Yejide Erogbogbo, 25, is the founder of Eres Bella by Yejide Limited. In this interview with FEYISAYO POPOOLA, she says she has no regrets quitting paid employment to start her own business
What is Eres Bella by Yejide about?
Eres Bella by Yejide is a personal care company that focuses on hair and body products. Although the company was founded in 2014, it became fully functional in 2017. Our products currently on sale are brightening body wash made with African black soap, beard butter, beard oil and deep hair conditioner. All products are home-made.
What is your educational background?
I have a bachelor in Mass Communication from Redeemer’s University, Osun State, and a master’s degree in Global Fashion Media from the International Fashion Academy, Paris.
Do you have any work experience?
I have two years work experience in advertising and public relations.
When and how did you learn the art of making soaps and other beauty products?
I started when I got the initial recipe to make soap from my mum. Later on, I improved on it and added more ingredients to hydrate and moisturise the skin. Then, I did a lot of online courses which helped me immensely when I decided to branch out into other products.
What motivated you to start your own business?
My mum did really; she’s a businesswoman. She started her business at the age of 25 and she has always encouraged her children to follow their dreams.
How much was your initial capital and how did you raise it?
My initial capital was N20,000 and I got it from my personal savings.
What were the major challenges you encountered when you started?
My biggest challenge was convincing customers that organic products could be effective and inexpensive. Most people believe that if it isn’t pricey, it wouldn’t work. I have to thank God that it’s no longer the case now. The challenge made me pay more attention to promotion and marketing.
How were you able to overcome the challenge?
I do a lot of research and I try to bond with other entrepreneurs. That way, I know I’m not alone. I believe a problem shared is half-solved.
If you could go back in time, what would you do differently in business?
I would probably have started earlier.
Has there ever been anytime you’ve ever thought of quitting and seeking paid employment?
I left paid employment for this business, even though I knew it wouldn’t be easy. God has been faithful all through. I have no regrets.
Is your business properly registered?
Yes, it is registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.
How profitable is the business?
Every month is better than the last, so it’s been quite profitable.
What other skills do you possess?
I run a fashion blog and I do video production from time to time.
Where do you see yourself and your business in the next five years?
I see the brand becoming more recognised and displayed in every supermarket and beauty store in Nigeria and outside.
What do you think the future holds for entrepreneurs in Nigeria?
I think the future is very bright for entrepreneurs in Nigeria. At present, there are a lot of government and individual initiatives that support entrepreneurs in Nigeria, and these initiatives have helped a lot of people I know.
Do you have any employees?
At the moment, I have two people working with me.
What would you say is the most influential factor in your business success?
Listening to the customers; they know what they want. I listen to them and make changes where and when necessary.
If you had one piece of advice for someone just starting out, what would it be?
My advice is a quote from Chase Jarvis. It says, ‘Go after solving a problem that you have; something that’s near you and dear to you, not some random market opportunity. When things get hard, if you’re chasing just money, or a random opportunity, you’re not going to be able to have the fortitude, the passion to stay with it.’
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