Dotun Abeshinbioke is the founder and proprietor of bik Studio in New York, which she founded while studying graphic design at Parsons.
She began freelancing to establish her portfolio, performing graphic work for T-shirts and brochures before constructing settings to display her photographs. She then began working on small-scale installations. She chose to turn her pastime into a business by starting bik Studio in November 2020.
“bik Studio was inspired by my traditional Yoruba name, which means ‘born to treasure’,” she noted on Business Insider. Her design studio specializes in branding, web design, and experiential design for customers in a variety of creative fields. According to Abeshinbioke, the company grew through word-of-mouth referrals and is now worth six figures.
Noting how her journey began, Abeshinbioke narrated, “for a while, the work was mostly for me, and initially, I hadn’t imagined doing it for paying clients. My funds were very limited as a student, so if I wanted to shoot something, I’d seek out cheap alternatives to the sets that inspired me, like the curtains and checkered flooring that the Malian photographer Malick Sidib uses.
“I found materials, like peel-and-stick flooring and fabrics, at discount and hardware stores and purchased things I could return later to keep my overhead low.”
She attributed her transformation from passion to vocation to the assistance of community members and social media followers. She got traction once she began publishing more of her work on Instagram and connected with others in the business there.
“I used to go live on Instagram to show the process of building out my sets, then shared the images on my page the next day. My followers loved this content, especially during the pandemic. These posts would be sent around and eventually shared with people who hired me for jobs later on,” she said.
Several of her acquaintances began sending her to other creatives, such as artists in need of assistance with music video setups. For example, one of her acquaintances suggested her to a production company that works with the rapper Fabolous.
“He had a song with Davido and Jeremih, and the video shoot was in New York. They needed a set and had seen my work. They gave me a budget up front, which I divided up based on the cost of materials and labor,” she noted.
She began her career with music videos and progressed to work on work events, album covers, and brand activations before joining Creative Collective NYC, a networking platform for creative freelancers. She created sets for major brands such as Foot Locker through CCNYC.
Abeshinbioke attributes her company’s success to her organizational abilities and diligence. According to her, it aided her in serving the individuals with whom she worked.
“This became valuable as I merged all the freelance work that I was doing into one distinguishable brand. I still lead most of the day-to-day work, but I now have two graphic designers who I hired in 2022 and a project manager. On a project basis, I bring on other contractors and freelancers to collaborate on branding and web design,” she said.