By HENRY OKONKWO
Jennifer Olejuru Anyanwu is a rare combination of beauty and brain. She does not belong to the clique of women who opt to sit at home to gossip and gloat over their prettiness. Rather, Jennifer chose to put her brains to work.
Despite her lack of no start-up capital, she was driven by her doggedness to build a brand out of her talents. She plunged head-on into entrepreneurship, with the firm resolve to carve a niche for herself in business and add value to society. Today, this beautiful mother of three is not regretting her move. Her flourishing make-up and cosmetic franchise-Face Craft has grown like the proverbial a corn which grows to become a giant oak. Face Craft is now a brand which has grown in size and strength becoming a huge source of livelihood for herself and her scores of staff. The company has also become a big platform that has trained, empowered and uplifted many people.
In this interview, Jennifer reveals the secret of how she grew her business with zero capital into a money spinning venture.
Tell us a little about your business
The name of my company is Face Craft. I’ve been in business for eight years now. It is our job as a beauty brand to ensure that our customers look beautiful. Our slogan is ‘Beauty personified’, and we produce different range of products which can help do that, ranging from our soaps, body creams, morning creams, facial toner and facial soaps. We differentiate between facial and body creams because the skin of the face is different from the skin of the body. But most people are not aware of this. They would just enter the market and buy any cream to apply all over their body. Some people are lucky nothing happens to them while some have skin burns and irritation because they are not using the right cream.
What type of training did you receive before starting up?
Producing beauty products is a natural gift and skill I have. But I realised that having natural skill isn’t just enough. So I went for more training in South Africa when I decided I was going full time into production of beauty products. I realised my competitors are so many and if you don’t know your onions in this line of business, you’ll lose out. I also do a lot of research for new ideas via the internet.
How has the journey been running your company in the past eight years?
It has grown. At least now, we can foot our bills. Initially, it used to be very difficult. We are trying but I believe we can still do better.
How do you cope with competition?
You have to be unique in your style. It is your uniqueness that attracts customers to you. I employ word-of-mouth technique. I urge my clients to tell their friends about my products. And I get calls and demands from different parts of the world.
Face Craft in the next 10 years?
It would be a household name because I have a big vision for this company. We look to do more products. We want to be a top brand in beauty and cosmetic circles. In fact, 10 years is too far.
At what point did you decide to become a beautician rather than practice the course you studied?
All my life I’ve always had plans to make people look beautiful. When I graduated from school, I went hunting for a job. But after six months I couldn’t land any job. I’m not a very patient person, so I delved into the passion. I started small and sourced for clients on the roads. Once I noticed a lady not looking too nice or wearing ill-fitting make-up, I would stop and introduce myself to them. I would then introduce my products to them and ask them to allow me to make them look prettier. I started from scratch but now I have thrived. Today I have two offices in Festac where I do business and train others.
Do you still nurse interest in going back to practice the course you studied?
No. Nothing can be compared to doing what you love. It is my passion to make women look beautiful and make products that take care of women’s skins. I cannot go back to practice Psychology. I think it would be a boring job for me to do now.
What do you enjoy most as an entrepreneur?
I see people wake up very early in the morning to rush off to work–it is something that I cannot do. I enjoy the freedom of entrepreneurship. I stay in the comfort of my home where one of my offices is situated, perform my duties as a wife, and mother and still earn my money. So it is more convenient for me and it allows me to give back to society. I’ve trained over 100 persons in the make-up business. I feel proud of myself.
What negative experience did you have when you were starting up?
For me, negative incidents spur me to work harder. There was a time I approached a woman to show her my products. But she snubbed me and told me off. But later she asked her friend about the products she’s using that is making her beautiful. And her friend referred her to my office.
What advice would you give to the countless applicants waiting for white collar jobs?
God created everybody with at least two or three talents. So start with that thing you are interested in doing. God said He blesses small beginnings and He would bless the works of your hands. I don’t think God made us to work for people. That is why He said, He would bless the works of our hands. So there must be something unique to you. Your talents would make a way for you.
I see people who don’t have anything doing as just being lazy because I walked on streets trying to get customers. When I see a woman with a blemish, I give her my cream to remove it and ask for a token, to make her my client. Many who saw me those days on the roads would tell me I am too pretty to be going through that stress. But I kept pushing my little business. I believe in hard work to take me higher in life. I aspire to build a business empire with every dint of hard work it would take.