Women’s History Month has passed. However, IB Majekodunmi seizes the chance to advance women daily. This young mogul founded Refine Collective, a digital community that makes it easy to identify and support minority-owned businesses and freelancers.
With its mission to funnel purchasing power into the hands of the underrepresented, IB’s Refine Collective initiative is spearheading a lane to mission accomplishment. Making Forbes as one of today’s highlighted innovative leaders is just a token of her successful accomplishments.
A Mogul in the Making
Coming from a non-traditional background in a “niche tech space,” eProcurement, IB encountered purchasing power and buying power topics. She was also then introduced to the knowledge of dealing with vendors. While women in tech were considered “sexy” at the time, she quickly realized it was a heavily white-male-dominated space.
Outside of work, she was heavily involved in community organizations. Heading a young professionals board for a non-profit organization and even helping to start an organization called Healthy in Chicago which is growing increasingly successful, was just a taste of her community involvement.
Supporting diverse communities has always been home to IB. What started as a hobby would grow into something much greater. Her work experience and growing network of women and minority-owned businesses prompted a thought. The Chicago community and its small businesses that she loved and supported should be more pronounced.
“Across the street from me, where I lived in the city, it was a new coffee shop. It was black-owned, it was veteran-owned; the coffee was way better than anything you’d get at Starbucks and the guy who started it literally lived in our community. I would see him walking around all the time. Caddy cornered from that was a Starbucks and I would get so annoyed when I would see people walk by the coffee shop with Starbucks cups, and it made me really curious about why we make the buying decisions we do.”
The Birth of Refine Collective
A quick survey sent to her community-curated network revealed a problem. The majority of the survey takers said minority-owned small businesses were hard to find and identify. Putting her project management skills to good use, she built a directory of these hidden-in-plain-sight companies, so Refine Collective was born. Like many, the pandemic allowed the time to really hone in on entrepreneurship opportunities and shifted her business mindset as a whole. IB had already set out to create a solution to an evolving community issue.
Refine Collective Presents: Planet Her-“Makin Herstory at the Conservatory”
IB Majekodunmi continues to trailblaze the lane of inclusivity with Refine City. This directory of women and minority-owned businesses channels the purchasing power of small businesses and presents pop-up market experiences in the Chicago community.
Refine City’s 2nd Annual, Planet Her honored and celebrated over 50 Chicago-based women’s creative curators. In partnership with DIAGEO and its brands such as Bulleit, DeLeon Tequila, and Ketel One, this event set the tone for what’s to come in partnership with supporting Chicago’s local culture.
This event was packed with live art performances by diverse women creators such as Alyssa Low, Barderies Hampton, and a live musical performance by Nyla XO.
Passion Meets Purpose
Since beginning pop-up markets in 2021, there has been a balance of fresh talent and building a great community with OG’s that they’ve worked with at every market. The passion for her purpose is also something that helps her to identify the brands showcased in her markets.
IB shared her thought process when searching social media for brands in the e-commerce community. The small-big city of Chicago is known for its creative talents. How do you foster diversity in your own world, work, and your everyday life?
“You can create quality things but what does this stuff mean at the end of the day, what does it mean to you? So I try to be really thoughtful about who we partner with.”
The Future of Planet Her
She also has plans to bring in young girls who foster the entrepreneurial spirit. Partnering with non-profit organizations that are youth-focused is how she plans to propel young women in Chicago.
She also plans to nurture the great partnerships accumulated in her amazing journey to solidifying entrepreneur greatness.
I really hope Planet Her will continue to grow every year along with DIAGEO and its brands, our other partners to be able to scale and invite more women-owned businesses and align different brands who want to align their mission to support different women in their causes and their businesses.
Written by Antoinette Ford