#MyHustle: Fatima Ayefu on Running a Successful Organic Beauty & Lifestyle Business
Welcome to our first ever edition of #MyHustle. #MyHustle is a weekly column that will feature professionals small business owners across various industries. We’ll ask them what it feels like to walk their shoes, their challenges and advice to other entrepreneurs. This week we feature Fatima Ayefu. Fatima is a trained beauty formulator who runs debellezartlife, an organic beauty business where she creates healthy and ethical products. She also offers classes for those who want to start an organic beauty business and has authored a book on starting and running a successful beauty business. She has worked in fashion, beauty and retail spaces and shares some of her wisdom with us.
Tell us a bit about your background and what laid the ground for starting an organic cosmetics business?
I’ve been formulating natural cosmetics for 10 years. I attended the School of Natural Skincare, Formula Botanica and Makeup academy where I expanded my knowledge base. I obtained a Bachelors degree from Covenant University, Otta and a Masters degree from The University of West London, UK.
I’d like to think growing up in northern Nigeria mostly prepared me for my current business. I grew up creating a lot of beauty recipes for myself. From simple honey + lemon face masks to talc powders to nail shiners and soaps. Everything!! My beauty products were 80% DIY.
When did you know it was the right time to go into your business?
I started getting a lot of requests from people at the office where I worked at the time to share my skincare regimen/products with them. I made for them and kind of took off from there. I saw a ready market and thought “why not now?”
How has your business grown?
To be honest, most of my growth/success has come from surrounding myself with the right people. Of courses, there have been trainings and workshops and seminars that I’ve attended over the years but nothing (almost) beats being surrounded by the right people. Build your network!
What’s your typical work day and work week like?
A typical work day will involve production. Making of scrubs and butters and all. A busy week will include market runs and delivery runs. I also spend a minimum of 1 hour daily on various online trainings.
What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?
My greatest challenge right now is the accessibility of raw materials and packaging. A lot of the raw materials I use aren’t easily accessible. A good number of the materials are sourced internationally and this has financial implications.
If your business were to get a cash boost, how much would you need and what would you do?
I’d get some raw materials, a camera and some packaging. N2.5m for starters will be nice.
Are you happy with the current phase your business is in?
Well, I’m more grateful than happy (not like I’m unhappy). I’m grateful for the growth I’ve experienced and grateful for all the lessons I’ve learnt and I’m still learning.
What would you tell anyone hoping to get into your line of business/ career path?
First and foremost, you really have to be sure this is what you want to do. Next, get proper training and never stop the learning process. There’s always something to learn especially in the world of beauty. New products, new ingredients, new methods. There’s always something to learn.
How can we find your business online?
Our social media handle is @debellezartlife on all social media platforms.
Editors’ Note: I need your help. Feedback is a gift, and we’ll be more than grateful to hear from you. Are there questions you’d like us to ask future featured business owners/ professionals? When would you like to read this post? Mondays? Wednesdays? I look forward to reading your opinions in the comments. Thank you.