Nkechi Sarah Ahanor-Wilson: I started Cacosa Hair to boost women’s confidence
Driven by the passion to find lasting solutions to some of the beauty problems women experience, Canadian businesswoman, Nkechi Sarah Ahanor-Wilson started Cacosa Hair, an award-winning luxury brand. As a leading beauty care manufacturer who has leveraged consultative selling strategies that build relationships across all target markets, she has built a reputable brand with deep knowledge of marketing campaigns and implementation.
The successful entrepreneur and women’s advocate has been able to employ creativity and use her analytical mind to seamlessly transition her hair brand and beauty products into a remarkable global brand.
With over 10 years of experience, the CEO of Shoreline Pacific International is equally impacting the lives of women in Canada through her humanitarian project, The Empowered Woman Summit, a platform that empowers and educates women on how to use innovative technology and hands-on skill set training.
The super mom of three and a devoted wife is committed to making the world a better place through her business and projects.
In this exclusive interview with ESTHER IJEWERE, the mother of three and devoted wife shares her inspiring journey and commitment to helping women facing hair challenges.
Growing up as a child was tough, because my parents separated and my mum also passed on. I grew up overnight; I started preparing myself for life’s journey. It brought out and boosted the entrepreneurship spirit in me, even as a child. At a tender age, I ventured into business. I was actually in secondary school when I started doing business; I made pastries like buns, chin-chin and the likes. I started selling it as a student to my fellow schoolmates. Entrepreneurship is something that has been in me. Growing up, I engaged in other things and realised that business pays.
The Inspiration Behind Cacosa Hair
The inspiration behind Cacosa Hair is a painful one. I started it while I was in pains; I started losing my hair at some point due to health reasons. I got depressed with my edges falling off; the only option I had was to start wearing a wig. While wearing wigs, I got my confidence back. With my hair falling off, and people avoiding touching my hair, it began to get to me, but with the wigs, I began to feel more comfortable and confident.
This inspired me to assist other women gain their confidence back. This is the major reason I introduced medical wigs for those suffering hair loss, people who have alopecia. When they are having chemotherapy, it causes them to lose their hair.
The Empowered Woman Summit And Its Impact Since Inception
I gave birth to this initiative when I went to business school. I realised back in business school that a lot of women have great business ideas but all they needed was funding. Taking this into consideration, I thought to myself if there was another woman who needed funding. That was how I created the platform.
We started supporting people during COVID-19 in 2020 and we have made some giant strides and progress. Moving forward, I intend to make it a proper foundation.
Lessons Learned As An Entrepreneur, Mother, And Humanitarian
I have learnt to keep my mind open as an entrepreneur. Once you are an entrepreneur, there should be room for losses, tears, and pain. You should just keep your mind open, because as an entrepreneur, you must see and experience these things.
Furthermore, as an entrepreneur, you must have passion for your business. It’s not just because you want to make money, but also because you have passion for it. At times, I just feel like packing up and closing down these businesses, but I get up every day and put in my best.
In addition, as a mother, I have come to realise that every mother should be another child’s mother. I look out for all the mothers; other mothers might be looking for their children. Looking out for these mothers, you are looking for their children as well. Humanitarian work has taught me the importance of intentional kindness and the joy of touching lives and lighting the path of others. If it were something you have passion for, you would do it without forcing it.
Three Women Who Inspire Me And Why
Funmilayo Namabiri, the owner of Funmi Hair UK. Where I am today is based on her support. She is the only one that gave me a listening ear when I started. One of her pieces of advice was the goal of growing my brand to a certain extent that I can now have purely Cacosa Hair and no one is going to take that from me.
Ibukun Awosika is one woman I admire so much. As an entrepreneur, you want to be connected to people who can bring out the best in you. We studied one of her books at the Business School. There is no time when I listen to her speak that something positive does not come into my mind.
The third person is Michelle Obama. I have watched her life as the First Lady of the United States of America. As a black woman, I discovered that her strength was above and beyond. One thing I like about her is her humility; she is homely and doesn’t look down on people.
My Work-Life Balance Routine
I love work and so do not have anything to do except improve my business. I have a lot on my plate, so, most of the time, I am busy with work. I create bonding time with my family and spend my free time with a few people that I call close friends. I also love travelling, having fun, wining and dining.
One Thing I Wish To Change In The Beauty Industry
I think the drive for originality. I have come to realise that in the beauty industry, we have a lot of copycats. We have a lot of people trying to be like another person. We want their initiative, but do not have an understanding of how they were able to develop their brand. Give people their money’s worth; genuine products and quality should not be compromised.
People should see value in the cash they exchange for a product. For instance, if someone wants the original product, you should be able to buy and sell authentic products for the customer; this is where your passion comes into play. If you have passion for what you are doing, you will understand that the beauty industry is more like a creative industry. That is why my hashtag is called ‘beautifying queens.’ That zeal for originality is not what a lot of people have; most are in the beauty industry just to make money.
Challenges Of Being A Business Owner
I am a woman who has experienced losses in business, like lots of them. I lost my shipment in transit recently and lost a huge amount of money; I had to refund the customers’ money. Some of them were impatient and others were patient; I had to appeal to them. What transpired could make a business fold up. One thing that keeps me grounded is my passion for my work. I don’t let challenges weigh me down; I learn the lessons and keep moving.
Being A Woman Of Rubies
What makes me an outstanding and unique woman is taking care of other people’s children. I look out for other people’s kids. I am that woman to whom God has shown mercy; I have been fortunate and I love to share love and spread light wherever I go, especially with children.
My brand, Cacosa means so much to me. Kindness and empathy are two techniques I have deployed to draw people’s attention to my business, and my circle. If I realise that someone does not have empathy, we can’t be friends. I put a lot of emotions into my business because of my passion. The thing that distinguishes me from other brands is my approach to customers. I am intentional about building healthy relationships with my customers and I love to see the smile on their faces; it makes me happy.