• Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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How Steve Maduka, Nigerian entrepreneur moved from street trading to manufacturing

How Steve Maduka, Nigerian entrepreneur moved from street trading to manufacturing

Born in Aba, a major urban settlement and commercial nerve centre in Abia State. Steve Maduka who is from Okigwe, Imo State, at an early age knew that trading would be more profitable to him. Perhaps he formed this opinion because he was raised in Aba; a booming commercial hub in Igboland. This was why at the tender age of 11 years, he started buying and selling candy and other school-related materials like pencils, pens, sharper, erasers and so forth to his fellow classmates.

After graduation from College, Maduka who studied Electrical Engineering got his first job with PHCN where he worked for several years before leaving in search of greener pastures in the United Kingdom.

Besides the culture shock he experienced while in the UK, Maduka also needed the right documentation to enable him work so as to earn a living but since he did not have the necessary documentation, he decided to look for viable business opportunities which he could embark on in order to earn a living. It was on the streets of London that he boldly approached a lady wearing a wig and asked her if she thought African ladies would be willing to pay for a hair of this nature if he bought them and ship to Nigeria and her response was a resounding yes!

Alas! With the little fund he was left with, Steve in 2010 started the business of hair shipment into Nigeria. “I had less than N75,000 back then and I managed to send my first batch of hair to Lagos, and my elder sister sold them and returned the money” he recalled.
He explained that they continued in this routine for several months; buying and shipping human hair to Nigeria for sale.

This eventually marked the beginning of greater things to come as he continued in this new business venture. Business, so he assumed was so good until he decided to relocate to Nigeria to firmly establish the business.

But with his return in 2012, he was faced with the sad reality that the fund at his disposal was not even enough to get an office space.

It was at this juncture that he decided to use his Facebook account as a marketing platform to source for customers.

With no office space and squatting with his elder sister somewhere in Isolo, he commenced the Royal Hair brand without a physical office address.

But after over a year of sales on the Facebook platform, the undaunting Steve was able to save up enough money to get his first office space in Surulere, Lagos.

But then, it was not yet Uhuru for Steve because owning to financial constraints, he approached the management of the newly rented store and explained his financial constraints of not being able to pay his service charge but instead of showing empathy, the management of the property disconnected his electricity supply barely few weeks after paying the rent of the store for over one year.

However, these challenges did not in any way dampen his resilient spirit because he forged ahead to make sure that the Royal Hair brand stood out against all odds.

To achieve his goal, Steve made use of the internet and social media. He designed an interactive-easy-to-navigate website for the business, making it easy for customers around the world to opt for online shopping and place their orders.

But for him to source for more quality hair, Steve decided to visit countries like China, Cambodia and Vietnam to source for quality yet affordable hair and this move, to a large extent marked the turn of events.

He explained; “After my visit to these countries, in less than three years I was able to open outlets in Lekki, Abuja, Ikeja, and Owerri” he narrated.

It was at this point that Maduka noticed that demand for his product was way more than the products he ordered from his foreign suppliers. He was no longer able to meet with customers order and this resulted in his establishment of a hair factory in Vietnam. But even with Royal Hair factory in Vietnam, Steve noted; “I am not serving up to 2% of Nigeria human hair market in Nigeria and Royal Hair is the number one retailer of human hair in Africa”

In order to ensure quality, the Royal Hair boss, Maduka said that he is the final quality controller before its ascertained that the hair can be shipped to customers. “It’s pertinent to ensure that quality is never compromised no matter what and this was what motivated us to go into research and came up with our own brand of hair treatment products known as Radiant Revive” he pointed out

In spite of the positive strides Steve has achieved in business, he stated that venturing into business is not a walk in the park. For him, there are several challenges that besiege the beauty industry in Nigeria.

But in spite of these challenges, Royal Hair Limited paved the way for Radiant Revive Limited; a company that has over 100 staff.

Steve Maduka who has shown that he is truly a Nigerian entrepreneur with a resilient spirit is estimated to be worth over $ 10 million also has an interest in agriculture, real estate and automobile dealerships.