi (pronounced "On-ye-EE") after a shortened version of my middle name Onyinye which means gift in my native dialect of Igbo. In addition, each candle has on the label “Kandụlụ na esi isi oma" which loosely translates to “scented candle” in my native Igbo dialect.

My Nigerian heritage plays a major part in my business, and different life lessons I wish to pass on to each customer.

We’d love to educate our community on OHE’s offerings. Can you share your favorite products and some details and special callouts about them? Anything new on the horizon that our community should be on the lookout for? Of course we MUST call out, you are a TV personality from the Real Housewives of Potomac. We’d love to hear how that has helped you grow your community at OHE? 

In the month of February, we are releasing a special Black History Month candle called “Royalty” to highlight the richness of black history and culture in American society. Also, we are releasing a special Valentine’s candle called “Love Language” which is an ode to all of the lovers and friends out there. Both candles go on sale February 1st on our website and Instagram page @onyihomeessentials.

Being on Real Housewives of Potomac is amazing. I get to share my passions and my world with millions of people each week. Also, as a brand I am able to grow my community at OHE because they can see the behind the scenes, and the journey of building a brand. Most people are not privy to the behind the scenes, but being a TV personality and having your life followed, I am able to provide that background context.

Also, some of the candle names are inspired by moments during the season. For example, “ZEN-WEN” was my moniker for Season 6. Also, “IDRIS” was affectionately named after a moment during the season. 

What’s the best advice you've received to date, from who & why?

The best advice I’ve received to date is be true to who you are and be true to your brand and the rest will fall into place.