Designing has been a part of sisters Irene and Emily Wasonga’s life since childhood.
The Anderson University graduates grew up in Nairobi, Kenya, and were influenced by different cultures as their parents ensured the two had an international upbringing. [Photo on left: Emily Wasonga, wearing pieces crafted with her sister, Irene Wasonga, poses alongside Lawrence Adias, the lead actor from the recently released "The Love Section." The sisters created jewelry and clothing for the film's Los Angeles premiere earlier this year. Adisa is wearing Catou Wear Shirt with fabric hand-printed in South Africa where its designer, Berny Martin, often frequents.]
Irene, 30, graduated from Anderson University in 2011 and Emily, 25, in 2009. They started running a jewelry and accessory business — Love’s Hangover Creations — on AU’s campus and opened their first storefront in 2009 in Noblesville.
“We wanted a bigger platform,” Emily said of their artwork. “We would set up on campus and sell pieces and had a lot of success. And then we went to art shows and festivals but wanted to do more.”
With the popularity of the women’s pieces in the store, their artwork has reached higher platforms after they were asked to design pieces for the Los Angeles premiere of the movie “The Love Section.” The film is about a real estate agent unwilling to commit to a relationship.
“It is so exciting seeing something you’ve worked on come to life and be out there,” Emily said. “It is very fulfilling. Being in LA for the movie premiere was awesome. It was so hectic and crazy but a great way to see how the industry works. You learn about it in school but seeing it in person and how it actually works is a thrilling experience.”
Irene said the work for the premiere was “thrilling and scary, very scary.”
“It was a challenge because we were going into it blind, not knowing sizes and preferences,” she said. “Much of our work is custom, made after we have gotten to know the person and what they like and want out of the piece. We really put ourselves out there making things that we hoped would really make an impact. And I think they did. I’m so glad we went.”
The sisters described their pieces as unique and one-of-a-kind made with beads from across the world.
“It is a handmade and thoughtful process,” Irene said. “The pieces are durable, unique and made specifically for them.”
When Emily went to the premiere she expected to dress the movie’s stars. In addition, she sold several pieces.
“It will definitely be a good thing for the store,” she said. “And it gave me the chance to meet and speak with people there who are going to help crusade for the cause we are supporting.”
The sisters, with help from friend Daria Barwinska, are trying to raise awareness and funds for the need of sanitary products for young women in Kenya. They are planning a celebrity dinner for this summer hoping to raise money to sponsor 1,500 girls for an entire year.
Both Irene and Emily said their time at AU helped them realize their dreams of owning a business.
“I learned that there is growth, and if you have your dreams do follow them,” Irene said. “When I was starting to make my things, I never ever thought that a celebrity would wear them. I’ve learned, don’t give up on your dreams. Work hard and you never know where it will take you.”
— Abbey Doyle is a report for The Herald Bulletin. Story reposted with permission.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of about 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.