BY JOSEPHINE AGBONKHESE
The ability to identify and satisfy a need is the hallmark of an excellent entrepreneur. One of such is Mrs Goodness Okwu, CEO, Stylenest International. An Accountant by profession, Goodness tapped into the ever-rising craze for human hair extensions, wigs and other hair care products amongst women five years ago, leaving her flourishing job in a multinational firm. She has since soared in her determination to bring total hair package to Nigerian and African women at large. Goodness tells more in this interview.
What informed your desire to go into hair business and not any other kind of business?
As an entrepreneur, albeit profit was at the back of my mind, the joy that I could make a woman, regardless of her age, class and social status, to look beautiful and happy, took precedence. I am a woman and I am proud to be a woman. I am proud to promote womanhood. I like seeing women look good. So, my major aim was to make women of all ages appear fashionable. I am not saying it must be expensive in order to be trendy. No, that’s not the case here. Basically, you can work within your budget and look trendy. Believe this or not, our appearance speaks volumes about who we are.
So, I established Stylenest International to cater to the hair needs of women. We launched out in 2011 to help bring home quality hair extensions to women, not just in Nigeria, but across the African continent. So, we are a marketing company that deals in the promotion and sales of 100 per cent human hair extensions and wigs as well as other hair care products.
Would you say you’re achieving that goal?
Yes. Like I said, our focus was to bring out the beauty in African women irrespective of their age, social status or religion. I am happy to say that we have since 2011 brought smile on the faces of women, both in and out of Nigeria, as today, our hair extensions, wigs and hair care products are sold nationwide and abroad. With the help of new media also, we showcase our products to our clients all around Africa.
Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Yes, I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Even while working with a multinational firm several years back, I couldn’t find fulfillment. I’ve always believed in creativity and style. A woman is supposed to have style, poise and taste and so Stylenest was a dream come true for me. This is a nest where style and trendiness have come to rest.
What class of women do you cater to?
Well, our products are not cheap but it’s very affordable. It caters for people depending on your budget.
To what extent do you employ the use of new media?
That’s what we basically use. We are on Facebook, Instagram, twitter, our website and other social media platforms and with the help of media outfits like yours, we believe that our story will reach more women. Currently, we are running a campaign called: ‘Your lover’s Hair Choice’ promotion. It’s a social media campaign which allows women to visit our Facebook page and state in clear terms the kind of hair extension they want to wear in this month of love and at the end of the week, the Stylenest team visit the city with the highest number of likes and comments on the Stylenest Facebook page and provide them with our products. The campaign is targeted at major cities in Nigeria, namely; Abuja, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Aba, Calabar, Owerri, Benin, Warri and Asaba.
Where do you see Stylenest in the next 10 years?
We look forward to having our own hairline and to also be the market leader in hair and hair care products. We also plan on having more branches in major cities in Nigeria before the end of this year. Like I mentioned initially, we want to give every woman a beautiful look that’s why we want to be situated in as many locations as possible.
Your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Be focused. Define what you really want to do. The zeal and passion should be there. Hard work pays and if you have a good support system, then you are some steps close to the trophy. 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 nights and busy schedules. They encourage me when I’m weak, and they help me to see the big picture. My kids understand too. So I’ve kept some days aside to attend to them, eat out with them and go on vacations with them when the time is right.