The business of looking good is one which cuts across every sphere of human interaction with increasing attention being given beauty and attraction. Beauty consultant, Ojoma Sule, who is popularly known as the ‘Minister For Happiness’, has made a name for herself in the country and beyond in the business of beauty and fashion. She speaks with SEGUN ADEBAYO on the premium of beauty, struggles during the pandemic and her passion for human development, among other issues.
They say that to look beautiful should not cost a lot but we see how people spend a fortune on beauty routines. What is your take on this?
I can say that beauty has evolved beyond what some still take it to be. Now, we have personalised products, enhanced research on skincare and improved manufacturing processes. More so, beauty also involves jewellery, stones, and exotic accessories. So, while it depends on what a customer wants, beauty could be worth a fortune now.
Considering the havoc that has been wrought this year by the pandemic and many in your industry reportedly going under, how has your business managed to stay afloat?
Due to the economic and financial fragility caused by the pandemic, it has been one step at a time with a lot of optimism. Staying afloat has been down to our diversification. Posharella has other arms which include Posharella Gems, where I design jewellery from precious stones and trade in gold, silver and diamonds. There is Posharella Design where I produce a luxury line of exotic leather goods. So, all our eggs have not been in one basket and each business face has been complementing the other.
You are one of the most respected beauty specialist brands in the country and beyond. How were you able to place yourself ahead of the pack?
When I started out 13 years ago, there were not many personalized varieties of beauty products, especially at the local level. I was able to leverage on this and people kept taking note with keen interest. In the same vein, I researched per time what was going on in the world of beauty and fashion and tailored products to meet those specific demands. Once products meet needs, customers will be willing to spend their money.
There must have been a whole of options to choose from when you wanted to go into business. What inspired your decision to go into the beauty business?
Growing up, my parents and family members loved to self-groom. They were very conscious of their appearance, so, my eyes got opened to the consciousness of beauty. I embraced it and here I am today.
Growing a brand can be quite challenging, especially in a country like Nigeria. What were the challenges you faced?
As you know, the beauty and skincare market has always been competitive and it remains a fast-growing industry. Years ago when I started Posharella Beauty, there weren’t a lot of people in the business of manufacturing beauty products in Nigeria. People only believed in international brands. So, it took a lot of self-marketing and transparency to become a recognised brand. I overcame through consistency and staying true to my customers’ desires.
Away from the beauty business, you also have a foundation which caters for the underprivileged. What drove you into starting one?
My mission for Posharella Life Foundation is to create a better life, society and world. I am driven to help people, aid the development and empowerment of communities, reduce child-bearing mortality and contribute my quota to eradicating poverty. In short, my definition of impact and achievement is to make a difference in the world and to be given the opportunity to change lives positively.
You talked about opening up new fronts for your business. What new things should be expected from Posharella?
We are venturing into having a clothing line. In line with our ‘total beauty’ objective, there will also be Posharella market which will be for sales of products such as home accessories, antiques, paintings and more. So, as coronavirus continues to wind down, people can expect to be blown away.
As an expert, what would you say is the key to beauty and fashion?
Simple. Happiness. Nothing beats that. That’s why I am known as ‘Oj Posharella’, the honourable minister for happiness. Be happy in every situation you find yourself. Also, sleep well, eat well and of course use beauty products.
As a consultant and manufacturer of fashion products, what inspires your sense and judgment of fashion and style?
I am a Nigerian woman. So, naturally, I have an elevated sense of fashion and style. I also grew up in the northern part of Nigeria, Kaduna State precisely. That influenced my style. Fashion, for me, must not be complicated, it should come naturally. Clothes and fashion accessories should excite you and not trouble you.
Given the many fronts you manage in your business and the attendant stress, how do you unwind?
I do lots of travelling around the world, for both business and pleasure. I also enjoy trying exotic cuisines, meditating and spending quality time with family and friends.
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