Annjay Chioma is a multi-talented entrepreneur and entertainer. She speaks to ROTIMI IGE about her passion for fashion and other projects she is involved in.
What inspired you to go into fashion and beauty business?
I went into the business because I like it and it’s part of my profession as a singer and model. I started doing business before I went into journalism but not as big as it is now. Annjay is international. We have our clients all over the world. We deal in hair, sunglasses, sexy shapers, cosmetics and more. I have been a businesswoman for quite some time. The truth is that journalism prepared me for everything I’m today.
So, at a point, when I could no longer combine both because my hands were full, I stopped working as a journalist and ventured into a full business, alongside my music career.
What were the early challenges encountered and how did you overcome them?
I must confess it has not been easy doing business as a Nigerian in Nigeria. Aside the heavy taxes and import duties, poor power supply is another major issue. We have to constantly operate our offices on diesel. Poor transport system too. Then lack of security. The market is also very competitive, but it is a healthy one though.
How has the covid-19 pandemic impacted on your business, especially in those months of total lockdown?
Beauty, fashion and entertainment were one of the few sectors that was adversely affected by the pandemic. Of course, fashion and beauty was the last on anyone’s mind when people were thinking of survival. The lockdown prevented all social gatherings. With people locked down at home, there was zero demand for our products. I had planned to expand our stores and offices, but we haven’t give up. The year 2021 is almost here, we keep grinding.
Entrepreneurship has its ups and down? What has been the most challenging moment for you and how did you overcome?
For my kind of business, what has been the most challenging is actually customer management as there are no two customers that are the same. Every customer has personal peculiarities, but I’ve been able to manage that aspect to a large extent through prompt customer service and effective service delivery.
How do you handle rejections as an entrepreneur?
As an entrepreneur, I don’t allow rejection in my business define me as unsuccessful. In fact, I don’t take it as a sign of anything other than it wasn’t the right opportunity.
You’re only unsuccessful if you give up. Plenty of successful entrepreneurs had setbacks and experienced rejection. Rejection is a sign you’ve put yourself out there. You can’t succeed if you don’t take a few risks
How have you been managing music and business?
The truth of the matter is that singing is a different career and so is entrepreneurship. I’m managing two careers and one is paying more than one. If you are an artiste and your only source of income is singing or modeling then you are still sleeping. I’m very active in both careers.
What lessons have you learnt on the job?
Dishonesty and pride do not pay. I can’t deal with anyone that portrays any bit of these attitudes. Even the Bible says, pride goes before a downfall.
Let’s compare when you started and now, what has changed?
I’m proud to be a Nigerian entertainer. We are going global; from Beyonce featuring our artistes in her album to other countless international collaborations.
Burna Boy got Grammy awards nomination. We are getting there. I love the vibe. It is very impressive.
What are some of the changes that you would like to see in the entertainment sector?
It is so sad that majority of Nigerians love lewd songs with good beats. They don’t care what the musician is singing, as long as the beat is danceable. So, if you’re doing good songs, Nigerians wouldn’t look your way, unless you join the trend to sing unpleasant and morally deficient lyrics. However, we need more ever green songs like those of Tuface Idibia, Sound Sultan, Onyeka Onwenu and the likes.
What’s the most unpleasant thing you have read or heard about yourself?
Very funny. I read on social media sometime ago that Annjay did cosmetic surgery on her boobs. It was so funny, because I have never thought of such. I am not against those that did oh or plan to, but surgery is a no no for me.
You are such a beautiful diva, are you romantic too?
Lol. With my full chest, I can say I am a very romantic lady.
What’s the most cherished part of your body?
My lips, my eyes and my boobs.
What do you do specially to maintain your sexy look?
As a model you all know and I must do everything possible to stay in shape. I eat right; more of vegetable, drink lots water and mind my business.
What is your definition of style?How would you access Nigerian designers?
Although, I haven’t worked with any Nigerian designer before, but that doesn’t mean we not going to work together in the future. I like Lanre Da Silva, Zizi Cardow and Mai Atafo.
I have international designers whom I wear their clothes, shoes, bags and perfume and haven’t met them personally before.
What are some of the items that you treasure most in your wardrobe?
High heels, jean trousers, wristwatch, and sunglasses. I like skinny dresses. Skinny jeans pants and sneakers, shorts and shirt. I always want to look very smart and simple despite being on the slim side.
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