Mrs Preye Jimoh is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Dove International Cosmetology Academy and Dove Spa and Wellness Resort situated in Ibadan, Oyo State. In this interview with SEYI SOKOYA, she speaks on how to become a successful entrepreneur in the beauty industry and her vision to transform the industry. Excerpts:
You recently held a media parley to unveil your beauty and spa outfit. How did you feel with this development?
The outfit, Dove, began with the decision to start a cosmetology school and this was the mandate I received from God. Before this could be achieved, I had to establish a place for people to train. So, this was how Dove started. This mandate came in 2007, so I used three years to prepare myself for the task and it was God that led me through the learning process. This is a business that I could not just jump into, owing to the fact that I am an accountant by profession. On July 3, 2007, we started Dove Spa and the academy. It was not easy for us to start, but the passion and the vision paved way for us; we started in little way and from one location to another. It is a thing of joy that the vision back then has now manifested and we’re ready to affect lives positively and shape the industry. This was why we invited the media to have a feel of what we have put in place for people to benefit from and I am glad with the comments, observations and words of encouragements.
Did you have any practical experience aside the divine mandate?
Yes. I garnered a lot of experience from my aunt who learnt cosmetology while growing up and she usually taught me when she was around. This gave me a background into what it took to be a cosmetologist, unknown to me that I was going to become a professional someday. When it became visible, I had to brush up on the knowledge, especially in the aspect of schooling. I got a school online, studied their curriculum and got the clearer knowledge of how it was done outside the shores of Nigeria.
How easy has it been combining your career as an accountant and running this outfit?
It has been very challenging, but where there is a will, there is a way. It is my passion and my dream, and I have been able to combine both without any clash. I would say that God has really helped me to combine being an employee, employer, entrepreneur, wife, mother and a minister in the church perfectly. I have realised that my primary profession was training for me for a time like this. I am privileged to have worked as an accountant and auditor in foremost auditing firm in Nigeria and this has helped me with exposure and having a solid foundation. The fact that God actually asked me to venture into this business, even though I never thought of this in my wildest dreams, gave me a platform to set my goals and achieve them steadily. He was particular about the education aspect, but there is no way that I would do that without putting this in place. When I asked for God’s directive, He said to me that ‘I am God; I created the earth and the Greek work of the earth is Cosmos and what I am asking you to do is cosmetology. So, cosmos is the proper arrangement of things, just as cosmetology is also the proper arrangement of the act to create beauty.’ So, being a minister of God and an entrepreneur in the beauty industry are kind of interrelated; God is beautiful and everything He does is beautiful. My greatest joy is that God has helped me to affect many lives positively through the academy. I could remember I started with one student and at present, we have about 15 students; we are growing and I am confident that very soon, many youths will benefit from the academy.
What really attracted you to Ibadan?
I was strongly advised at the beginning not to set up in Ibadan, that people here won’t buy into it, but I said that there was no business that would not work in Ibadan. So far, we have notable fast food places and banks here and people patronise them. Definitely, there is prospect for this kind of business too.
What does it take to set up professional spa outfit?
A full spa outfit must have facial and body treatment, massage parlour, pedicure, sauna, jacuzzi, among other things and we have all of these here, compared to other places in Ibadan. We have not only set up a spa, but a resort for people to have access to all the various features of a spa at once and at the same spot. We have also made the maintenance of the resort a priority because this is a sensitive environment that must project quality and neatness. We have put in place suitable facilities, well trained personnel and good structure to make the outfit top notch.
Charges are one of the major challenges those in this business face. How have you been able to handle this?
This is true. For instance, the first thing that will come to the mind of anyone who passes by Dove is that our services will be expensive, but they really don’t know that it is not, because as a business person, it is not just about making money, but being able to reach as many people as possible. So, it is only those that come in that would have full knowledge of the fact that the charges are cheap. Also, this is why we have started creating more awareness to inform people that we have affordable services to give them healthy bodies and help them keep fit.
How much did it cost you to set up this in the heart of Ibadan?
Indeed, it has really cost a lot of money, but the truth is that it didn’t come at once. As I said earlier, I started in 2010 and this depicts that one has to start small in anything, but not to cut corners in providing quality services. I started with a three-bedroom flat and the effect we had then is not different from what we have now because I did not compromise quality. It got to a point that we had to move because the space could no longer contain us. Above all, we thank God that Dove Spa and Wellness Resort now has a place of its own. Now, my dream is that this initiative will be a household name in Ibadan and South-West soonest.
What do you think people are getting wrong about being successful entrepreneurs?
The basic thing is that people think being an entrepreneur is about making money; this is a very wrong mindset. It is about bringing positive change. People should stop thinking of money first; this will cause discouragement. Personally, if I started this business with the view of making money, I would have closed shop since because the money doesn’t come easily. It comes when one has paid his or her dues. One is under watch and people want to see whether one can stand the test of time. It is when one is able to overcome all the challenges that one can reap the rewards. For me, this is a lifetime industry and it is something I would like to hand over to my children, even to the third generation. I have discovered that there is no business that survives the third generation because people want immediate results. I want this business to grow beyond my third generation, just as Coca-Cola. I want to be the Coca-Cola of the beauty industry from Nigeria.