Revealed: How a Physicist-turned-Entrepreneur grew her business from 2000 NGN to a 6-figure business!
Unlike some who always knew what they wanted from the word “GO”, Morenike’s journey of being a soap manufacturer wasn’t one she envisioned as young child. Never in her wildest dream did it cross her mind that one day she would become a soap manufacturer whose brand is duly approved by NAFDAC, has presence in South West Nigeria and gracing the shelfs of major stores in Lagos, Nigeria!
She credits the achievement of this feat to what her mum told her as a young girl and a decision she made during her National Youth Service Corp program in 2009.
As young graduate of Physics from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Morenike Oluyemi, CEO of Femnix Soaps always knew that she wasn’t going to be dependent on traditional employment – she wanted to have her own business. This lifelong aspiration was inspired in part by her dad’s job loss, her mum’s advice as a child and her innate desire to be her own boss while also contributing her quota in reducing youth unemployment in Nigeria!
In her own words, “my childhood was fun, full of life and aspiration. I hail from a little town in Ikole local government named Isaba-ekiti (yes, very rural) and was born into a home where my dad lost his job so early. After his job loss, he rejected all other offers of employment because he wanted to stay close to his family so he resorted to farming. I can remember our vegetable farm was always full of resellers who were ready to buy and take to the marketplace. My parents made money from farming but it wasn’t enough. One day, they decided to start the first small scale garri (made from cassava) processing unit in my entire LGA. I grew learning how to produce garri from start to finish, packaging into bags and ship to northern parts of the country. I was privileged to attend a very beautiful secondary school and during the holiday, I assisted my parents in our garri processing center. During those formative years, my mum always emphasized to me ‘omo mi (my child) hard work pays. Omo mi, when you marry don’t depend on your salary alone. You should always do business, be enterprising, and always maintain your integrity when dealing with people just like your dad’. I would nod my head and say ‘mummy, I hear you.’ When the time came to choose a career I initially wanted to be a Medical Doctor until I found myself studying Physics. I tried repeatedly to change but it didn’t happen so I resigned to fate, worked hard, graduated and also pursued a Master’s degree in Geophysics from the University of Lagos.
On how she started soap manufacturing, she said it all began during service year in Imo State when she met a brother in church who was into soap production. She approached him to teach her and she was billed 5000 NGN even though her allowee (monthly stipend) was only 9775 NGN. That decision and action was the beginning of the beginning!
“The journey began from there. After my service year, I returned back to Lagos to start my soap manufacturing business with 2000 NGN. My aunty was my first customer and she introduced me to her drycleaner. I also shared samples to some car wash centers who were willing to try it out”, she said.
Mo did this alongside paid employment with MTN Nigeria in 2011 and an oil servicing firm in 2013. The business registered in 2015 but couldn’t grace the shelves due to lack of an approved NAFDAC number. This didn’t serve as a deterrent to her determination. Rather it fueled it and decided to go through the rigorous process while still selling to trusted family and friends!
After about a year of hard work, persistence and perseverance, she got the much-needed NAFDAC approval in May, 2016. Her husband, also had a huge role to play. He went above and beyond supporting her and investing in soap mixing equipment while also helping her deal with tough times.
“He’ll stay awake late at night to help me put stickers on the bottles. He encourages me and always has my back. I love him so much!” says Morenike.
On what has made a difference in her life and what keeps her going, she had this to say.
“I have always seen my husband and mum as my mentors but I needed some more. I came across a group on Facebook named Onpoint Small Business Success (OSBS) and I requested to join so I could advertise my products. Upon joining, I discovered I couldn’t advertise my soap which made me upset but kept reading the value adding posts on the group. One day, a post came up about volunteering for the “Passion2Profit”, an empowerment program organized by OSBS. I decided to volunteer and paid through my nose to attend the event but guess what, it was worth the pay! A journey of self-discovery and personal development began from there. I found another mentor in Oluwaseun Akinlotan who has since then guided me through my business growth. I joined the OSBS Elite program and Oluwaseun insisted I must start reading and so far, I have been able to read 5 books this year. She also came up with the idea of rebranding after my NAFDAC registration pulled through in May. I started rebranding in June 2016 and just recently been completed with the exception of the dish wash.”
The journey of building a soap manufacturing company from almost nothing into a 6-figure business for Mo (as she’s popularly called) has been rewarding but not devoid of bumps.
On what she’s really proud of –
“I have been able to grow my 2000 NGN startup to a 6-figure business and also having my range of products in the market space.”
On her current challenges –
“Lack of fund for expansion, breaking into the market, required certification, market penetration, rejection and staffing.”
On her vision for the next 5 years –
“I see Femnix’s range of products becoming the first name that comes to mind when it comes to cleaning.”
On a quote that keeps her fired up –
“It is better to lead your day than to live for your day.”
Her advice for upcoming entrepreneurs –
“Never give up on your dreams. Distractions and challenges will come but focus on the finished line. Quality+ determination+ commitment+ desire+ hard work + focus+ persistence = results.”
Mo is married to her husband Felix and together they are parents to a beautiful daughter. In addition to her Bachelor’s degree, she holds a M.Sc. in Geophysics from the University of Lagos. She’s highly energetic and resourceful.
To connect with her, become a distributor or retailer of any of her current range of products (laundry wash , toilet wash, and car wash), kindly send her an email or call +2348060407301/+2348137431182. You can also follow her on Facebook, and Instagram.
Thanks for reading!
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