She’s fair, good looking and cheerful with a great sense of style. She plays a prominent role as the head of all women in her husband’s hometown. Asides this, she’s the CEO of Rubies & Pink, Lekki and recently, she added another feather to her cap. In this interview Chika Acholonu reveals more about herself and her new passion.
By Christy Anyanwu
Can you tell us more about yourself?
I’m Chika Acholonu. I’m married to Igwe Patrick Acholonu. He’s the Igwe of Orlu, in Imo State. I attended Federal Government Girls College, Abuloma in Port Harcourt and thereafter, I went to America and enrolled at the University of Maryland where I studied Physiology and Neuro Biology. I obtained my masters degree in Public Health at George Washington University. I worked in the United States for a few years before I came back to Nigeria. I have always wanted to be a businesswoman. I’ve never worked in any company in Nigeria. I incorporated my business here in Nigeria about ten years ago.
Before Rubies & Pink, what were you doing?
Aside the aforementioned, I got married and shortly after, I incorporated Rubies & Pink. I was resilient and passionate and this has kept me in business. It’s not easy to do business in Nigeria. It’s very easy to be discouraged.
What does style mean to you?
I have always liked clothes and anything fashionable.
I don’t care about the label. I know people like gold and diamonds but that’s not really me. I like simple things but I like it to be wow as well.
Did you meet your husband in the United States of America?
No, but I lived in America for about ten years. While I lived in America he lived in Nigeria, but then he came to the US to visit his aunt and somehow we met. We’ve kind of seen each other but we didn’t know each other because I was away for a long time. He came to the same city where I was residing and then from there we just hit it off and he was coming quite often. When we decided to get married, I moved back to, Nigeria in 2002. He wasn’t an Igwe at that time, he was a young man in his mid-thirties. He became Igwe in 2009 after his late dad passed away.
When you knew you were getting married to an Igwe, how did you feel?
He was a young man of 35 years and we have been married for about eight years before he became the Igwe.
So you are Lolo, do you have any role to play traditionally?
I’m actually an Ugwueze. Specifically, I’m the head of the women in our kindred in Orlu. I’m supposed to be the mother figure, though I don’t go home as often as he does. We are a young family and our kids are pretty young. We decided that he travels frequently and I stay with the kids here in Lagos. I visit home when I really need to when there’s a very important thing to do over there. Otherwise, I visit home on holidays.
What has life taught you?
I know you just have to follow your passion, work hard and anything I think up in my head and I feel it’s going to work, I try not to tell anybody about it, I just go ahead and do it. I don’t want anybody to stop me from doing it . I just make sure I work hard. Just follow your passion and everything will be okay.
What’s your favourite colour?
I like black and purple. I just love black, you can see my OUD majestic shop and the whole thing about it is black and gold. We wanted a situation where you come in and you feel you are shopping in an Arabian shop. I do some interior decorations too.
What’s that thing you cannot do without?
I’ve always loved perfumes. Since I started using OUD seven years ago, I can’t use anything that’s not OUD. It’s got to have an OUDs scent in it and I have actually introduced a lot of people to it. Each time I travel, if I bring in 200 bottles, I sell them all and more people want it, so I just decided to turn it into a bigger business. I’m very excited about the venture and that’s why I want to go on online. My customers can pay online. I stock low range, mid range and high range OUD. There’s something for everyone.
How do you relax?
I like to relax in my bedroom and burn my candles. I don’t usually have time to relax but if I must relax at all, I relax at home, burn my fragrances and stay with my children. I go out once in a while but I limited my going out to special occasions, because I have so much going on and I spend my spare time resting.
Can you tell us the motivation for your brand ?
OUD Majestic is an online store exclusively offering Arabian perfume and any exotic oils and scent. It’s not just about oil and perfumes, we stock body butters, incense, talcum, etc.I was doing it on a smaller scale but people have actually opened up to it. The fragrances are lovely,very rich and they last long and anytime you’re outdoors you get a lot of attention. Around the world, all designers now have OUD lines. If you go to any perfume shop anywhere abroad, designers now have an OUD line. It’s no longer a strictly Arabian or Islamic thing. It’s more westernized now. It’s all about very rich fragrances. What we have done is that we partnered with about five different companies in the United Arab Emirate and they have a wide range of products including perfumes, oils, deodorants etc. There’s something for everyone in our shop including children.