Nigeria’s haircare manufacturing company, Natures Gentle Touch (NGT) has announced plans to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NGX) and expand its manufacturing footprints to different parts of the world.
The company which set the pace for made-in-Nigerian products at a time when buying foreign signalled class and the best option, and created uncommon marketing by targeting women and youths across Nigerian universities, said it has paid off as it helped many ladies to discover their unique personal styles.
Speaking to journalists at a virtual event held last week, to mark the 25th anniversary of the company, Chika Ikenga, Founder/CEO noted that the take-off was rough but they were determined to weather the storm and defeated the initial resistance and sabotage from middlemen or distributors.
“We discovered that up to 80 percent of Nigerian and African women required tailor-made haircare solutions, because of the weather, the diet and other things, so the passion to solve these gave birth to NGT,” Ikenga said.
He added that their core offering is in personal styling solutions. “In our business model, this is best delivered through our hair institute. We had just one at Isolo. We have added two others at Victoria Island and Ikeja GRA.”
The journey of the NGT, which started in 1997, might have registered what to outsiders constitutes great success. Still, the pioneer of the business, Ikenga is focused on helping more and more women with personal style solutions worldwide.
This has seen the company acquire a cosmetic company in the Republic of South Africa with sights firmly set on other African countries and other parts of the world.
According to Ikenga, NGT is focused on replicating its unique service offerings in other markets across the world, having discovered that many, particularly Africans use their hair to express their style and identity.
While many may be contemplating success for a business that has survived for 25 years in terms of balance sheet or bottom line, Ikenga’s contentment is in redefining the personal lifestyle segment, a feat his efforts have delivered in Nigeria.
“Often we speak about the hair institute more than the products because we want people to experience it and discern for themselves. I cannot remember any hair or skin issue that was tabled that we NGT has not solved,” the GMD highlighted.
Recounting the early days of the business, Ikenga pointed out that when distributors appeared set to constitute a stumbling block for the brand’s market entry, they avoided them and took on the market directly.
“Our story cannot be complete without mentioning Nigerian tertiary institutions, particularly the University of Lagos,” Ikenga noted.
He calls to mind that budget constraints would not permit them to add conventional marketing to their strategy. However, they found a way around this by using word of mouth, person to person marketing at Nigerian universities.