With over 10 years experience in the beauty world, Mrs Amaka Okeke spills all you need to know about her and her brain child Elsas Pro in this exclusive interview with Thisday Style… Enjoy!
Elsas Pro is a fast-rising beauty products company that prides itself in delivering makeup solutions to suit specifically all skin tone with products that are African climate considerate. Constantly striving to remain relevant since its launch in 2015. The creative director, Mrs. Amaka Okeke who is a perfect blend of stunning beauty and brains, shares her inspiring story with Style correspondent, Alu Juliet on how it all started and the journey so far.
Can we meet you?
I am married with five children, four boys and a girl precisely. I hail from Ufuma, Orumba north local government area in Anambra state. I had my BSc in Banking and Finance and went ahead to get a Master’s Degree in Management. My childhood days were fun because I grew up around those that love me and were able to guide me through my teenage years. After my university education, I started selling beauty products, then I knew that this what I wanted to do.
Tell me about Elsas Pro and what influenced you into owning a makeup line?
Elsa is the name of my daughter. I wanted continuity in my brand knowing that the name will live on even while I’m gone. Elsas Pro was conceived out of an overwhelming passion for beauty and grace. The business originated from the huge passion I have for makeup and cosmetics. It is what I love doing because I love to look good. Basically, makeup is me; it doesn’t feel like I’m doing business, to me its fun.
How old is the product and what has kept you?
Wow! It’s amazing when I talk about how old Elsas Pro is, considering the number of months we’ve been in existence. I tell you, in the space of one year, it feels like we have been in existence for over five years. What has kept us has been the positive response from our customers, the reviews from people has been so encouraging.
Tell us more about your products?
The quality of our products is best to none. Our product covers skincare, eyes and lip makeup, as well as makeup tools. We also have a 100% human hairline, with an array of signature hair extensions and wigs. Our promise embodies product quality, consistency and a satisfaction that will be driven from the value realized by every Elsas Pro user.
Who are your ideal clients?
Our clients are the beautiful, classy females, who are all about quality at its best, but are also sensitive to value. We are within reach. Uniquely, our products are also suited to women of all ethnic groups and are optimized for adaptability in all climatic conditions. While we believe that every woman is beautiful, irrespective of race or ethnicity, we are here to enhance.
There are numerous make up lines today, what stands you out?
Elsas pro is more fun. We have glittery stuff that women of any age can still find fun. They’re high-end -enough- without getting too overpriced or snooty. And the line is very diverse. Many different types of items, something for everyone. One thing I really appreciate is that our marketing pictures are never about presenting a pretty, flawless face. Unlike all other brands, our productP is not about adjusting yourself to the beauty us, it’s all about having fun with your looks and accepting yourself just as you are! The company keeps a strong bond with its customers and an intimate relationship with professional makeup artists.
How lucrative is the business?
Our business, especially in Africa is a very lucrative venture considering the fact that Africans are constantly in pursuit of beauty.
Before now, applying make-up was a personal thing for ladies. It was not a business or a profitable venture that one could go into. How time flies! Thanks to an ever-increasing interest in fashion and beauty, a once trifling makeup sub-sector has blossomed into a money spinner and is putting food on the table of millions of ladies who have taken it as their profession.
What are the challenges you face in the industry generally?
In Nigeria, fake and substandard products sell more because it brings in quick money for their importers or producers, but it has very serious implications on users’ health. Some of such products turn the colour of user’s skin, burn or give them marks. Although most of these products are cheap, they do not give you quality outcomes after your work. That is why the regulator should do more to ensure that substandard beauty products are not found in markets. There is need to control the quality of beauty products and check them regularly to ensure that they did not revert to low quality.
Is there anything you think the government can do to support your industry?
We need the governments support in order to arrest possible collapse of our businesses. They need to arrest the influx of fake beauty products in Nigeria to safeguard the health of citizens. We appeal to the government to reduce the multiple taxes on small-scale businesses as it is forcing a lot of them to go into involuntary liquidation.
What plans do you have to take the product to the next level?
We intend opening a beauty school soon and also giving back to the society through charity. We want to create more job opportunities to the people by spreading beyond where we are. Presently, we have an office in Abuja and Enugu, soon our Lagos office will be launched.
That is why the regulator should do more to ensure that substandard beauty products are not found in markets. There is need to control the quality of beauty products and check them regularly to ensure that they did not revert to low quality.
What advice do you have for people who want to go into this business?
Find your niche or something that you’re passionate about. For me it was about finding really great high end products. Also, make sure you do your research on everything and everyone you are using from the ingredients, to the lab and even the chemist you will be using. I hope this provides you with some answers if starting a makeup line is something that you’re interested in. I will say it does take a lot of money and a lot of time to accomplish this, so have patience, as this really is an investment. This needs to be something you are very passionate about and want to work hard at. If these are what you look out for, you are sure to succeed.