Mrs Chioma Nwadinobi- Unachukwu is the Director/ Chief Executive, Oma_ Beautyz, one of the fastest growing and most patronized make up beauty houses in Owerri, Imo state. A mother of 3 and graduate of Linguistics from the Imo state University, she ventured into fashion business in response to her natural desire to make people look good and attractive. In this interview, she explains what makes her outfit unique as well the opportunities and challenges facing small businesses in Nigeria.
Why did you go into fashion business when you studied Linguistics?
I initially wanted to study nursing, but i felt it wasn’t meant for me because I can’t stand the sight of pain and blood. I was interested in fashion but since I couldn’t study that in school I fell back to learning languages which was something I love a lot. Moreover, a linguist can do anything. Linguistics is versatile, you can work anywhere. It’s just about general knowledge
So tell us about your business and what you do
I run a small scale business known as Oma_Beautyz Make-Up House. It’s a makeup beauty house, we are into make-up, sales of make-up products and generally anything that has to do with beauty. I have been into it for two years now. I went into a fashion school, then a makeup school. Officially this is the second year since I opened my business.
What motivated you into make up business?
I am a fashionable person. I like styles, and beauty. That was why I delved into fashion and beauty management. I have passion for enhancing beauty. Every woman is beautiful, and make-up enhances that beauty. I just want people to look beautiful and better. It is a business for professionals like us who know their onions and not for amateurs
Are there opportunities in makeup business in Owerri?
Yes there are just like in any other part of the world. No matter what happens, when it comes to beauty and make up, fashion lovers would always patronize you, the system or environment not withstanding because men and women always want to look fine. Despite the presence of so many beauty houses, there are still great opportunities in Owerri. The existence of many educational institutions in Owerri is an added advantage.
How would you describe the business environment in these 2years you started?
Like every other business, fashion and makeup business has its challenges. First, we have the challenge of contending with so many beauty shops in Owerri and neigbouring towns. With our coming we brought some innovations and disruptions in the way the business is run here in owerri and indeed the south east. That in itself has its challenges because we have raised the standard and ensure we maintain that standard all the time. Our customers are our priority. We make sure we meet and even surpass their requirements so that next time they would come back. And that we have been doing these two years very successfully. Although we experienced some setbacks during the first 6 months, but I can say with utmost confidence that we have overcome all initial setbacks including competition and COVID-19 pandemic.
What other challenges do you encounter as a small business owner?
As a beautician I would say finance because you need good money to get the right products that would satisfy your clients. Class and quality is necessary. Also the roadside sellers who are our competitors make it difficult for us because they give services at low prices even though the quality can’t be compared to ours. The second major challenge is that of over taxation. Here in Imo state, we pay taxes but our grievance is that despite the taxation, we don’t get some basic amenities like power and water and that doesn’t help us at all. You can imagine after paying rent for the shop, I still have to run my generator from morning till night. Imo state government needs to come to our aid. We hardly see light here. Power is usually supplied late night when workers had retired to bed. Beauty housea can’t work without power and this issue of power supply is a major challenge to us. Thirdly, we can’t access bank credits due to the demand for collateral which we don’t have, and the other alternatives require high interest rates and that’s so discouraging.
As an entrepreneur, do you find your job as fascinating compared to working for someone?
Yes it is! Some people prefer working for someone but I personally think I will do better having my own business. Every Business requires attention and time and if you don’t give that to your business it won’t stand.
In what ways do you think government can help small business owners like you to succeed?
Top on the list is lack of power supply . Every business no matter how small needs electricity and needs light to function. Also access to credit facilities would help small business owners expand their Businesses. Shop rents are really exorbitant especially here in Owerri, if government can intervene it would help us a great deal. Little shop cost between N300,00 to N500,000 per annum. Some shops cost as high as N700,000. The high cost of renting a business space (shop) sometimes pushes some of these businesses to buy and mix substandard goods and sell at a standard rate in order to meet up with expenses. If government can come in for us, it would reduce the burden on us and help us grow.