By JOSEPHINE IGBINOVIA
Chief (Mrs)Adeline Ogboaya Balogun is the CEO of New “U” Spa in Lagos. Though a Paris-trained graduate of French with background in Secretarial Administration, the frequent transfer of her military husband (now an Army General) scuttled her ambition of building a career in language.
Chief(Mrs.) Balogun eventually discovered her passion for rendering beauty and wellness services, and decided to remain a private French teacher to her children to preserve her knowledge of the language. Now a fulfilled grandmother and still in the business of beauty and wellness, she shares her experience with Vista Woman.
How has the spa business been?
I thank God that the awareness for fitness is increasing in Nigeria. Nigerians are responding so well to the trend. In the early years, it was thought that applying certain substances to one’s face could cause irritation rather than treat them. But now, we know the face gets rejuvenated instead and looks younger. At 63, I feel strong, youthful and fit! I might be on the big side, but the point is that I’m very fit because I use the gym. Using the gym tones up your muscles and makes you fit, even if there’s no actual weight reduction.
What has been the challenges?
If you go out to compete, you’ll definitely face challenges. But if you come out to be yourself and render services you feel are suitable for your clients and make changes where necessary, you find things easier. The major challenge however is price tag disparity in the spa business.
How do you keep abreast with trends in the industry?
Though I trained with a professional outfit before venturing into this business, I’m always surfing the internet because virtually all updates are available there! Also, when I go on holiday abroad, I try to gain as much knowledge as I can by visiting different spas. Some of my workers however go for short-term courses abroad.
There are many health conditions in the world these days and experts are already attributing most of them to lack of fitness…
That’s true. Even when one cannot engage in exercises, it is important to walk some distance regularly because walking is part of exercise. Treadmill is walking and bicycle too is walking! However, I want to say that despite the awareness that has heightened over the years, majority of Nigerians still do not understand why they should exercise or use the gym unless their doctor tells them to.
Hence, you find that most of the people coming for exercise are coming on doctor’s recommendation. Amazingly, they start feeling very good as soon as they begin doing those exercises. Some ailments could be fended off through regular exercise.
Considering that the cost of spa services are usually on the high side, are there packages designed to assist indigent people who want to keep fit?
I do that at my discretion even though I don’t have it advertised. However, this is not frequent practice because value could be misinterpreted. Naturally, my charges are not tied to how well-off I think a client is. They are liberal and reasonable.
Your philosophy of life…
Life is what you make of it. Relying on people could be disappointing and could make life frustrating. Life as a married woman taught me a lot of patience. Life as a mother taught me a lot of patience and tolerance. Life as a businesswoman also taught me a lot of tolerance.
We’ll always have friends because we can never be alone in life, but over the years, life has taught me to understand friends. Some might be unreliable though they truly would love to be of help. I’ve come across several kinds of friends over the years, and I’ve learnt to understand them all. In a nutshell, life has taught me understanding, tolerance and patience, and these have helped me remain in marriage with my husband who is Yoruba, for about forty-one years, though I’m originally from Opobo.