Oyin Onarinde is trailblazer in the beauty Industry.
Oyin is the CEO of Ewa Hair and Beauty Supply Limited.
She attended Sanit Leo’s Primary School Ikeja and her Secondary school education was at Saint Michael’s model college.
Her First degree was at University of Lagos
and while second degree is from University of Dallas, Texas.
In this Interview with Oyinlola Sale, Oyin Onarinde unravels the opportunities in the Beauty Industry in Nigeria.
Now, what is the story behind the creation of Ewa Hair and Beauty Supply Limited?
Ewa started as a side business back in my Master’s days in Texas,USA, which later grew to a full-time business for me. I had the vision to run a Global business, a beauty empire. I sat down in my living room one day and a
name was inspired to me EWA which means beauty in Yoruba language in Nigeria.
Fast forward to now, Ewa Hair and Beauty is into all things hair and beauty services.
Compare and Contrast the Hair industry in Nigeria, what has changed?
Yes, a lot has changed. As we all know fashion changes over time just as the fact
people’s needs and demands change over time. I was one of the first that started
importing human hair from abroad for close friends and family. At the time synthetic hair was flooding the market and people wanted better hair quality and a more stylish products was in high demand. The demand for hair wigs also sky rocketed women now like to spend less time in the salon. Also, women with hair loss conditions are also in high demand for hair extensions and wigs.
What does it take to set up a hair business like Ewa Hair and Beauty Supply, Is it Capital intensive?
Doing business just like Ewa Hair business is capital intensive because currently we run the business as an wholesaler and retailer we work directly with hair factories, which requires high demand of products quantity. We have also expanded to hair salon and beauty services. For those that are looking into hair business you can start small and begin to expand gradually.
In the hair industry, many have complained about infiltration of fake products, what can be done to reduce it in the market?
Unfortunately, in the hair extension supply its very distinct either the hair you supply is fake or original. Now when it comes to quality hair products it can be differentiated into various categories. For example in human hair supply we have Human hair, Remy hair, Virgin hair, which is the one-donor hair quality. Hair can be sourced from various Asian countries, Lebanon and even Russia.
As a woman with so many responsibilities, How do you start your day?
It’s a lot of work everyday for me. As we all know women’s economic empowerment boosts productivity, income equality in addition to other positive development outcomes. I start my everyday with a prayer. I get my kids ready for the day and off to work.
How did you manage to financing this business in it’s early days?
It wasn’t a bed full of roses. I started EWA HAIR as a side business with very little stock. I was always posting in different platforms to gain customers until later when I was able to gather some money to open a store.
What were some of your biggest fears, when you started this business.
I had lots of ideas, some close friends called my ideas crazy. But, I’m glad some of my ideas turned out great! Not having enough funding is a major problem in starting a business in Nigeria our local banks are not flexible or willing to help financially at all. But one thing I learnt was a slow and steady process of building a business may be the best thing for startups.
So what are some of the challenges you face when running this business?
Founder dependence was one of the challenge. Most customers want me around before they can purchase. A business owner should not create a situation in which the business could not continue in their absence. Also there should be a balance combining working long hours and business success.
Now, what makes EWA HAIR unique from other hair brands?
Our hair products are strategically sourced at Ewa Hair and Beauty Limited Quality hair products is what really matters to our brand. We don’t sell hair products for the sake of selling or because we want to make profits. We want our clients to still wear our hair products for as many years as possible. Most especially, our priority is to build a brand you can Trust and a reliable for all your hair and beauty needs.
Tell us about a highly difficult period where you probably thought of giving up and how you overcame it.
During the COVID-19 in 2020 I almost felt like changing into another line of business. Everywhere was shut down our factories across the globe was shut down and I couldn’t travel. I started to think on trying digital marketing, online advertisement in selling our products, which paid off eventually because it opened more new market opportunity for the business.
Now, can you elaborate on the opportunities in the Hair Industry?
There are so many opportunities in the Hair Industry. Being consistent is no. 1 never relent no.2 and be a brand people can trust no.3. Opportunities can include introducing new hair styles and styling methods. Introducing new product lines and brands to your inventory and attracting new market can give you 6 figures eventually.
How can government create an enabling environment for businesses like yours to thrive
Foreign exchange is a huge problem in the hair business and I think it affects other businesses in Nigeria if you are into a global business. Depreciation of our local currency makes the cost of importing hair very expensive.
The possibility of making businesses to buy in other currency aside from Dollar as a major currency enables more volume and cheaper for our Nigerian customers to buy.
What impact do you want EWA HAIR to make in the hair industry and how will you achieve it?
EWA HAIR is a hair brand that sells healthy hair extensions, wigs, and hair care products to maintain healthy and well-groomed hair. We try to source for the best healthy hair and wigs and we ensure a good supply chain.
We will partnering with well-renowned beauty professionals that will bring state of art beauty, hair styles, and hair techniques. We also plan to empower women through hair styling training programs, hair business training and how to start a beauty business in general. There’s a lot we plan to do for the women community.