Yetunde King a budding entrepreneur is the CEO of Y-Gold Spa and Beauty Planet. In this interview with Daniel Adeleye, the University of Lagos Creative Arts graduate tells the story of transforming her childhood hobby into a thriving business. Excerpts:
How did you get into this line of business?
I have always been a fashionista and to me it’s a good business to look good and looking good can always lift up ones spirit. I love anything fashionable and always like flawless skin right from when I was younger. And I have always been dreaming and aiming to go about it in order to help people to get their skin back and to rejuvenate their skins. So it has always been my passion to do that. Before I started the business proper, people always come and tell me that I look good and that I should help them on what they would use, anything I used they wanted to use and at that time I didn’t even know the importance of organic and chemical, I was just going to supermarket and buy cream. So I started making research on how I can do these things better and also help people. So that’s the whole idea and the more you do it the better you perform and it’s the people who bring people when they see the result of your products. And that’s how the popularity of our products has been increasing over the years.
What have been the achievements so far?
Being a skin therapist or cosmetologist, I base on organic skincare naturally made products, I don’t do chemicals. So I have different kind of packages; body maintenance packages for chocolate-fair people, I have for skin-light people and I have package for person that wants to be very white. I have Super Dee for half-cast skin; I have Arabian skin-lightening and different kinds of lightening. I also have hot cocoa choco for those who are dark and just want to maintain their skin. I have package for those who have stretch marks and package to clean any skin troubles.
What does it requires to venture into beauty therapy and spa business?
First of all, you need to go for the training because you can’t give what you don’t have. So you need training so that you’ll be able to stand and not just jump into it. Nowadays there are so many skincare therapists around that people run to many of them didn’t really go for intensive training. So you need training to learn the rudiments of the business. I had the opportunity of being trained by some Korean therapists that came around for an empowerment programme organised in my church. We didn’t pay what other people were paying outside then, because it was the benefit from the church. Even at that, the money was much then, I paid N120, 000. But we still believed that it was cheap because it was from the church. But nowadays there are online trainings where you pay as low as N1000 and there is some training where you pay N5, 000. So you see that all these cannot be an intensive training. Like when I was trained, we were trained both orally and practically. So online training won’t be like that, it will be only theoretical part of it. Again it’s not that I just make cream, they also taught us how to do body massage and its importance which I also practice now. There are different kinds of body massage therapy; therapeutic massage, relaxation massage and all that. Not just the skincare, it’s all about beauty. I also do penis enlargement, vagina tightening. There are many people who complain especially after child birth, their spouse may be complaining about their sexual organ so we also take care of that. So if you are trained online, you might not be exposed to all that and moreover, nobody will issue certificate for you when you are trained online. With my certificate I can go global.
How is the business doing?
Well, today I really thank God. The business is going on well because people are seeing the products and they are coming back to testify. They are also bringing more people, even when I don’t really do advertisements, customers bring more people. In fact, some of my customers complain that I don’t do before and after, that some people post on social media, but I don’t have time for all that as a result of my busy schedules. We do delivery to our customers both in and outside Nigeria. We have a lot of customers in countries like South Africa, UK, New York, Maryland and other US cities; we deliver through DHL and other delivery medium. And it’s always a friend that links a friend, it’s not that I am the one that knows all those people or I have been running advertisements.
What are the challenges facing your kind of business?
Honestly there have been ups and downs; there are a lot of challenges. Topmost among them is the Nigerian government is not really sincere about their claims to help SME grow nin the country. In a business like this you need money to push it. Sometimes I confront a lot of hurdles on delivery because I don’t have enough resources to meet up the demands. I made a lot of delivery yesterday and now it’s impacting negatively on the business which is not supposed to be. What if someone just walk in now and request for those products that we have delivered and I don’t have them? And when you talk about organic products, they are very expensive, their ingredients are very expensive. So to make all those things one really needs financial backing. I have a friend that after her training who could not go into the business because there was no money, so Nigerian government needs to live up to expectation by giving financial support for the growth of SME in the country. Though I learned there is loan for SME, but is it really accessible to all? The criteria of giving the loan are not easy to come by. Even the interest rate is more than your profit, and you won’t like to default and go bankrupt. But to me I believe slow and steady makes the race. That’s one area that has been challenging.
Secondly is the customers themselves, a customer who is complaining of achenings of pimples or blemishes may walk to your shop and you give them a product to use with instructions. Some people will come back and say they forget, they won’t use it the way you instructed them to use it. Some are ‘too busy’ to take care of themselves and yet they want to look good. They will come back and be telling you that the product you gave them is not effective as you claimed. It’s only few among them who are honest that will tell you that they didn’t follow the instructions given to them. It’s not as if those products won’t work but it won’t be as fast as they desired. Then there are also crop of customers who want miracle cream, they want to buy that product today and see the result in two days. I don’t want to mention any particular product that people buy; all those cheap products around that spoil their skin, when they buy the cream today they see result tomorrow they will become white and in another two months more troubles come to their skins. But if you really want a good product and you don’t want trouble for yourself it’s always better to be calm on what you rob because we have different kinds of skins, our skins react differently. One person may use one product and work perfectly in four days, that is the nature of his/her skin. Another person may use that for 15 days and yet may not see result; the process will just be gradual on their skins. So if you are calm for the product to work very well you’ll get the result. But if you want a miracle cream and you want it to work very fast, that’s when you’ll run into all manner of skin therapists. I am not saying online skin therapists are not good but it’s difficult to ascertain the good ones from bad. You cannot know the people who are robbing chemicals and those who are doing organic unless you move close to them and sure if they are really skin therapists by training or those who became therapist overnight.
So how do you deal with difficult customers like the cases you cited above?
Yes, there are nagging and rude customers. But my training is really playing out here. Not only among customers alone even among my staff, there are betrayals everywhere. I have so many staff that had gone and I also have students that will take the products, even when they didn’t finish training, they will take my products and start doing their own product with my label on it and sell. Some of them will go and meet my customers and claim they are still working with me. There are so many of them but with God on my side, I have been able to cope through trainings upon trainings that I acquired and with words of encouragement and parental guidance, I am able to cope.
There are many skin therapists and spa around; what really stands you out in this line of business?
First, I think it’s almighty God because it’s God that gives idea and innovation to bring out unique pattern that’s not the same with anyone’s product. So God makes me stand out. Secondly, it’s creativity. I said earlier that I studied Creative Arts in University of Lagos. So I have been taught to be creative in whatever I do. The packages on my products are superb, I don’t use inferior ingredients to make my products, I use the best and that’s the reason people keep coming back after using them, so that’s what keeps me going in the business.