Ebele Ugochukwu is a Medical Doctor and Managing Director of Sleek Studio Limited. he says Ogenovo Igodo-Michael About his career
What What was the motivation behind setting up your company?
After completing my diploma program in practical dermatology, an opportunity came up to become the Nigerian representative of Slick International (a beauty company). The opportunity also came right after I decided to go into cosmetic dermatology.
The brand and its products have been in the Nigerian market for some time. How have you been able to keep up with and adapt to new beauty trends?
I have been a lot of help. Social media is not a language my generation speaks, but I have taught the younger generation. In today’s world, a business cannot survive without social media.
What has been the most challenging part of being a beauty entrepreneur?
Human resource management is one of our most significant challenges, followed by infrastructure. How much can one reasonably charge for a facial when one has to run one’s generator at the current ridiculous price of diesel?
Is makeup for everyone, or are there some people who shouldn’t wear makeup?
Make-up is body care, and it’s for everyone. For example, is there anyone who should not use body moisturizer? No! One needs to find a product that works for one’s skin type and the climate of the environment. Same goes for make-up. There is no one formulation for all.
What is your opinion about the increasing participation of men in the beauty industry?
It is not surprising. In the creative arts, men have been using make-up for centuries. What we are currently experiencing is an increase in creative energy on the planet. And, it’s a force that’s translating into everyday habits that weren’t so common in the past.
How do you handle criticism?
Hopefully, with grace. Although it is not always easy, one should not take oneself too seriously, lest one’s ego be in control. I think humanity’s biggest problem has to do with ego.
Some people think that regular use of makeup is harmful to the skin. What is your opinion on that?
This is definitely not true. Using make-up is no more harmful than regular use of body lotions, powders, hair creams or other beauty products. Just as one tries to be intentional about putting the right things on one’s body, one should be intentional about a make-up choice. Problems arise only if one has poor hygiene. Make-up should be removed carefully and thoroughly every night before going to bed.
Why did you choose to study medicine?
For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a doctor. For this reason, I devoted myself in secondary school only to the subjects necessary to study medicine. However, halfway through medical school, I asked myself, ‘Why am I doing this’? I like the logical and sequential nature of medical science, but I did not enjoy working as a doctor. It made me realize the importance of trying different things at a young age, so one gets to know what one’s passion is and doesn’t just stick to a certain path for any primal reason.
What was the highlight of your time as a Diploma in Practical Dermatology student at the University of Wales, Cardiff?
It was an interesting time, but the highlight was passing the final exam.
Which brand building and promotion strategies work for you?
Most important is building strategic alliances; A type of trade by barter. I make a price offer, and the other side brings something I don’t have on the table. Together, we can go further and grow faster.
From your experience, what is the most common mistake when applying make up?
One would probably think that the more it (make-up) on one’s face, the better it looks. Nothing could be further from the truth.
What is your most memorable childhood experience?
There are many of them, but one that stands out is from when I was about nine years old. I got a new pair of shoes that I really liked. I especially remember how much the smell of new leather stuck with me when I slept with the shoes next to me. Sometimes, I wonder if this sparked my lifelong obsession with leather goods.
If you had a dessert with only three items, which item would you have?
I’ll take a wide-brimmed sun hat, the biggest water bottle I can carry, and if allowed, my cell phone.
What advice do you have for others who want to go into the beauty business?
Sell what you know. As women, we have a significant advantage because we can sample our products and services. Also, you should use what you sell and know it fully. If you like the product, you can sell it.
How do you calm down?
I love to watch television. I can lose myself for hours in a good show with a compelling story. I hate reality TV though. I watch TV to tell stories; Not to see how other ordinary people are living their daily lives.