We had the good fortune of connecting with Banakayi Tshifunda-Thomas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Banakayi, how does your business help the community?
I was conflicted on which question to answer because I’m so passionate about my WHY. Banakayi Designs is my vehicle to be able to actualize mine, and others dreams. I am the DESIGN GENIE here to grant your wish. Me and my team execute this through: under promising/ over delivering, ensuring clients know that they deserve a beautiful space, and curating one- of- a -kind fully designed experiences. This is essentially our best gift to the community.
My name Banakayi means child of the world. I am a connector, aligning people with their vision
This summer, Banakayi Designs also launches The BANAKIND initiative. This program was a response to several inquiries from people who are interested in Design, but don’t have any idea where to start. With BANAKIND, one can learn first hand about the intricacies of design, have hands-on training and guidance through a complete design project, possibly earn employment with Banakayi Designs.
All though I have a degree in Interior Architecture, my Minor was sustainability. Green design, well green (responsible) living is constantly my focus. As a first generation American, I’m working on creating modular sustainable homes that can travel with you internationally.
I was in corporate architecture for 20 years. There I’ve designed Home Depots, Amazon and Google fulfillment Centers, Bank Safes and AT&T stores, yet nothing has been as rewarding as branching out and giving that same level of detail, taste, precision, and know how to everyday individuals.
When commissioned to design OAK Atlanta (the #1 4 story nightclub in downtown Atlanta), I said lets give the people something they’ve never seen before that they can be proud of and mysteriously feel energized and encouraged by.
YES, I’m an architectural designer, but I’m really trying to raise the vibration and change the narrative. A Genie!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
At Banakayi Designs, we are into creating a curated design experience. We bring the VIBE! From our superstar Creative Director Diddi Emah adding sounds and smells to enhance the atmosphere before grand opening, to our all-hands-on deck extremely detailed SPEC process, we are different because we are committed to giving the client an experience in the round.
We also make it a point to partner with other designers, architects and artisans of various disciplines to make sure that we are always paying forward. Through the Banakind Program, I’d love to recreate each member of my team over and over again!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
ooh! I’ve been tiktoking a lot so I’m ready for this!
Sunday – OAK Atlanta Brunch Vybez
Monday – Wake up Early, Breakfast in the Hotel, Climb Stone Mountain, Yoga on the Mountain, Lunch at Bonton, Nap Change, and shower, DInner and dessert at Cafe Intermezzo at Perimeter
Tuesday – Breakfast at Another Broken Egg, Lunch and walk in Piedmont Park Dinner and $13 Happy Hour at Thai and Sushi and Hippin and Hops Brewery for games beer cigars and oysters after
Wednesday – Breakfast at Houstons then tour the Shops at Buckhead and Threads, Lunch at Eclipse Di Luna and stop by The Ivy Showroom before heading to dinner at The Little Steak House.
Thursday – Sleep in and go to the Beautiful for Brunch, Go to the Martin Luther King Museum before heading to Krog Street Market to scooter through the Beltline. Dinner, Meditate in the grass then walk back to uber or parking. Late Night Head to HALO Lounge (Designed by Banakayi Designs)
Friday – Brunch at Fin and Feathers, Ponce City Market Shopping and rooftop for lunch (my fave is the Masala fish wrap at Botiwala), Then Bar Vegan for Drinks and Happy Hour, Nap and change and head to Blue Lagoon Nigerian Lounge for fun and party
Saturda – BE A TOURIST – Go to Centennial Par, Mercedes Benz Stadioum, The AUC and The Civil Rights Museum, Have Lunch at Puttshack, change and go to Top Golf, then Late Night Head to OPIUM Lounge!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Edidiong “Diddi Emah – Creative Director/ Creative Design Manager- My right hand and the one that checks me and the process. A real celebrity who treats me like one (I mean c’mon she’s worked with Beyoncé)
Lorchristian Brown – Design Assistant
Jennifer Morse – former Manager and close friend. Owner of Jayleigh Studios and Great collaborator
My Husband and bestie – Cory Thomas who holds me up and down,
My Mama – Kat allowed me to see no limits and understands my brain
My Dad – JP for being the African Voice in my head always guiding and correcting me
My coisin/ sister Forrest – My voice of reason and longest friend
Meisha – Best friend since 5, the other me
Tracy Ann – Bizzle/ Other me
Michel Smith Boyd – My Mentor and friend and person who believed in me FIRST and gave me my first job out of college.
All my previous clients who have made my business grow exponentially with continuous word of mouth referrals
Instagram: @banakayi_designs, @banakayinakia
Linkedin: Banakayi Tshifunda
Facebook: Banakayi Designs, Nakia Genevieve Thomas
Other: Bigo Live: Banakayi_Designs TIKTOK – Banakayi_Designs