A Master’s degree holder in Public and International Affairs from the University of Lagos, Oluyemisi Akinrinola (nee Olaoye) is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Princess Naturals, a skin care company in Lagos State. In this interview with SEYI SOKOYA, she talks about how the desire to overcome her skin challenge made her venture into beauty business. Excerpts:
What services do Princess Naturals render?
Princess Naturals is a tested and trusted name in the field of all natural beauty products. We make and sell organic skincare products from herbal extracts, ayurvedic spices and aroma oil. We offer the best range of herbal face, body and hair care products. We are also into the sale of jewellry and hair accessories.
I started the business in 2013 and we have been able to help customers achieve flawless and glowing skin. Our products have received several reviews. We presently have distributors in eight cities across Nigeria: Port Harcourt, Abuja, Benin, Kaduna, Ibadan, Ilorin, Enugu and Jos. Few of our products include organic body butter, skin glow moisturizer, African black soap, handmade soap, pimple/acne removal set, body glow oil, herbal body scrub, body washes, kids soap and cream. Presently we have five staff members in our Lagos office. We also give weekly tips on how to take care of your skin on our DIY recipe, BBM channel, Instagram and Facebook so even if you are not using our products, you can still get recipe from us on how to use kitchen ingredients to get beautiful skin
Why did you decide to venture into skincare business?
I love looking after my skin, so why won’t I help others and show them how to look after theirs. I love beautiful skin and skincare generally; it is a passion, and helping others feel good about their skin gives me joy.
What were you doing prior to setting up Princess Naturals?
I was an HR executive with the Rose of Sharon group owned by Mrs Folorunso Alakija. I worked there for about four years before deciding to set up my own business. Working with the company gave me worthwhile experience which has helped me in setting up my company.
All your products are made from natural ingredients; do you produce them yourself?
Princess Naturals makes its products from scratch using botanical extracts, spices, and aroma oils. Basically, all our products are 100% organic both for skin and hair care and meet up to international standards.
What makes you different from other beauty companies?
The ingredients for our products are top notch and carefully selected. Like I said earlier, we use only organic ingredients that heal, protect, maintain and enhance the skin, as it is well known that many plants, spices and essential oils have anti-inflammatory effects and ultimately heal the skin. In Lagos today, we have had a large influx of young men and women entering organic skincare. While some see it as a career path and an industry that supports and celebrates health and wellness, others see it as a money-making venture. Our products are unique, work effectively and are quite affordable. We also treat our customers as kings.
Did you, in the past, have any skin challenge that made you toe this path?
Yes, I had skin issues. I used to have spots on my legs when I was young. I had a skin irritation at age four while staying with my grandmother. I can’t really remember how I got it but I remember she took me to a general hospital then but the spots were still there despite taking medication. When I became a teenager, I was always ashamed to wear skirts. When I started working, I got some foreign products to use on the spots, but they didn’t clear them, and then I started researching on organic ways with which I could treat it myself. I mixed soap with herbal plants and I saw the spots fade off. When I saw the result, I decided to go for further training in the field.
What is the first thing Princess Naturals does when a client comes with a complaint?
First of all, we evaluate the skin condition, get the customer’s skin type, make the customer feel at ease by providing a portfolio of jobs we have done and show our client reviews on such cases with pictures.
How affordable are your products and services?
I can say boldly that we are very affordable and our clients attest to this. Our products are affordable to students and both low and high income earners.
What is your business secret?
Apart from our products being effective, our products are skin safe, therapeutic and as natural as possible. We make use of ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, cucumber, among others. Most of these natural ingredients, when applied on the skin, aid in the treatment of so many skin conditions. We preach, use and do only naturals.
How did you acquire your knowledge of the business?
I trained with Nerolie Nature Skincare&Wellness. They are certified by the School of Natural Skincare in Bristol, London. I also did personal research in the field.
How do you grow your client base?
I believe so much in the power of advertising, especially if you have a product that works. Social media has helped me a lot. Most of my traffic comes from my social media pages. We also get lots of clients via word of mouth. Those who have used our products refer their families and friends to us, which has been one of our most successful avenue. Referral is key for small scale businesses.
Tips for flawless skin
BEAUTIFUL skin is usually referred to as a woman’s asset and according to www.health.com, below are five simple rules for achieving flawless skin.
Avoid heavy-duty cleansers
Unlike your pots and pans, “your skin needn’t be scrubbed or squeaky to be clean,” says Jeannette Graf, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center. So don’t overdo it. Mild, non-detergent cleansers – milks, gels, foams, or cloths – are your best bet.
Ditch the toner
These were originally invented to restore the natural pH of skin after it had been washed with an alkaline-detergent soap. “If you’re using a pH-balanced cleanser, there’s no need for toner,” Graf says. “It’ll only dry your skin.”
Make sure acid-laced products are pH-balanced
This means their pH is in sync with skin, so “they gently remove sebum (an oily substance secreted by the skin) and makeup without stripping natural oils,” Graf says. Look for the words “pH-balanced” on cleansers that contain glycolic or lactic acids and on exfoliators, she adds, because some have a low pH, which can cause dryness.
Opt for fragrance-free
Fragrance is the most common cause of skin-care-related allergic reactions. If you’re sensitive, be sure to choose products that are labeled “fragrance-free.” The ones that are marked “unscented” typically contain small amounts of fragrance to help mask the odors of active ingredients.
Choose multitasking moisturizers
A good day cream juggles two jobs – hydration and protection. Pick one that has plant-based moisturizers and antioxidants.