Oreoluwa Peters sat down with Goodness Okwu as she talks about being the CEO of Stylenest International, one of the leading hair extension brands in Nigeria.
Tell us who you are and what you are doing?
I’m Goodness Okwu, a wife, a mother, an Accountant by profession and a Fashion Entrepreneur. I’m also the CEO of Stylenest International. Stylenest International is a Marketing Company which deals in the promotion and sales of 100% Human Hair Extensions, Wigs and Hair Care Products. We have been in business for almost five years now.
Well, first let’s sort of go back and get some background. How did you start the business and how did you manage to grow it?
Like I said earlier, the name of the business is Stylenest International. Our focus was to bring out the beauty in African women irrespective of their age, social status or religion. We wanted the best for women. We wanted total hair care package for our women. So after several marketing research, we came to the conclusion that Stylenest will be the ideal name for the business because we wanted an environment where woman will come in and feel comfortable and get quality hair care treatment. Simply put, Stylenest as the name implies is a home of style; a home for the woman of style and beauty. Since we commence business, am happy to say that we have brought smile on the faces of so many women in and out of Nigeria.
When did you start the business?
Officially we started about five (5) years ago; Stylenest International was born out of desire to transform every lady from normal and plain to a fashionable diva. Again as an entrepreneur, I ventured into the business so as to make profit; so profit was also at the back of our mind when we initially commenced operations here in Nigeria but then, to me it was a fulfillment that I could finally make woman, regardless of their age, class and social status beautiful and happy. I’m a woman and i’m proud to be a woman. I’m proud to promote womanhood. I like seeing women look good, I like seeing women of all ages appear trendy and fashionable. I’m not saying it must be expensive in order to be trendy, no that’s not the case here. Basically, you can work within your budget and look trendy.
Believe this or not, our appearance speaks volume about who we are. A woman is a total package. When i’m talking about total package here, i’m referring to who we are both inside and outside. The hair of a woman also speaks volume about the woman. So we established Stylenest International to cater for the hair needs of women. This was the reason why in 2011, we launched Stylenest International to help bring home quality hair extensions to women not just in Nigeria alone but across the African continent.
Do you sell only in Lagos or nationwide?
Our hair extensions, wigs and hair care products are sold nationwide and outside Nigeria. With help of new media, we showcase our products to our clients.
What is your average price range?
Price range? Well, our products are not cheap but it’s very affordable. It caters for people depending on your budget. We provide our service to everyone, women of all ages and class. We have celebrity clients, we have working class women. We also provide home delivery nationwide for these products as well. This makes it easier for us to reach everyone. We also have our seasonal sales promotions which afford every woman a chance to get hair and hair care products that are within their budget.
Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Yes I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Even while I was working with a Multinational company several years back, I didn’t find fulfillment in it because I have always being a trendy person. I believe in creativity and style. A woman is supposed to have style, poise and taste and since our mission is to provide women a trendy urban feel, we decide to go with the name Stylenest. This is a nest where style and trendiness has come to rest. Am aware that you know so well the story of the eagle and its nest and how the eagle does everything possible to protect its children. Like I said at the onset, am a mother and as a mother, we do all it takes to protect our children. So, in Stylenest International, we pride ourselves as being the custodian of style and trend in the business of hair extension, products and salon services.
How do you market your brand?
Basically, we use the new media. Online marketing; we use facebook, Instagram, twitter, our website and other social media platforms and with the help of media outfits like yours, we believe that our story will reach more women. Currently, we are running a campaign called; Your lover’s Hair Choice promotion. It’s a social media campaign which allows women to visit our Facebook page and state in clear teams the kind of hair extension they want to wear in this month of love and at the end of the week, the Stylenest team visit the city with the highest number of likes and comments on the Stylenest Facebook page and provide them with our products. The campaign is targeted at major cities in Nigeria, namely; Abuja, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Aba, Calabar, Owerri, Benin, Warri and Asaba. Clients are also free to walk into any of our outlets, namely; Stylenest International Head Office is located at Plot 1673 Oyin Jolayemi Str., Victoria Island Lagos, we have outlets in Ghana and South Africa and we also have branches in Ikeja and Okota.
Where do you see yourself in the next ten years?
We look forward to having our own hair line and will also be the market leaders in hair and hair care products. We also plan on having more branches in major cities in Nigeria before the end of this year. Like I mentioned initially, we want to give every woman a beautiful stylish look that’s why we want to be situated in as many locations as possible.
What piece of advice would you give entrepreneurs trying to start a business?
The major advice is for them to be focused. Define what you really want to do. The zeal and passion should be there. Hard work pays and if you have a good support system, then you are some steps close to the trophy. My Husband and children have been so helpful to me. They are my support structure; they have been there for me, in my travels, late night and busy schedule. They encouraged me when I’m weak, and help me to see the big picture. My kids understand too. So I’ve kept some days aside to attend to them, eat out with them and go on vacations with them when the time is right. So if you are focused, determined and hardworking, certainly the other things will come through.