Chioma Njoku is the chief executive officer of ‘That Gloss’ – a lip care brand, whose journey to find products that are not harmful to use on African lips led her to harness the power of the continent’s natural ingredients to find a solution.
Chioma grew from just using lip care products to being a nationwide supplier of the product.
She started her business in 2020, during the lockdown as she did her research, watched videos, read articles and participated in classes online to gain adequate skills in lips therapy before kick-starting her business.
“I always thought I needed a big brand to execute my plan, but my passion for lip care helped me launch the business,” she says.
“Our glosses contain essential oils that protect your lips from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. These essential oils contain anti-oxidants such as Vitamin A, E, and D,” she notes.
“Initially, we started with just five lip glosses. Almost two years later we have produced and put out hundreds of lip-glosses.”
She explains that her business has expanded its lip care products to lip scrubs, chapsticks, lip butter, and lip treatments.
“We also sell lip masks and exfoliating lip brushes, as well as even giving consultations to people who have questions about lip care or have issues concerning their lips,” Chioma says.
On her initial start-up capital, she says funding and tools gotten from training organised by the Industrial Training Fund (ITF)in 2020, helped her kick-start her business.
“This training lasted for two months and we were taught how to sew. After this training we were given N10, 000 and a sewing machine,” she says.
She also won a giveaway aimed at helping individuals kick-start their lip care businesses.
According to her, she gets her raw materials from local markets across the country and also imports.
On how she can combine schooling and entrepreneurship, she says it has been quite tasking, but with support from family and friends, she has successfully survived.
To tackle this challenge, she did extensive research on trustworthy logistics companies that support product delivery.
“So far, that is working rather well, and I’m glad for the network that I have built so far which will come in useful as I seek to expand after school,” she says.
“Being female though is not so much of a problem in my industry. I have learnt that doing business is about taking the bold first step, and expressing your creativity and passion, regardless of gender.”
On some of the business short-term goals, she says the business is working on expanding its range of products.
On its long-term goals, she says the business plans on distributing its products to major cosmetics stores locally and globally.
“A lot of Nigerians and students in school purchase my products at an affordable rate; I received positive feedback about the standards and packaging. We are still working to make it better,” the young entrepreneur says.
She says she leverages various social media platforms to advertise her products.
On her advice to other entrepreneurs, she says, “If you have a vision, and don’t execute it, it would always remain in your mind,” she says.
“I have come to realize that nothing comes from doing nothing and the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, that one step could change your whole life,” Chioma says.
“It may seem scary at first but entrepreneurs are not known to be people who sit back and let their fears take a hold of them. We are all afraid and we have to do it afraid.”
“Remember that you can only become great when you step outside of your comfort zone.”