In this exclusive interview, I had the privilege to learn about the brain behind Ovelly Naturals, and how she started an amazing natural skin care brand here in Nigeria, that caters for the African Skin and protects it from dangerous chemicals. Olubukola birthed her business while on a quest for safe and non-toxic skin care products.
Her search led her to bagging a diploma in organic skincare formulation, despite having a degree in Estate Management.
Read on to find out how she has managed to run her business successfully and how she gets inspiration for curating her products.
Please introduce yourself and your background
I am Omole Olubukola: I hold a first degree in Estate Management, a masters degree in facilities management, 10 years experience in banking, a diploma in organic skincare formulation amongst others. I am a wife and mother of two. I’m from Ekiti state and second in a family of five siblings.
Tell us about your work. How did Ovelly Naturals start?
Ovelly naturals started in my quest for safe skincare. I had just stopped using a cream I didn’t know was filled with horrible ingredients and steroids. It had done quite a lot of damage to my skin and I needed a safe solution. My search led me to asking lots of questions and gradually… Ovelly naturals was conceived!
How did you come about the name and what does it mean?
Ovelly is the word : LOVELY rearranged! My husband gave me the pet name lovely when we met and we subconsciously rearranged that word to OVELLY.
What is your niche and how did you know it was a market to get into?
Ovelly focuses a great deal on women. We do functional and everyday natural, safe and effective skincare for the everyday woman who is conscious about her skin and needs to have a healthy and radiant skin. Sadly in Nigeria today: skin whitening and bleaching is the order of the day but what Ovelly seeks to show is that healthy and radiant skin is possible without bleaching and altering our natural skin tone.
Where do you find the inspiration for your products?
I’m inspired daily by
1. The need for safe and effective skincare in a society filled with toxic and harmful bleaching products
2. The abundance of natural skin food we have within our reach here
3. The desire to enhance the well-being and confidence of the average woman through a radiant and healthy skin.
Can you remember one of the first products you made? What makes it memorable?
The first product ever was moisturizing body butter. The fact that the butter did not turn out as I had expected and it was not stable made it quite memorable: taught me some valuable lessons in formulation!
What are the challenges you face in your business?
There are sure quite a number of challenges. Some are:
1. Breaking through into the mind-set of the average woman who believes her skin has to be whiter or lighter to be beautiful!
2. Lack of CONSISTENT suppliers of top quality ingredients used in making our products.
Do you have any regrets venturing into this line of business?
No regrets at all, I am very passionate about what I do and as such work around and surmount challenges as they come.
What is your most popular product?
Our most popular product is the African black soap. It’s a blend of African black soap, herbs and fruit extracts
To what extent do you draw upon your Nigerian (African) heritage for your work?
Being an African exposes me to the wonderful skin food we have here such as unrefined Shea butter, African black soap, herbs, fruits…. These are readily available to us here and packed with skin nourishing goodness.
What are your goals for the future, both work wise and life?
Ovelly naturals is currently a strictly online brand but I am fast realizing the need to be more accessible to customers and as such our immediate goal is to open up an office space for consultations and purchase of products
We also have a goal of opening up a standard laboratory and production space which meets up with NAFDAC standards so as to be NAFDAC certified and thus improve market penetration.
To in the long run prove that black is very much beautiful, improve self-confidence of women and be a household name in natural skincare.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Hmmmm…. Nothing comes to mind right now.
What profession would you be in if you weren’t in the cosmetics industry?
As someone who has a flair for all things female grace, beauty, finesse…. I’d probably be into fashion, jewelry… e.t.c.
If you could give one piece of advice to youths who want to start their own business, what would it be?
Have a vision for yourself and business: that will guide to a large extent the decisions you make and directions you take.
And finally, please share images of some of your work and tell us a little about each product.
Hi, my name is Bukky Asehinde (née Bello). I am a huge lover of Africa and a passionate entrepreneur. My team and I would provide you with information about the beauty of Africa and her people through this interesting fact finding blog. Get access to Afrocentric Brands at www.bellafricana.com