Interview: How Blondie Okpuzor is Disrupting Africa’s Skincare Industry
Blondie Okpuzor is the Founder and CEO of BathKandy Co. International, a company that creates food-inspired, organic skincare products including soaps, scrubs, polishes, scented oil and a host of others.
They infuse unconventional raw materials like garri, rice, and cocoa into beauty and skincare products.
The skincare expert shares her entrepreneurship journey with Founders Africa in this inspiring interview.
Can we meet you?
My name is Blondie Okpuzor and I am the CEO and founder of Africa’s leading skincare manufacturing and retail company, BathKandy.
What was the inspiration behind BathKandy?
BathKandy was created out of a personal need to have products that were gentle, balanced and healing for my allergy prone skin.
Infusing and modelling the products after desserts served two purposes, one it allowed me to infuse high levels of natural vitamins and skin improving ingredients and also create products that were visually stimulating and attractive.
Food is a unifying factor among the peoples of the world and it tends to bring people together so this was a no brainer for me.
Tell us about how you carved a niche for yourself in the skin care industry
Persistence and hardwork. I had a vision, I stuck to it and worked (still work) diligently day after day without cutting corners.
The beauty industry is a huge $500b industry globally and every single player started from somewhere, so when I think of how much of a major player BathKandy will be in a few years, I know that this is the time to put in the work.
We’re remained consistent with the quality of our products, the creativity and most importantly, the efficacy of our products to do what they say they will do.
Our focus on customer experience is also par excellence but we don’t stop there, we are constantly improving and setting the bar higher. Our customers have grown to have very high expectations of us which I think is a testament to how we are doing.
Is there a specific reason why you major in dessert-inspired skincare products?
Yes actually lol. I’m allergic to a lot of desserts so I can’t eat them and I’m totally in love with desserts so I decided to model my products after things I can’t eat.
It also helps that desserts are so visually appealing so it also makes our products easy to sell since humans are very visual.
How do you think Nigerians’ perceptions about ‘Made in Nigeria’ products can be improved?
It’s all about value. The truth is the perception of made in Nigeria products being “inferior” did not develop out of thin air. Historically, made in Nigeria products have been known to be of inferior quality.
However, in recent years, there has been a shift especially with the rise of the SME revolution and companies have been forced to create products that are of good quality.
The world is a global village with a lot of competition and easy access to just about anything so if you as a brand refuse to level up, customers will move their money to businesses who are interested in offering them value.
The only way to change the perception is to create products/ services of value. Customers always place a value on products so as long as the perceived value and actual value are aligned, that’s the sweet spot.
If it wasn’t the skin care industry, what other areas of entrepreneurship would you have loved to explore?
Hmmm, if it wasn’t skincare, it would have been hair care. But, most definitely in the beauty industry.
Tell us 3 things anyone hoping to venture into your kind of business has to consider before starting
– Manufacturing is a very capital intensive business so you have to be prepared
– Knowledge is power and you must keep up with global beauty trends if you want to grow.
– It is a saturated industry so you must be ready to differentiate yourself.
If you were given $1m to invest in BathKandy, where would it go?
Expanding my manufacturing capabilities and marketing reach
We are amazed by the ‘Garri Scrub’; one of BathKandy’s exfoliating products, can we know what inspired this?
Lol, so I’ve been accused of being too “oyinbo” so I was looking to create something that was uniquely Nigerian and that would resonate with the average person.
So I thought, how do I infuse a Nigerian staple into my skincare repertoire? Women want products that will make them “glow”, and there’s a lot of healthy starch in cassava which is known to naturally brighten the skin so I started looking into our diet and finding foods that would do just that and that’s how I formulated the Luminous Exfoliating Scrub fondly called the Garri Scrub.
Fun fact: the Garri Scrub also has rice and beans in it. It doesn’t get more Nigerian than that!
What advice would you give young African entrepreneurs?
It is so important to work hard and master your craft. You cannot avoid the work you need to do as an entrepreneur.
Success is hard but the hardwork serves as building blocks that build the bridge from your now to your successful future.
You must know your industry and your craft like the back of your hand and you really cannot fake it till you make it, the work must be done.
To learn more about BathKandy, you can reach out via email@example.com