The era in which women regarded kitchen decorative ornaments as fashion statements has given way to a shift in priorities, as these once-coveted items are now being used as vital resources to secure food and meet essential expenses.
Previously, newlywed women received an array of kitchen ornaments as bride’s gifts, which they proudly used to adorn their homes. Those who couldn’t afford these items would save money, often through informal savings groups known as “ajo” in the Yoruba language, to purchase kitchen utensils and stay in step with fashion trends.
However, the prevailing financial challenges in the country, coupled with increasing responsibilities, have prompted most women to reevaluate their focus. Economic & Lifestyle research reveals that these once-treasured kitchen ornaments are now being sold online or by the roadside as women endeavor to raise funds for sustenance and other bills.
Mrs. Fatimah Arowolo, a bread seller, shared her experience: “I realized that these kitchen items are no longer in vogue and were just wasting space on my shelves. I decided to sell them on the street, offering items like covered plates for N800, trays for N300, and individual pieces for N500 each. The proceeds from the sales will help cover my children’s school fees and provide for their meals.”
For Mrs. Helen Momoh, selling kitchen ornaments online became necessary due to the challenges posed by low business patronage and soaring prices. She explained, “Life has been very difficult these days. Business is not booming as usual while the prices of everything are skyrocketing. I had to declutter online many items that are just lying idle in the house, including kitchen ornaments.”
The once-popular ceramic plates, which used to be a hallmark of the food business, have now taken a back seat. Rising prices have led people to seek more affordable alternatives, like unbreakable plates and cups with various designs. This shift has led many women to part ways with their unused kitchen wares to generate much-needed funds for their households.
Mrs. Lola Salami, a kitchen utensils seller, noted that people now prefer unbreakable plates due to their durability and the escalating cost of ceramic plates. As the ceramic plate business wanes, individuals are choosing less expensive plastic plates, and even the plate-sharing tradition in meetings has given way to using funds for immediate needs.
The economic landscape has also prompted some individuals to part with other kitchen gadgets and appliances, including toasting machines, blenders, and microwaves, to raise money for essential expenses.
Men are also joining the ranks of those who sell their possessions to make ends meet. Mr. John Obasi, a seller of fairly used kitchen wares, recounted how he was initially surprised when women began bringing unused ceramic plates and other items for sale. The shift in priorities, driven by the country’s economic challenges, has prompted people to adapt and use what was once considered decorative and non-essential for more urgent needs.
As economic pressures persist, these anecdotes highlight the resourcefulness of Nigerian families as they navigate a challenging financial landscape by reshaping their priorities and transforming once-valued items into vital resources for their survival.