Oluwatosin Salmon is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Cassie Hair Brand, a leading hair and beauty product company in Lagos State. In this interview by SEYI SOKOYA, she speaks on her experience and how the growth of the industry has helped Nigeria.
A lot of entrepreneurs have continued to count their losses and currently re-strategising on how recover from the damage the coronavirus pandemic has done to their businesses. How has the pandemic affected your business and what are your sustaining strategies?
There is no doubt that COVID-19 pandemic has really slowed down the economy. But guess what? The best part of any business is learning to adapt to all situations. What I have done is to ensure that I upgrade the online presence of the business. I do not relent in creating more awareness about the Cassie Hair Brand. We have adopted various methods to engage people as well as to project our brand online and the feedback has been encouraging. Part of what we did was to promote our stocks with our beautiful models through professional videos and pictures from time to time. We are confident that this development will make our customers and prospective ones stay true to us. The online advertising approach has indeed helped the brand at all times. It is one of our greatest strategies for sustaining our business, especially when COVID was more pronounced. I am sure that no one ever envisaged such pandemic; even those in small or big scale businesses never had the premonition that it would affect their businesses greatly. But every serious-minded business person will always look for all means to make his or her business thrive irrespective of any unforeseen challenge. We should also not forget the God factor in all we do. We thank God for answered prayers as it is easing gradually.
You did lots of give-aways during the heat of the pandemic. What prompted that?
The truth is that the pandemic has really hit a lot of homes so hard and I am not ignorant of this. So, I decided to give back to the people, especially the underprivileged. I did a lot of giveaways because I wanted to reach out to as many homes as I could. No matter how little, someone gets to smile from it and I am happy about that. I threw in little tasks sometimes, so that people who really needed it could win. I sometimes wish I could reach everyone in need. I felt it is essential we give back to the people, because no one had it in mind that the earth would encounter such challenge. It was so sudden that many people could not bear the horrible experience.
How did you discover your passion for hair and cosmetics business?
I have always been passionate about everything that involves beauty, from hairs, clothes, shoes, to bags and so on. I even used to sell some of these things when I was much younger. I realised there was just something about hairs that I was really drawn to. I started my hair business some years back and it is truly one of my greatest business ventures. And guess what? The passion keeps growing bigger every day.
What does it take to establish a professional outfit for such business?
A driving spirit, time and of course money. These three things push one to always strive for success and look for new ways to make your brand stand out. I always tell people that it doesn’t matter how many people are doing the same business as you, if you are determined, you will succeed.
Time and energy is needed in every business. Not just even hair. The amount of time you dedicate to your business is very important for its growth.
Every business needs to be funded. You need money to source for great quality. Great quality is much more important than quantity.
Hair entrepreneurship business has become competitive by the day. How have you been able to carve a niche for yourself?
Yes, we now have many hair entrepreneurs which I think is a beautiful development. I have been able to make my brand unique by ensuring my brand serves nothing short of great quality. When customers trust the quality your brand serves, they are definitely going to stay committed to your brand. I have also been able to establish a certain level of long-term relationships with my customers and this has boosted brand loyalty. More so, I do not relent in content promotion and online advertising has been exciting, which has also made potential customers to always remain glued to our brand.
With your wide experience in the industry, do you think people in the showbiz appreciate hair as a key factor of beauty?
Hair is show business! I strongly believe every sector of entertainment business knows the vital role hairs play and truly appreciates it. The beautiful part is, as the entertainment industry grows every day, so does this great regard for good hair grow everyday; not just by women alone, but my men also.
What is your assessment of the beauty and fashion industry in Nigeria?
The beauty and fashion industry in Nigeria is blooming beautifully. Honestly, every day you see industry players adding their different touches to the industry. If you compare the beauty industry now to two decades ago, you will see immense growth. People are now expressing their love for everything in beauty in so many beautiful ways. Both the young and the old; women and men and even children. In fact, it is beyond amazing.
Is it true that there is a spiritual dimension to artificial hair?
This is so funny. I have heard this several times and read comments about this. In my opinion, I feel artificial hair is just a beautiful means of self-expression. Just as when you style your natural hair, artificial hairs have a way of boosting your confidence. People are just really drawn to how they can go from one look to another in very quick steps. I don’t believe there is any connection to the spiritual realm at all.
What is your greatest challenge as a hair entrepreneur?
I won’t say I have faced any major challenges since I delved into hair business.
We have experienced the usual little difficulties here and there such as dealing with different customers, service delivery and so on. But in my years as a hair entrepreneur, I have learnt how to handle these little difficulties so well that I do not consider them as anything to worry about.
How did you come about the name Cassie Hair Brand?
The name ‘Cassie’ has been my nickname for many years before I even started my hair business. Since many people called me Cassie, I just decided to make it my brand identity too and it has been interesting since then to the extent that it has become a household name in the industry.
The business seems to be time-consuming. How have you been able to combine it with the home front?
I have learnt to strike a balance between business and my personal life. In my business, I delegate as much as I can so it is easier to run. I have great staff that assist with the smooth running of my business, while I oversee everything. So far so good; home and business are doing fantastic.
Your business is located in the heart of Lagos. How have you been able to stay unique in the midst of the intense competition?
We all know that positioning is a very important element for establishing a business. You will agree with me that Lekki, Lagos State, is the home to many thriving businesses and brands. We chose this location because it is easily accessible and central to many residential and commercial establishments. The location has one of the fastest growing populace, hence, a greater reach and audience for our products and services.
We also made it easy for people who live in the other parts of Lagos and the world to obtain their hairs by working with reputable logistics experts to ensure that Cassie Hair reaches everyone everywhere.
What is your advice to the government in supporting entrepreneurs?
Business and entrepreneurship have really contributed a great deal to our economy. Government can support entrepreneurs by creating an enabling environment for them to grow. Government can reduce the regulatory burdens in business so it is easier for more people to become successful entrepreneurs. Loans and other credit services should also be made available to entrepreneurs. This will go a long way in helping entrepreneurs and in boosting the economy.
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