Ms Calista Richard, a 23 year-old entrepreneur, is the founder of Zajayn Beauty, a startup that deals on wigs and various other beauty products. She spoke to Business Hallmark’s Favour Alilu on her journey so far, offering invaluable advice to young Nigerians on how to set up and grow in the industry.

Excerpts:

When did you start Zajayn Beauty and how did you go about it?
Zajayn Beauty was started in 2018 with zero capital. The business was started out of passion and love for empowering others, and helping other women feel good about themselves. My understanding of the Virgin Hair business also made it easier for me to kick start the business and take off in a short period. I started it first on social media by using various social media tools to reach out to retailers. Gradually, I started getting orders from different places, and because I was able to fulfill those orders, supplying the products at relatively affordable wholesale prices, the business gradually expanded. I started having clients from within and outside the country.

What has been your major challenge so far?
Initially my major challenge was delivery. First, I had to wait for the products to be cleared and so they can be physically available in Nigeria. Again, there were also delivery concerns within and and outside Nigeria. But learning from experience, I have been able to nurture relationships with partners that understand how important on-time delivery is to the business and have been able to provide amazing service. We have been able to also secure partnerships and deals that help us reduce delays on receiving our goods here in Nigeria and are currently exploring expansion options, investors and alternative funding sources towards creating more branches and distribution channels offline and also in the digital space.

How have you been able to sustain the business in terms of funding, do you get grants from government or any organisation?
None at the moment. But we are certainly exploring options and we would welcome interested individuals and organisations with mutually beneficial propositions, including but not limited to funding offers, distribution offers, supplies and sales offers, marketing offers amongst other possible options and partnerships.

Would you say the business lucrative? Would you encourage other young Nigerians to come into it?
I would say it is relative and dependents largely on what you would define as lucrative, as we might have different expectations in that regard. However, for me I believe any business that has its revenue more than its expenses and can record profits consistently over a long period of time with high tendencies of sustainability is a lucrative one. This is also dependent on the operations and management of the business. So from our experience and for me and my team, I will say, Yes, the Zajayn Hair Beauty brand/business is a lucrative one.

Who are your prospective customers; low, middle or high income earners?
Basically good hair is not usually cheap but affordable. For the quality and minimum lasting guarantee of 4-7 years, I’d say for now our prospective clients are middle and high income earners. However, we are currently working on plans and packages that can be made available for lower income earners without compromising quality and quantity guarantee.

The economy struggling. How has it affected Zajayn Beauty?
Certainly, the business is still very profitable, a large percentage of ladies and women are known to spend much on a good hair.

What is your advice to young ladies like me, who are interested in the beauty industry?
My advice to young ladies is to stop waiting until they have everything figured out. Just start from where you are and with what you have. Also you don’t need to know everything about the business, just make sure you never stop learning. Importantly, know that you don’t totally need capital. Just start, its not impossible. As long as your heart desires it, then don’t give excuses.

You said Zajayn Beauty began with zero capital. Could you please explain more? How were you able to start a business with zero capital?
Zajayn Beauty started off without capital. Our sales were generated about 70 percent from social media and through digital marketing and sales strategy. With social media, e-mail marketing and through my e-commerce site, I was able to get converting clients and hence gradually built from there. Creating a social media business is free – just requires the right skill set and nurturing. I was able to start without capital because I had empowered myself through trainings and seminars and online courses. So from the profits I made, I was disciplined and saved them up for growing the business gradually. It requires both working hard and smart. All in all, it’s still God’s grace.

What makes Zajayn Beauty different?
Basically we sell trust and peace of mind when it comes to our product. People complain alot about buying products online and receiving something else therefore they get discouraged to buy products online. But with Zajayn Beauty, the case has been totally different because over 80 percent of our clients have never seen us. They place their orders via email or any communication platform and we do a clean and perfect business with great satisfaction and peace of mind. Our communication game is strong so regardless or anything we always relate and communicate and carry all parties along.

Do you make your wigs?
Yes we do make our wigs. We have our team of stylists too and other team members that ensure full process of wig making and full business operations.

What is the price range of your wigs?
Like I said before, a good hair doesn’t come cheap but affordable. Their is no price range because we sell to both wholesales and retailers. We also have some clients signed up with us based on their available budgets and they still get good deals and quality hair. Our website: http://zajaynbeauty.com has our products with their prices incase more details are required

The frequent movement from Lagos to Port Harcourt, how has it affected your business?
I stay and work in Lagos but I am running my MSc in Port Harcourt. So I see the shuffling between both cities as an advantage for the business to penetrate both markets.

What is your average monthly turnover?
I would rather not disclose publicly but we are making enough to remain in business, optimize our business process and expand too.