20 Entrepreneurs Driving Social Commerce in Africa: Meet Faith Emenike of La’Fame Perfumery
Social media is taking the place of the business/e-commerce websites we used to know. Customers have begun to make orders on social media, and entrepreneurs are making thousand of sales daily with just their social media profiles.
In this interview series, we’re featuring 20 entrepreneurs who have turned social media into a business hub, and are make tons of sales on a daily basis.
Faith Emenike is the founder of La’Fame Perfumery, a Mixed in Nigeria perfume brand. In this interview, she revealed more about the business, and how using social media as her online store has helped with sales.
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Faith Amarachukwu Emenike, a perfume girl with a much needed occasional fling with movies. I am just a Simple Girl who is obsessed with Scents.I am the first child and the only girl of my parents with two amazing brothers. We are a close knit family and we love perfumes.
Tell us about La’Fame Perfumery and the inspiration behind it.
I had always loved Fragrances back in school, I would have close to 6 different fragrances from different brands and I would use all at the same time. I never for one day thought it would turn into a business. I just loved scents.
After my service year, The Job hunt started and it was gruesome. My plan was to get a job and work till whenever. A few months after the job search started, I stumbled on a scent created here in Nigeria, I was amazed that something like that could be done here. Although it was in a small vial, i was intrigued. I sought the person who curated it and asked her to teach me, To my greatest surprise, she refused!! I was so heart broken because I didn’t understand why she would not teach me.
I wasn’t deterred and I turned to God, and I tell you the truth in Christ, I lie not, he taught me. He didn’t start big, he started very small, step by step.
I eventually got a job with a bottling in Lagos. When I went for the interview, I again, stumbled on a book titled ‘Four Quadrants to Wealth’ by Robert Kiyosaki. While waiting for the interview to commence, I flipped to the middle page and the one paragraph I read changed my mentality about the job I was about to get.
I went in for the interview though, because I could not turn back. I scaled through, and a few days later, I got called to pick up my appointment letter, which I rejected. Till today, I can’t tell what spirit fell on me to reject the offer. As you can tell, it did not go down well with the folks especially my Dad, he thought I was crazy and delusional. This action of mine led to so many 4am, 5am meeting with family and friends in a bid to change my mind. They couldn’t understand why I had chosen to go into perfumery business, which was quite virgin then.
I stood my ground. Boy! Was it tough! I remember going from bank to bank to sell ‘Mixed in Nigeria’ perfumes, they would laugh, and reject it. I remember selling just one bottle for weeks. When God calls you, you have to be ready to pass through a refining process to get you ready for that Vision and Mission. It doesn’t just come to you in one swoop. It takes you yielding, learning, following, and consistently ‘Doing’ that which He has sent you. When your cloud is full, the rain would pour.
Well, You have to bear and persevere the process of growth. We are still growing, but we are definitely not where we started.
Why did you choose to run your perfume store through Instagram and Whatsapp as against opening an ecommerce store?
Social Media, no doubt has the highest traffic, leveraging on that, as a business is one of the smartest decisions you can make. Even multinationals have taken advantage of this to build their brand and to create awareness and visibility.
Social Media is one effective tool, especially Instagram. The features this app carries makes it easy for businesses to market and create visibility to its target market. However, the strategies involved has to be studied and utilized effectively.
How effective has this been?
Instagram has been really helpful to us as a business, 80% of our clientele come from that platform. We are able to showcase our works and products which has created a lot of awareness and visibility for the brand. Once an agreement is reached between us and a client, we take the conversation to WhatsApp where we seal the deal.
This has been a great help to us as a business, we have online perfumery workshop on the Art of Perfumery and most times these sessions are conducted through the WhatsApp platform, either via the video calls, voice notes or messaging features on the app. This has helped us reach a number of clients not in the same territory with us.
What other social media platform do you use?
We use Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter
Tell us how the ordering and delivery process goes with social media as your online store.
Integrity is one major core value of our business. We stand true to it. Our main policy is pay before delivery and we make sure that the client is not disappointed in what he or she paid for. We try to exceed their expectations and this has turned out to be of great benefit for both parties.
What are the challenges you’ve faced using social media to run your business?
The initial challenge was getting people to patronize us, but pay before delivery. It was a bit tasking convincing people that we were no fraud. Eventually, they came around.
The trick was consistency. With Social Media, you have to be consistent and show up everyday so that people would take you serious.
What are the gains and challenges of being an entrepreneur?
No Body owes you anything, if you don’t push your brand, no one will do that for you. Knowing that the major bulk of the work falls on you could be quite challenging. You can be so overwhelmed and sometimes break down and cry (happened so many times for me), you have no choice than to get back up and push it, if you don’t want to give up.
Being an entrepreneur makes you responsible for every action you take. These actions either make or mar your business. For us at La’Fame Perfumery, the initial challenge was getting Nigerians to buy Mixed in Nigeria fragrance. It was one of the most difficult periods ever because Nigerians could be pro – western when it comes fragrances, but with consistency and doggedness we conquered that phase and still conquering it.
Success is a journey, not a destination. The gains of entrepreneurship, especially doing what you love cannot be measured. It is a feeling of fulfillment and joy that nothing else gives. The joy I get when people wear our perfume is exhilarating. The fulfillment I get from imparting someone else life fragrantly is priceless.
Share a word of advice for young Africans thinking of venturing into the world of entrepreneurship.
Do what you love, Do what sets your soul on fire, and when you do it, never ever ever give up.