Currently listening to the sound of peace
‘Started from a dm now we are here’ is the perfect way to describe the relationship between today’s Tip Thursday guest and myself. They say your vibe attracts your tribe and attracting such an amazing woman into my life made me feel so good about myself. Today our guest is going to be sharing with us on her journey from being a blogger to having her own business.
MEET OUR GUEST…
Her name is Chinju Nwankwo, she is a beauty, health and wellness enthusiast. She is a woman who hopes to promote economic development through entrepreneurship and in five years wants to have a tv show where she teaches how to successfully run a business. Chinju has lived in London, Florence, Washington D.C and NYC. When she isn’t blogging at http://www.attics.me, she is a commercial finance analyst at a multinational and founder of ColFragrances.
QUESTION 1 : HOW IS THE JOURNEY TO BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR?
The journey to being an entrepreneur has been beautiful! That doesn’t mean it has been without challenges but it’s great to see my ideas come to fruition. From different names to different logo designs, I look at my brand and I have complete control over what happens next! If I want to, I can decide to turn everything green tomorrow (I wouldn’t do that) but I love the creative freedom I have to take my vision where I want it to go. Fun fact: the first name I chose was “smell good company”. Lol, this is why you need to let things marinate as an entrepreneur until you’re satisfied. While I was working on COL, during the R&D phase someone else launched a new home fragrances brand which caught my eye. I was almost distraught but then I remembered something my fiancé had told me which is that when you’re thinking of something, chances are a couple other people are having the same thought and also working on it. So I focused on what makes COL different – for example the premium fragrance, the clean and minimal branding – and I kept pushing. Entrepreneurship teaches you a lot. I’m already a better negotiator (I won’t just pay for a service without negotiating because every naira counts), the process tested my patience when I had to move the launch date multiple times and of course I’ve learnt a new skill which I can teach others. Ultimately, I’m grateful that I can use all the part of my masters in management degrees in rubbing my business.
QUESTION 2 : HOW DID YOU DECIDE WHAT BUSINESS TO START?
There wasn’t a single point in time when I decided I was going to start a or multiple businesses. As a child, I always had one business idea or the other I wanted to execute “when I grow up”. Funny enough COL Fragrances wasn’t one of them. So when I moved back to Nigeria, while I was doing NYSC, I noticed a gap in the market. I like anything that smells good from candles and diffusers to lightly scented body scrubs. Starting COL Fragrances was a no brainer for me because it satisfies the immediate need for premium home-grown home fragrances and I also see it as a stepping stone to one of the first businesses I ever wanted – a spa.
QUESTION 3 : WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED?
Lol where do I start?!! Dealing with raw material vendors who are abroad, working with contractors in Nigeria who just never understand why your work has to be a certain standard and quality and also agencies like delivery companies who don’t take my business as seriously as I do. So for example little things like arriving at 12:30pm when I booked an 8am pickup just shows how annoying it is to deal with companies in Nigeria. I think the key to this though is building a relationship with these agencies so that when they see your order they take it personally as well. That’s something I’m working on but obviously good relationship take time:) Sourcing is a big challenge for me. Even thought COL is a small business, I treat it like an empire. I never compromise on quality even when that means using the ridiculous foreign exchange rates and paying a hefty charge for logistics. My end goal is that every single jar of COL’s scented candle and every bottle of fragrance oil is the best it can be.
QUESTION 4 : HOW DO YOU SOURCE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR BRAND?
I’m inspired by my passion for scents, my love for beautiful decor and luxury fragrance houses like diptyqe, nest and j o Malone.
QUESTION 5 : WHAT ADVICE WILL YOU GIVE SOMEONE STARTING OUT?
My biggest advice is for you to be passionate about your product. You need that fire burning for when things get tough because the road to entrepreneurship is seldom a straight path. When your goods get seized at the border and your formula isn’t working out but you have 20+ jars of test candles on your nightstand, you need to have a good reason to keep going and to stay up at night thinking of a solution. This is what will see you through!
Have a plan, unless writing business plans is one of your favorite past times, you’ll probably find this boring but trust me, it’s necessary. You’ll need it If you’re interested in getting investors and it’s a good reference for parts of your business like marketing and promotions. In the process of writing a plan you’ll also get a better idea of the market your trying to enter and what you can do differently .
A GAME OF CHINJU’S FAVORITES
SMELL : Oriental blossom by Col Fragrances – it smells like heaven!
COLOR : I love too many to pick- gold, mustard, white, black, burnt orange, pink , purple , navy blue.
QUOTE : Everything happens for a reason.
There you have it guys, I sincerely hope you’ve learnt from Chinju today as much as I did and a big thank you to everyone who left a comment on the last one saying I should continue posts like this, y’all make it easy for me. Can’t wait to see who we are going to have next week.
Did you find this post any helpful? Who would you like me to interview next and what topic will you want to learn more on? Do share your thoughts with me by leaving a comment below, thanks.