Toyosi Olowe, who has won a Rising Star Award for her start-up, pictured at WBS London at The Shard

High art: Toyosi Olowe used her BA Law and Business Studies degree to start her own luxury art brand

Successful entrepreneur and artist Toyosi Olowe is celebrating after winning a Rising Star Award from female campaigning group WeAreTheCity. 

Toyosi founded art décor brand Toyo Writes (TW) at the height of the pandemic in 2020 after quitting her job at KPMG and was soon counting Hollywood celebrities, tech giant Google and many blue-chip firms as her clients. 

Combining art with her leadership skills and business acumen, honed by a BA in Law and Business Studies at Warwick Business School, the success of Toyosi's growing business was lauded by judges at the Rising Star Awards 2024 as she took top prize in the Entrepreneurs and Start-ups category. 

The 29-year-old, who was named in The Telegraph’s Top 100 List of Female Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2023, said: “Winning the Rising Star Award is testament to the power of my perseverance and creativity. It’s a reminder that dreams are attainable with faith, passion, and dedication. 

“Being recognised as an entrepreneur is not just a personal achievement; it’s an affirmation of the endless possibilities that arise when we dare to innovate and believe in our unique vision. 

“This award represents the collective effort of every challenge faced and every risk taken. It’s a celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit that drives us to turn aspirations into reality.” 

Toyosi has created art for Hollywood actors Meagan Good and Grace Byers, and CEOs like Bracken Darrell, the boss of VF Corporation, which owns clothing brands Vans and Supreme, after starting out by posting her art on Instagram. 

Now employing a team of artists, the business owner's bespoke canvases sell for more than £30,000, while she has held exhibitions at the headquarters of Google, Deloitte, and Barclays. 

Alumni's art business venture attracts Hollywood stars 

“The business has grown its global influence,” said the Nigerian-born Londoner. “There is a lot of interest and business opportunities in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) market, especially from hotels and restaurants.

“I am creating and also co-working with new artists on new high-end paintings for private Arab collectors, and a growing pool of Hollywood and CEO customers in the US.

“As well as a powerful art blog arm that now covers inspiring and captivating art stories with artist features, we are planning murals in the UAE for cultural impact and continuing to build brand partnerships.  

“The TW business is now in its fourth year, and we are excited to build more supplier partnerships globally, with the goal to be the go-to luxury art brand.”

Associate Professor Bo Kelestyn, who is Course Director for the MSc Management of Information Systems and Digital Innovation and creator of the School’s Challenge X: A Design Thinking Sprint, was shortlisted in the Education and Academic category, which was sponsored by WBS, while Yuxi Pan, a graduate of The Warwick Executive Diploma in Behavioural Science, was shortlisted for Charity and Not-for-Profits.  

Now in its 10th year, the Rising Star Awards attracted more than 1,300 nominations, which were evaluated by a panel of 50 independent judges. Additionally, public support through 10,000 votes bolstered the 200 shortlisted nominees from 115 countries over a two-week period. 

Vanessa Vallely OBE, Founder of WeAreTheCity, said: “I am so proud that for the 10th year running WeAreTheCity has been able to shine a light on the achievements of so many remarkable women across the UK. 

“Our 2024 winners join a phenomenal alumnus of 1,050 previous winners who continue to soar, both professionally and personally. 

“These remarkable women embody the spirit of resilience, determination, and passion. Through their accomplishments, they have shattered stereotypes, championed equality, and forged new paths for women in their respective fields. 

“Their success not only inspires us, but also reminds us of the limitless potential that lies within every individual, regardless of gender.” 

The awards ceremony will take place at the Londoner Hotel, Leicester Square, on July 17, and will feature entertainment from Southend Vox Choir and Strictly Come Dancing Star Pasha Kovalev.