Running a business in Nigeria is not for the faint-hearted – Asamaigor
Joan O. Asamaigor, is an entrepreneur and the creative head of Jbronze brand located in Lagos. She shares her journey into the beauty business in this interview.
Tell us about your background and how it all started?
I am a christian, from Ugheli north in Delta State, the second child from a family of seven.
My early years were spent shuttling between Lagos and the north. I was born in Lagos and raised in the north, returned to Lagos for my secondary school education and then returned to University of Abuja for my tertiary education. I have a B.Sc in Economics and Statistics and a diploma certification in Events Management from the University of Georgia, Atlanta, United States of America. I also have a certification for hands on training on microblading and everything eyelash.
I’ll like to think of myself as an all-round entrepreneur and business woman.
How did your background shaped you into becoming a successful entrepreneur?
I spent the early years of my life with my grandmother. My grandmother was a trader. I learnt everything i know about business from her. she was the most industrious woman on the planet. She had trucks in which she bought cows from Kano and transported them to Lagos for sale. That was how i grew up in the north. I learnt honesty, contentment, diligence and hardwork. That was why when i started Jbronze hair, i wasn’t going to limit it to just hair, we now have our own Lash line and also our line of contact lenses in the market.
Tell us about your brand and what makes your brand different from other brands?
The Jbronze brand is a luxury brand that pays attention to details, sincerity, originality and is customer-friendly. We keep in contact with our clients and follow them throughout their hair journey. We are easy to access and we are online 24 hours a week. We put in place a good return and feedback policy, giving our clients good value for their money. We also focus on packaging and branding. Our products are well packaged. We know our clients value that and our packaging also influences our sales. Our customer service is top notch, we ensure that no complaint (both online and offline) goes unresolved. We interact with each client individually, no copy and paste questions and answers. We attend to clients according to their individual needs. We also educate our clients on product care, what works, what suits them and how to care for their purchase. We also have loads of videos educating our clients about our products. We treat everyone as a potential customer, no segregation.
How would you describe the hair business in Nigeria?
The hair business is an emerging market, very competitive, but there’s always room for your own clients. Since it is in the beauty industry, we move with the tides and it has its seasons, but we have a wonderful set of loyal customers that keep us in the market.
How long have you been in business?
Jbronze brand has been consistent in the market for three years now. We started out a while back and stopped and then resumed fully about three years ago, when we opened our outlet in Lagos, and we have been on the move since. We launched our lash line called Lashed by Jbronze in July 2018 and also started our line of contact lenses in August 2019. We are now a one-stop beauty salon.
What would you say are the challenges faced by entrepreneurs in Nigeria?
Running a business in Nigeria is not for the faint-hearted, the challenges are endless, sometimes it gets really frustrating and tough. Should we talk about the exchange rate and how unstable it is under this our economy. Or if we talk about the poor infrastructure, especially electricity, it’s disheartening to see how much small business spend running generators monthly. Duty fee is also not so favourable, because we have our clients outside the shores of this country, getting our goods to them is not also very cheap. There’s also the issue of multiple taxation and credit facilities are difficult to access, even when they are, they come with high interest rates and short term payment.
What are your major accomplishments as an entrepreneur?
One will be that I was able to build this brand out of a hobby, I started shopping for hair as a hobby and now it has become a big brand. Also, we expanded our outlets to different cities for easy accessibility, we are now in Canada, Accra, Abuja, Warri and Port Harcourt.
Who motivates you to be better?
First would be my mummy, I call her my Déjà vu. She wants me to be better and does everything to make me better. She always tells me that once I put my mind to something, I will definitely get good results. Secondly I will say, the woman on the street that wears any of our products and feels beautiful on the inside and out, the fact that our product can put a smile on someone’s face, that makes us do more daily, that, to us is enough motivation as a brand.
What is your fashion statement?
Style is self expressive. My style is simple and classy. I believe beauty is pain, and there’s nothing too expensive or too beautiful for me.
Which international and local magazine is your favorite?
Locally, I would say This Day Style. I get my weekly dose of style feed from them, and on the foreign scene, I’ll say british Vogue and Elle Magazine.
What is your advice for young entrepreneurs who are looking up?
Entrepreneurship is not easy. So, don’t give up, even when things are tough. Keep pushing, keep moving forward. Surround yourself with like minded people and success driven people, good association helps you achieve more. Find a mentor, this will keep you focus and accountable along your journey. Look out for bad reviews, you’ll know where your mistakes are from. Be positive, be sociable and network. Be about your brand everywhere, speak, wear your brand and talk your brand. Never be too scared to start small, Amazon started from a small office and now is one of the biggest online platforms. Rome was not built in a day. Live within your means and learn to save. Never spend more than you earn. Listen more, that’s why we have two ears and one mouth. Upgrade your skills, look out for new things and focus. Learn to create time for your self, health is wealth.
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