Kyermun Nanjul Tyem is the CEO of Kerry’s Traditional Spa in Jos, Plateau State. The Guidance and Counselling graduate cum beauty consultant, in this interview by KANGMWA GOFWEN, speaks on why she enjoys being an entrepreneur, challenges peculiar to her kind of business, among other issues.
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I will say it is the freedom to be able to do what I love and to derive satisfaction from it. Also, being able to work and meet amazing people, and the flexibility that comes with it. Most times, I forgot that I went to school . As much as being an entrepreneur has a lot of stress and uncertainties to it, I love being my own boss, doing what I love, and making my own money. Also, being an employer of labour is such a flex.
What motivated you to venture into your line of business? Is it in line with what you studied in school?
No, is not in line with what I studied. It probably, in the aspect of relating with people, because I studied Guidance and Counselling at at the College of Education, Pankshin. But, mainly, I will say it is my love for good and healthy skin, nature, and having a handwork that motivated me.
I fell in love with the spa, traditional spa in particular, years ago. I travelled to Lagos and came across a woman who does the exact things I do now and I was wowed. I didn’t know something like that existed — yes I know of spas and also the body maintenance ‘gyaranjiki’ that Hausa women do. But doing it this way and with the other services I didn’t know, like sugar waxing, was just something I said I have to learn and bring it here to Jos. I was inspired. Though I couldn’t learn then because they weren’t willing to teach me, I knew somehow and someday I will definitely learn and thank God, I got a place I was able to learn from during my Youth Service at Nasarawa State.
I travelled to Abuja everyday for the period I was learning, and right now, I am loving every bit of it. I am glad I sacrificed that much. I have gone for other upgrade classes, and i am working on going for more within and outside the country in the future.
As a CEO, how do you manage your employees as you are almost peers with some of them while some are older than you?
Love this question because of the relationship with my employees. I have employees who are older than me, who are my age mates, and who are younger me, but one key thing is respect and love. I first love them and by doing so, it has become very easy to find a balance. I believe that once you respect yourself, as a person and not be condescending, your relationship with your employees shouldn’t be hard. My employees are family. That is just how I carry them. I call them God’s handpicked for me. My relationship with them is something I am thankful to God for, and I don’t fail to appreciate them taking the business like their own and working heartedly. I’ll say, though, I set them straight when needs be.
When my first staff got admission and left after years of working at the spa, I was so worried about getting a replacement. Fortunately, we got a better replacement. So, I’ve actually found a good balance with my employees and is working just fine for me. Shout out to Aunty Christy, Chin, Mercy and Silas.
Your business seem to be flourishing, how do you manage to stay afloat in this hash economy?
Phew! It has not been easy as it looks. I’ve cried to my husband several times when it gets tough and I’ll tell him that I want to be a full house wife, but I’ll still move on the next minute. I don’t cut down on marketing — I mean social media has been such a huge impact in my business. I maintain healthy cash flow, reduce expenses, and do a few things outside the spa business like renting our space for intimate occasions like bridal showers, dinners, birthdays, engagements, and other things to generate extra income. I’m very consistent and intentional with my business. You know, with consistency, the percentage of the business flourishing is high. I always have a positive mindset that it will always get better and it actually keeps getting better with each passing day.
What are some of the challenges you face as an entrepreneur?
My line of business wasn’t something this part of the country was used to. So, it was quite challenging explaining and convincing people to patronise it, even though it’s been hugely accepted now. Maintaining a healthy cash flow is honestly not an easy task. Customers not keeping to time for their appointments is another problem. Meeting and booking customers could be overwhelming — everyone wants theirs done at the same time. Cost of our services due to inflation and materials is also a hassle.
You have been in this business for some years now, what are some strategies you deploy to keep you in business?
Consistency, maintenance and staying relevant. If you have been following us on our social media handles, you will see that we try to add or change some things about our space to give it a new and refreshing look. We bring new services/products, and find ways to make it balance for our customers. We also try to run promos, do giveaways, get brand ambassadors, celebrate the business milestones, listen to our customers’ complains/corrections. We are steadily looking for ways to improve the spa and also finding a balance for my customers and employees, one step at a time.
How do you think the government can make entrepreneurship appealing to Nigerians?
Through low-interest loans, friendly trade policies, grants and provision of favourable social and economic atmosphere for entrepreneurs. The government could also organise programmes and seminars with experts to educate young entrepreneurs on entrepreneurship. I mean, there is just much the government could do to make entrepreneurship appealing for the many that are willing to take that path.
Is this a side hustle for you or you have a full-time job?
Aside being a wife — because that is also a job —well, this is my full-time job.
What services do you render at the spa?
It is a spa, so we offer most of the services a spa would offer — from massages, to body polishing, to pedicure and waxing, you just name it. We also sell some beauty products and offer training to people interested in learning. We also give out our space for intimate occasions, and that is my side hustle.
What is next for you and your business? And where do you see yourself in coming years?
So many things, but I’ll mention few. I’m hoping and trusting God on getting a bigger permanent place for the business, employ more staff, and add more equipment. I’m also going for advance courses to improve myself and our services. I’m also working on adding English spa to the traditional spa so customers could have multiple choices. I love to dream big, so I’m also working on relaunching our skin-care products with NAFDAC/dermatologist approval and having more branches within Plateau State, across Nigeria and beyond, God willing.
What would you say to young entrepreneurs who are just launching their businesses?
I’ll tell them to make sure that what they are embarking on shouldn’t mainly be for just the money but also for the love of it. Loving what you do makes it very easy for you to stay consistent. Never underestimate the power of a solid business plan. Know your audience and identify the gap in that particular business you are venturing. In this era of social media, please take marketing serious, regardless of what you are selling or the services you are offering. Have patience — don’t give up easily. Be humble and learn. Accept healthy criticism/corrections and work on them for the betterment of your brand. And, always remember that the sky is big enough for everyone to make it.
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