Name: Dr Sefaakor Ahiaku
So, you're a dentist?
[laughs] yes I am. I know its hard to believe that someone so small could be a dentist!
Was that your dream when you were little, to fix teeth?
No, not at all - I kind of fell into it. I always wanted to be a dancer and a performer. After being advised by family that they would not look favourably on a career as a dancer I decided to follow the family footsteps and become a doctor unless I could think of anything better. About two months before submitting my uni application, I met a dentist - and from what I could tell, it medicine minus all the bits that turned me off the career like on calls and making life and death decisions...
Oh ok, that's interesting. Do you feel you made the right choice?
Yeah, totally! I've been very blessed in that a) I got into the profession in the first place and b) I absolutely love my job.
So how does a dentist with a desire to dance end up staking her flag in the design world?
It's kinda funny actually, I guess I've always had a creative streak in me. Kind of like dentistry, it's a world that I stumbled upon as opposed to one I went looking for. In my teenage years I met lots of people who worked in the design world and I guess I caught the bug and a few tips to get me started. Notelli actually came about because a friend dared me to put together a portfolio to present to a business for cards i was already making.
Why the name Notelli?
Notelli was actually a typo! I was brainstorming names for my company with a friend and typed that when I wasn't paying attention. But it stuck like glue and was so much better than anything else I had come up with that I decided to keep it.
I can tell you're really passionate about what you do, what inspires you to create?
For me, creation and design is like an itch - I can't help myself once I get an idea in my head. I have to get myself to a piece of paper to put my ideas down. My best creations created themselves and I believe that is a blessing from God to me. Things that put me in a creative mood are people and ideas. If I can catch a bit of the magic of something, that's all I need.
What do you think has been your biggest achievement so far?
My biggest achievement has got to be being featured in the Wedding Ideas Magazine along with some Tiffany's inspired pieces called 'Something Blue...'. It was incredible to see my work acknowledged by such a big magazine in print.
So you've told me about your passion to design, I must admit I am a little surprised as after making creating Notelli, setting a standard and captivating people with your designs, you have been awfully quiet over the last 18 months.
Yeah, I must admit the last 18 months have been hectic. I came to a decision I didn't want to put out work that I wasn't proud of and excited by. As a result of that I guess you haven't seen or heard as much from me although I have been working away behind the scenes. I want Notelli to be something that becomes greater than the team I work with today and that takes some careful thought and planning.
Ok, what I am dying to know is what you have planned next?
Well, like you've said, Notelli has been quiet recently - I don't want anyone to get the idea that we've died a death. I want to create a Notelli Classics range as an addition to out Bespoke Service. I've been really encouraged recently when people have come to talk to me about work that I've done and they've referred to them as 'Signature Pieces'. I want that to be an actual thing.
Is that your dream?
It's part of it. My dream is to have a health spa with my design studio in it. I want to run it like a business but use some of the money for social action, maybe set up a shelter for abused women or an orphanage - but not just a 'roof over your head' type but one to teach the children skills to get them out of their poverty and into the work place.
And the dentistry?
Oh, did I miss that bit out? Hahaha, I want my dental surgery in there too. I'm not ready to put my tools down yet, I still have a lot to achieve and so many more lives to change.
- Interview on 26th April 2014. by David Quantson