Goodness Wendu Okwu, a wife, a mother, an Accountant by profession and a young Fashion Entrepreneur is the CEO of Stylenest International; a hair care company which is also involved in the promotion and sales of 100% Human Hair Extensions, Wigs and Hair Care Products. Stylenest has been in business for almost five years. In this interview with The September Standard, she talks about her new hair line called; EChi Hair.
What are the challenges you face in your business?
There are day-to-day challenges of running the business and government policies/ decisions affect small scale businesses directly or indirectly. Am sure you are aware that fund is essential for any business to operate smoothly.
Accessing funds is not an easy task. Financial institutions are groaning and where you are able to access loan, you have to struggle with heavy interest rate and other tax burdens that come with our business environment. So, businesses like ours are forced to cut cost so as to keep up with the realities of our time.
But that aside, you leave in Nigeria, so you know the power situation in the country. Power generation is in a bad shape, power distribution is awful and small businesses find it difficult to cope. But then in recent time, I would say that the power situation has seen some improvement.
We have three outlets in Lagos and on average we spend close to a hundred thousand nairas monthly on diesel to power each outlet. This cost alone could have been channelled into something more resourceful.
But having said that, we are still optimistic. Like one of my mentors would say, if your business can survive in Nigeria, your business can survive anywhere else in the world.
A lot of women are moving away from the artificial hair because of the cost and the economic situation, how does this affect your market share?
I have explained at various fora, Stylenest International is focused on bringing out the natural beauty of women across Africa irrespective of their age or social status. We want the best for women across the continent, we want total hair care package for our women. So after years of marketing research, we came to the conclusion that we are not marketing just artificial hair. We are into hair care business. Be it your natural hair or artificial hair, be it your wigs. In essence, we make your hair as a woman come alive. Ada, despite the harsh economic situation you won’t tell me that you don’t visit your hair stylist at least once a week. I won’t say that because the economy is bad, I won’t buy data and go online to read interesting articles likes yours. Yes, we operate in a harsh economic situation there’s no doubt about that but your loyal clients still remain you, loyal clients.
More and more women are sporting low cuts, some are going natural, do you see this as a threat and are you positing yourself to take advantage of this?
For the sake of emphasis, please permit me to reiterate that Stylenest International is focused on bringing out the natural beauty of women across Africa irrespective of their age or social status. Stylenest International is not just a hair marketing company. We are into hair care. Stylenest is positioned as a total hair care package for African women. We want Stylenest to be synonymous with hair care. Be it low cut hair, natural hair, dreadlock hair just name it. We are into the business of trend so as the trends evolves we adopt to it. I won’t want to let the cat out of the bag but all I can say for now is that in a few weeks’ time, we are launching a new hair line that is very affordable. It’s called EChi Hair. That’s all I can say for now.
If you were not doing this business what would you be doing?
If am not doing this business I would be a dedicated mother. I would be at home taking care of my kids. I have two ‘beautiful’ boys. Am an accountant by profession. But am a strong advocate of family unity. My Husband and children have been so helpful to me.
They are my support structure; they have been there for me, in my travels, late night and busy schedules. They encouraged me when I’m weak, and help me to see the big picture. My kids understand too. So in essence am in business because of them. But if tomorrow there’s no Stylenest, I still have my family to take care of. So I will be a committed wife and mother.