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Entrepreneurs in Nigeria tap into rising natural beauty care products market


Oluseun Olarewaju started a business from her newfound talent last year and now runs a company that manufactures a range of natural beauty products.

While on a mission to find a suitable soap made from natural ingredients for her baby, Olarewaju decided to experiment with handmade natural soaps and found herself producing a variety of soaps to later include the entire family.

From dessert inspired handmade soaps, scrubs, lip balms to body butter and hair oils, her private label company, SoapBox NG makes bath and body products that are carried under other skincare brands and sold to clients across the country.

“You can take as little or as much as you want, so now I can pour the rest – put the soap butter to have it in the pot swirl that I talked about. So this is basically what it is. I will just pour everything that I have here. That is a type of design, then, I can now pour everything here, down here,” she said.

Olarewaju says following her dream meant that she had to learn to shun many detractors to enable her to build the brand.

“A lot of people don’t take you seriously at first, because you are a woman. A lot of people say. I mean it’s just something like a hobby, she will get over it, and that is condescending. Not taking you seriously, that is one thing. When I started, people didn’t take me seriously. But overall, a lot of women have supported me,” she added.

The entrepreneur set up a small studio in Lagos where she makes the products. She occasionally hires workers to help out.

Rising incomes and demand for natural skin and hair care products has seen many businesses spring up in Nigeria and parts of the continent in recent years as the beauty market grows.

In 2016 the beauty and skin care sector was valued at 620 million U.S. dollars in Nigeria according to Euromonitor International, a global market intelligence publisher.

“Capital is where the key constraint is. You need a lot of money to start the business. You need to have the right resources. It’s really difficult because the key thing is that a lot of people like to keep their business a trade secret to themselves but you need to realize that we need to empower each other. Women tend to be a little bit secretive, no pun intended, but I think the few people I have come across for example Soap NG. (Soapbox NG) she is confident in herself as a woman,“Cusmetics Entrepreneur, Inya Ajanaku.

The entrepreneur also trains aspiring beauty business owners enabling them to master the art of producing quality handmade skincare products that they can market to customers.

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