Bad hair is bad business -Chinelo Ikeme, CEO MyHair Ltd.
Chinelo Ikeme is from a family of business men and women. After working as a marketer in the banking sector for years, she quit her job to set up MyHair Ltd. With the experience she had garnered as a banker, she now serves her customers diligently with the aim to please, get referrals and increase goodwill. She told Feminine World that she set up her business because she wasn’t fulfilled in the banking sector anymore.
Why did you leave your job at the bank to sell human hair?
I was not fulfilled anymore. It was quite monotonous doing the same thing year after year. I changed jobs thinking I would achieve versatility but banking, especially as a marketer is all about meeting targets and sucking up to your bosses. My aim was to start a viable business whilst working in the bank. So, I started the quest. Initially, I tried my hands on kiddies’ party events which was not successful because I couldn’t put in enough time.
So when I stumbled upon an Indian hair seller in a mall in Lagos who encouraged me to go into the hair business, I grabbed the opportunity despite my initial hesitation. After the Indian man relocated, I had to get other sources for authentic hair supply and when my customer base grew significantly, I took the leap, resigned, set up MyHair Ltd and the rest is history.
What do you love most about being your own boss?
I love the versatility of strategizing, making business decisions, putting those decisions to work and watching them come alive. I love the joy of success from my hard work and the ability to reinvest. I love the smile my products and services put on customers’ faces and the refferrals that follow. I love the fact that I’m working my head off tirelessly and it’s fruitful.
Have you always had this flair for business in you?
Yes. I knew deep within me that I would eventually do my own thing. I come from a family of business men and women. I grew up watching, learning and being schooled by my dad in business. After he passed on, my mum continued running the family business and moved it to greater heights. I am presently the financial director in the family business and I must confess that I bagged this position because of the experience I garnered as a banker for several years in addition to being a banking and finance graduate. So the knowledge I gained as a banker is not a waste.
In what ways have your banking experience helped your business?
My banking experience has helped me immeasurably. My experience as a marketer and a customer service person helps me drive my business with the same zeal I had as a banker and enables me serve my customers diligently with the aim to please, get referrals and increase goodwill.
What are some of the challenges you faced during this transition from banking to selling hair?
The greatest challenge I faced when I started MyHair Ltd was building customer confidence in my brand. Another challenge was inconsistent and unreliable hair supply. Customer expectations must be met at all times and once your products or services fall below average, customers get discouraged. So, my team and I had to be on our toes all the time.
Where do you source for the hairs you sell?
I source for hair from different countries. I have wonderful and dedicated hair sources that are committed to sourcing for authentic, pure and unadulterated hair all over the world. I must first sample them to ensure their quality and durability and certify them okay before I commence sales.
What kind of woman would wear your hair?
Any woman who likes looking good would wear MyHair Ltd hair. Most especially, every woman who believes in getting good value for money will certainly wear our hair.
Who are your mentors?
God almighty is my ultimate mentor. My husband and my mum are my mentors too.
How lucrative is this hair business?
The hair business is only as lucrative as the quality of the hair you sell. Good hair is lucrative but bad hair is bad business.
What three things must an entrepreneur do in order to build a lasting brand?
An entrepreneur must be honest in all her business dealings. You must always maintain best quality products and services and you must put your customers first.
Do you have any last words?
I will encourage everyone to be committed and dedicated in every endeavor they embark on whether big or small.