Sleek Studio Nigeria, a company sells, promotes and market Sleek Make up, a colour cosmetic brand with the head office in the United Kingdom. We are also involved in the sales and marketing of our company owned Skin care line, Sleek Studio, which was formulated to address all the needs of ethnic skin especially in the tropical environment. Dr. Ebele Ugochukwu, CEO, Sleek Studio tells Business Africa Online how the company has since evolved from a boutique selling only Sleek makeup & Hair to include the skin care range, skin care therapy, real estate, Sleek bar and grill. Excerpt.
Kindly tell us about Sleek Studio Nigeria. What do you do exactly?
I am the Managing Director of Sleek Studio Nigeria Ltd. Our company sells, promotes and market Sleek Make up, a colour cosmetic brand with the head office in the United Kingdom. We are also involved in the sales and marketing of our company owned Skin care line, S.Studio, which was formulated to address all the needs of ethnic skin especially in the tropical environment. Being a Medical Doctor with a Diploma in dermatology, we also offer skin consultations, seminars on good skin care practices, medico-cosmetic treatments and facials. We also have a team of makeup artists who offer make up application services for weddings, parties, photo shoots, etc.
What is the idea or motivation behind starting Sleek Studio Nigeria?
After securing the sole distributorship in Nigeria for Sleek make up &Sleek hair from UK, we came up with the concept of stand alone boutique selling only Sleek makeup & hair thus Sleek Studio was born. The company has since evolved to include the skin care range, skin care therapy, real estate, Sleek bar and grill.
How have you been able to transcend from Medicine to running a hair, skin and beauty therapy company?
During my internship, I considered various sub disciplines that would still give me enough personal time for other pursuits. I then noticed that there were very few Cosmetic Dermatologists in Nigeria so I decided to take advantage of this gap, that is how my interest in Skin care, Skin therapy and Makeup got started.After obtaining my Post Graduate Diploma in Dermatology, the opportunity for the sole distributorship of Sleek make up presented itself and the rest evolved from there.
What sustainable strategies have helped you navigate the challenging business environment in Nigeria?
One of the biggest challenges in selling a product in Nigeria is counterfeiting (fakers) and our marketing strategy of independent distributors and franchises has gone a long way in helping us mitigate the effects of the fakers on the business. Fake products is a clear and present danger in business in Nigeria, so our distribution network has made it possible for us to let the consumers know how to obtain authentic products, in other words, not being in the open market has proven to be an invaluable strategy.
What do you like being a business owner and an entrepreneur?
First of all, I like being in charge of my time and I like the process of coming up with ideas for marketing a product. I also like interacting with people and disseminating what knowledge I have regarding skin care and cosmetics. I like the challenge that being a business owner presents; your brain never shuts off. You are constantly mentally looking for solutions to problems, coming up with ideas, thinking in the long term while at the same time keeping your eyes on the short term goals.
Where do you see Sleek Studio Nigeria in the next 5 years? Any plans beyond Nigeria?
Fortunately for us, Nigeria is an entrepreneurs dream due to our share number in population. It is and will always be a challenge to conquer Nigeria in and of itself. We are yet to corner even 10% of the Nigerian market, so we are not looking beyond Nigeria as of now.
In 5 years, I want Sleek Studio to be even better known in Nigeria and become a trusted resource for anything Skin related.
What is the future of hair and beauty therapy industry in Nigeria?
The hair and beauty industry has grown in leaps and bounds over the last 10 years with so many home grown cosmetic brands popping up and so many well known established western brands setting up offices in Nigeria. With the internet, the Nigerian consumer has become more mature and exacting, so the industry is becoming highly developed. We still have a way to go but the growth has been impressive so far. In the future, the industry is going to be quite huge because Nigerian women are unarguably the biggest concentration of fashionable black women on the planet.
Advice for young aspiring women entrepreneurs in Nigeria?
Keep your dream alive whatever it maybe, never give up, stay focused and work towards your goal daily. Any decision you need to make today always ask yourself how does this affect your 5 year or 10 year plan.