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Blossom Beauty Empire – creating safe and effective skin and hair care products

Blossom Beauty Empire - creating safe and effective skin and hair care products

My name is Victoria Folorunso and I am the sole founder of Blossom Beauty Empire. I started my business during covid 19 in the year 2020. My business was originally known as ‘Adeola Beauty Products’ until the year 2021 when I decided to rebrand the business and changed the name to ‘Blossom Beauty Empire’. I started my business 28th May 2020. At that time, I was in my second year doing my LLB studies in the University of the Gambia. My business is located in the Gambia. 

WHAT MOTIVATED ME TO START MY BUSINESS?

I have always desired to be an independent lady as I desired to publish my books. I have been writing from my childhood days but never had the opportunity to publish any book. I believed if I started a business, it would provide me the funds to publish those write-ups. 

Beyond that, I wanted to start my business because I am very passionate about healthy skin and since my high School days, I invested heavily in products that would make my skin glow. Also I suffered from eczema and acne in my younger years and I believed that going into the skincare industry would help me learn how to combat these skin issues. This motivated me to research and learn from online websites and pay for some basic skincare courses since the year 2018. Based on the knowledge I gathered over time, I believed if I start a business I would be able to help other individuals regain their skin confidence especially those who battle with one or several skin issues. 

The third motivation was at that time, I had nothing doing. Due to covid 19, my courses were online and staying home was boring so I wanted something that would engage me. Starting a business seemed like the right idea at that moment. 

WHAT MY BUSINESS IS ABOUT

My business is focused on creating safe and effective skin and hair care products. I have several products for various skin types and skin issues. I also have hair care products for various hair issues and to promote hair growth. I have products for individuals (skin of colour) that desire to lighten their skin the safe way. I have products for individuals that desire a glowing and healthy skin too. I formulate products that are mild for kids and babies’ skin. I also customise products to suit my client’s skin and hair type and needs at extra cost. 

I help my clients to create the perfect routine for their skin and hair to maximise the benefits of the products. My products are natural and I make all of them from scratch using authentic and high grade actives. Some of the actives I use for my formulations are Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, niacinamide, n’acetyl glucosamine, snail slime, retinol, glutathione, alpha arbutin, kojic dipalmitate, mulberry, tranexamic acid, Alpha hydroxyl Acids, Beta hydroxyl Acids, Poly hydroxyl Acids. I also lover herbs and I incorporate them to my products such as willow bark, fruit powders, turmeric sandalwood etc. 

I also sell raw materials in smaller quantities for formulators who can’t buy in bulk. I also sell packaging materials for other small scale formulators to pack their products. I also train individuals who are interested in formulating skin or hair care products. I have ten courses available. So far, I have been able to train about 15 ladies in various courses. The course is done online but there is a practical session where they formulate these products with my guidance and then at the completion of the course, I award them a certificate of completion. I also offer them mentorship access at the end of the course. 

This year, I was able to self-publish five cosmetics books. These books were written to help formulators perfect their knowledge and a more affordable option for those who find my class expensive for them at the moment. 

I also do wholesale deals for those who want to sell my products as theirs. They buy in a litre and above and can resell with their own packaging and brand name.  

CHALLENGES OF THE BUSINESS

There are a number of challenges I have faced in the business, there are still a number of challenges I am currently facing. 

One of the challenges of the business is insufficient funds. Till date, I am working at home. I have been unable to rent a shop because of high costs of shops in the Gambia. Insufficient funds have also restricted my dream to expand the business to accommodate more services such as spa and hair treatment. Insufficient funds have also restricted me from buying ingredients in bulk and I am left with an option of buying in lesser quantities at expensive rates. This increases cost of production and cost of products or ingredients I sell to other cosmetics formulators here in the Gambia. 

Another challenge of the business is limited market. Gambia has a small market with less population. More so, we have so many formulators in the Gambia skincare industry, the population do not match with these numbers and therefore results in slow and poor sales some times. Also the Gambia is a poor country and an average individual may find it difficult to patronise the brand due to high cost of production. 

Another difficulty is lack of assistance and staff. I single handedly formulate all products of Blossom Beauty Empire and organise courses. I also handle marketing and customer service. This is very draining as I have to multi task coupled with school and other responsibilities. 

Another difficulty is inability to maintain international customers. Most of the foreign customers complain that DHL is very expensive and this restricts them from patronising the brand. Most of them have to forgo or wait till they are back In Gambia for holidays or if anyone is coming to their country. I do not have any marketer or distributors in other countries; it discourages a lot of foreign persons from patronizing the brand. 

Another challenge is insufficient access to equipment. Equipment makes formulations easier and faster. I have restricted equipment and this makes formulations more tiresome and tedious. 

ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE BUSINESS 

I actually started with about ten products; scrubs, customised black soap, glowing body butter, hair butter, hair oil, hair shampoo, honey face mask, lip balm, glow oil and face mist. I took a pause about September 2020 to take up advanced cosmetics courses to broaden my knowledge on cosmetics formulations. These courses were done online; I desired to make more stable, skin friendly and effective products. I invested about 90% of the money I got from my business to buy cosmetics books and register for cosmetics courses. By January 2021, I was back with better recipes and formulations. Currently my brand has about 35 cosmetics products including skin and hair products. Some of the products I have are; Leave in conditioners, luxurious facial oils, facial serums, facial toners, facial creams, lightening oils, stretch mark products, dark knuckle products, etc. 

When I started my business, I used Local packaging which were not presentable. The rebranding of my business in 2021 ushered my business to an era of growth where I incorporated advanced packaging materials to make my products more appealing to prospective clients. I am still working on how to improve my products packaging and marketing strategy.  

Since last year till date, I have been able to train about 15 women who are currently managing their own skin and hair brand. This year, I hosted an online free class on ‘how to make money from Shea butter’, fifty women joined the class and were greatly inspired. I also shared recipes in the class to enable them to start their own formulations either for personal use or business.it is my desire to empower more women with knowledge and to attain financial independence and gender equality in the economic sector of the world. 

I have also been able to solve various skin and hair care issues of my client through my products and this gives me joy. I am always delighted when I see reviews and testimonies of my clients on the products from my brand. 

Another achievement of the business is that I have been privileged to work with some small brands here in the Gambia to create formulas for their brand. This has helped them to increase the quality of their products, increase income and sustain their customers. 

ADVICE TO OTHER BUSINESS

My advice to other business owners is that there will always be challenges in every business, what should keep you going is celebrating the achievements. No win is actually little. Be grateful for every phase of your business and believe that your business will grow. While believing, put in relevant efforts to ensure its growth. Never give up, consistency eventually pays off. 

Also invest in knowledge heavily. You need knowledge to thrive in the industry and to be one step ahead of your competitors. Register for courses, gain experience and provide quality services and products for your clients. Maintain a friendly relationship with your clients, this encourages them to come back to patronise the brand and to even refer the brand. 

Also create policies that govern your business. A business without a policy cannot sustain the test of time. Beyond creating these policies, follow them. 

Invest in your business, when you do not manage your funds, your business will go bankrupt. Separate business money from personal money. Invest more of your profit in your business. Take well calculated risk. Life itself is a risk. 

Never compromise the quality and integrity of your business or your personality in all course of your business dealings. Deal fairly with others and give out your best to your business. 

All this is made possible by passion; invest in a business you are passionate about, money will definitely come later but passion will sustain you till the time wealth arrives. 

Here are links to check my business account. 

Instagram; https://instagram.com/p/CiPfGfctYDk/ 

Tiktok; https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMFJ2W2Q7/ 

MS, Durham University GP The work of a family doctor includes a wide range of clinical diversity, which requires extensive knowledge and erudition from a specialist. However, I believe that the most important thing for a family doctor is to be human because the cooperation and understanding between the doctor and the patient are crucial in ensuring successful health care. On my days off, I love being in nature. Since childhood, I have been passionate about playing chess and tennis. Whenever I have time off, I enjoy traveling around the world.

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