INTERVIEW (Oluwakemi Ajiboye)

Opportunities for SMEs in the Skin-care Industry

The Fidelity SME Forum is a weekly radio programme organized by Fidelity Bank Plc to educate, inform, advise and inspire budding entrepreneurs in Nigeria with knowledge and expertise that will enable them build sustainable and successful businesses. The interactive radio programme features subject matter experts and model entrepreneurs as guests on a weekly basis to share their insight and unique success stories. In this interview, Oluwakemi Ajiboye gives valuable insights on “Opportunities for SMEs in the Skin-care Industry”. 

Q: Tell us a bit about how you got into the skin care Industry

Oluwakemi: Crystal skin ventures came to being from a quest to promote healthy and beautiful skin. I was inspired by the loss of a loved one who died of skin cancer.

Q: This issue of hazardous skin care products in our environment is a huge one, how is Crystal Shine solving it?

Oluwakemi: We have been able to launch our campaign over the years against the use of hazardous chemicals in skin lightening creams and we have been able to take the campaigns to secondary school children because we are looking at having a generation that would be free from the use these hazardous chemical. There was a record by UNEC that about seven women out of 10 women in Nigeria bleached their skin either unconsciously or consciously.

Q: Can you tell me how your background prepared you for this?

Oluwakemi: After studying Biochemistry I proceeded to study Skin Care therapy, in England, I also did Aesthetic medicine, in India and I also did Cosmetic Chemistry in India. I also did formulation courses in America so I’m just passionate about providing healthy skin care solutions to skin care problems.

Q: Giving all that you know about the Nigerian market, is this business profitable?

Oluwakemi: Whatever that is a daily-used product as long as you are doing the right thing there would definitely be growth in that sector or there would be a demand for the product and since we’ve been able to carve that niche for ourselves we promote healthy and beautiful skin. So the demand has been increasing and it has been amazing over the years.

Q: We have a lot of indigenous product in our country that will foster great skin care, what are you leveraging in our local environment for you product?

Oluwakemi: I did many researches into some ancient oils because before now our mothers never had to go through the use of all these hazardous chemicals. I researched into some oils that are very nourishing for the skin, like avocado oil. Its oil was gotten from avocado pear the normal pear that we eat.

Q: Walk us through a few of the challenges you have faced and how you overcome them?

Oluwakemi: The major challenges that I have faced is convincing a Nigerian not to use hazardous chemicals on the skin, you see a lot of people walk into the clinic and they tell you “oh I want my skin to be white it’s going to be achieved in two days.” how possible is that? Some even say “I’m having a function next week and I just want my skin to change white.” So convincing them not to use hazardous chemical on their skin has been a major challenge.

Q:Why do you think everybody wants to be white?

Oluwakemi: I think it might be to lack of acceptance, we should learn to accept who we are, we should learn to embrace color and I think we should be confident enough in our own color. Some people think being light skinned is more beautiful, but I do not think so though I am light skinned, I admire those that are black.

Q: In terms of people listening who want to get into this industry who want to make a difference, how would you advise them to enter into the skin care industry?

Oluwakemi: The opportunities are huge but I am going to say first and foremost, get knowledge. Before I ventured into this business, I did skin therapy and I did that in London, it took me years. I also went for Aesthetic Medicine that also took me years. So I’m going to advise that they should not rush into just making money it’s not about making money. Once you are solving problem people will definitely look for you, so seek knowledge.

Q: What about in terms of profitability, what advice would you give for entrepreneurs who are in the space?

Oluwakemi: There are massive opportunities in the skin care industry. It just cuts across the value chain from the production to sourcing the ingredients to the distribution, the retailing to the end consumer. The opportunities are enormous and you do not have to be the one producing, you can distribute them. So just figure out the part of value chain that you are most passionate about.