BN Making It! is a BN feature focused on young entrepreneurs.
BellaNaija.com launched BN Making It! in 2009 and we are hoping to spotlight more upcoming entrepreneurs in 2011 and beyond. We will feature young African entrepreneurs both at home and in diaspora who are making an impact in their chosen fields. Technology, Non-Profit, Fashion, Media, PR, Music and everything else. From those who are just starting their first company to young Africans who have their companies listed on the stock market. The purpose of this feature is to promote and encourage entrepreneurship among young Africans. We aim to inspire the next generation to be enterprise builders.
For this edition of BN Making It!, we caught up with Gbemisola Ogunyomi, the CEO of the Aesthetics Beauty & Fashion Company. Damilare Aiki conducted the interview and exclaims that “Gbemisola is a woman who doesn’t take NO for an answer. (She is) hardworking, skilled and will most likely be one of the leading women in the beauty industry worldwide.”
25 year old entrepreneur Gbemisola Ogunyomi comes from a family of engineers. She is currently a senior petroleum engineer for a major oil company in the United States and is also the CEO of The Aesthetics Beauty and Fashion Company.
Her current career path and entrepreneurial pursuits were shaped by her education, personal interest and passion, starting with her primary school education at the Corona School in Victoria Island Lagos then Queens College Lagos and finally in the United States where she earned a Honors Bachelors of Science and Masters degree in Petroleum Engineering with an emphasis in Chemical Engineering, Engineering Management and Geology.
An Early Start
Growing up as a young girl in Nigeria, I quickly discovered that there seemed to be this unwritten law that all men were entitled to be successful Engineers, Lawyers, Doctors e.t.c and all women had a choice to be either teachers or housewives who depended fully on their husbands for income. At a very young age, I decided that I would become an engineer and prove to myself and my society that women are intelligent and also have the ability to become highly successful.
Engineering vs. Entrepreneurship
What is interesting about my journey to success is that after making the decision to become an engineer, I later discovered a stronger passion and desire in me to become an entrepreneur. This desire sprung from my immense passion for beauty, color, art and design. I remember as a teenager I would take my mothers makeup bag, any beauty magazine I found around the house, lock myself up in the bathroom and try my best to recreate the makeup looks I saw on the models in the magazine. I must admit at the time I was terrible but I kept trying and very soon got much better at it. As a college student, I always volunteered to do other ladies makeup for free and get them styled up and looking pretty for special events. While working as an engineer, I took time out on the weekends to go from one beauty salon/spa to the next and volunteer to do other women’s makeup for free to improve on my makeup artistry. I usually got tipped any where from $5, $10 to $15 from each person.After a couple years I soon became sought after in my community and found myself participating in fashion shows, weddings, music videos, photo shoots e.t.c as the official makeup artist and stylist on the scene. I studied under two renowned professional makeup artists and highly successful entrepreneurs who also taught me the business side of things. This helped a great deal in the creation of my Aesthetics Beauty & Fashion Company and well, as they say the rest is history.
The Aesthetics Beauty & Fashion Company
The Aesthetics Beauty & Fashion Company is a Private Label Multi-Level Marketing Business Brand I created. Aesthetics ushers in a new era in color cosmetics, organic natural skin and hair care products and custom made fashion apparel for women. The Aesthetics Cosmetics product line provides high performance quality makeup coupled with professional, durable, makeup tools that enable easy makeup application at a very affordable price. The Aesthetics Red Wine and Blueberries Organic Skin and Hair Care Collection is an organic and herbal extract skin and hair care product line developed from red wine extracts, blueberries and other wild crafted organic ingredients planted and harvested in the United States specifically for Aesthetics Cosmetics (our Spa Collection will be debut in New York on the 17th of September 2011). Our Fashion Label includes distinct custom handmade Rhinestone and Pearl High Fashion Shoes & Accessories designed by me.
Entrepreneurial “Push” & Inspiration
Starting my own company was something I had thought about for a while. I put together the blueprint of the company a while back but never got the urge to just go ahead and start it up. As a freelance makeup artist, I got highly frustrated and disappointed in the deliverability of the cosmetic products available to consumers such as myself. Most cosmetic products were either cheap and lack true color pigmentation and intensity thereby requiring consumers to stack layer upon layer of product to achieve desired results. This was especially the case for my fellow dark skinned girls. Other products that delivered were just simply over priced in my opinion. In my frustrations, I decided that one day I would create a cosmetics brand that catered to all women but most especially my fellow women of color.
As fate would have it, in 2007 the great recession hit America. Millions of Americans lost their jobs and property. Privileged to still have a job during this major recession, I decided to use the resources available to me from my full time job to turn my long time dream into a business enterprise that will serve as the #1 “One Stop Shop” for women and also provide job opportunities for members of my community who were out of employment. This decision to become an entrepreneur gave me the opportunity to live out my dreams while helping others and also multiply my income while still working as an engineer. To me, that was definitely a win-win situation.
The Journey So Far
Surprisingly, since the luncheon of my company in 2010; The Aesthetics Signature Collection has been endorsed by Miss America 2010’s Summerlin, featured at the Harvard University Fashion Show, AfriPro Houston, MoyeenMusic’s “Follow my Dream” video e.t.c. The Aesthetics Cosmetics Line of beauty products are currently retailed at various salons and spas in the United States, online and directly by independent sales consultants. In February 2011, we launched “The Aesthetics Makeup TV Channel” to provide women with access to FREE makeup & beauty tutorials online sponsored by professional and freelance makeup artists and beauticians located in the UK, USA and Canada. With over 100,000 views by customers and subscribers in less than 6 months of its release, Aesthetics has gained very strong momentum and has definitely over exceeded all of my expectations.
A Day In The Life of a Budding Entrepreneur
My day typically starts at 5:00 AM depending on if I have to supervise an engineering job at a field location or head out to the main office for work. Whatever the case may be I typically start my day off with my morning prayer, then I head out to the gym, eat, go to work and put in my 9 to 10 hr work day as an engineer. While I am at work, I receive notification on all orders placed by consumers on my website. All orders are completed and shipped out by the Aesthetics Sales Team. When I get back home from work, I usually give myself about an hour or two to relax. This 1 -2 hour period is considered my daily downtime for myself. Unfailingly by 8:00 PM I review updates from my team members on all things concerning Aesthetics and I work on my business from about 8:00PM up until midnight. I try my best to go to bed by midnight but most times I end up staying up as late as 2 or 3AM. I honestly don’t get much sleep on the weekdays. My weekends are when I typically catch up on rest. I have a very rigorous schedule but I love my life and what I do.
Finances – Funding, Revenue & Profits
Starting your own business is definitely not cheap. So when I started working as a Petroleum Engineer I decided to work really hard to make it to the top in a very short period of time as this will in turn provide me with the great amount of income I needed to invest in my own company. And that is exactly what I did to get the money to start up Aesthetics. Once I got the business up and running I started getting a ton of offers from venture capitalist firms, manufacturing companies, banks and other independent investors seeking partnership with my company.
My family which also includes my closest friends were very supportive of my decision to start my own company. My mom is my #1 Fan. She always says “Gbemi, my baby girl, You are a STAR”. She is my rock and I love her!. My dad is the “realist” of the family. We are very similar in that character. He calls me “Gbemi, Ms. Billionaire” and sings the “Money, Money, Money, Money” song when he sees me. He says things like “Gbemi, now that you have made your own Beauty and Fashion line, what’s next hun? Your own TV Show or Your own water?”. We always have a good laugh. As for my siblings, well we are the “FANTASTIC FIVE”!.
What’s funny is that my older brother and I decided to start our business ventures at the same time. He is currently an Advanced Geological Engineer who also works for a major oil company here in the U.S. So when I started up Aesthetics, he also decided to purchase a couple T-MOBILE franchise locations and real estate spread across the U.S. We ended up learning how to run our businesses together and encouraged each other through it all. The rest of my younger siblings (excluding my kid brother who is still in secondary school) are all nerds like me. They are also engineers and they show me immense love and support with pretty much anything I do. Even when they have no idea what I’m up to they are like “Gbemi, you know we have your back”. I always took it upon myself to be a good role model to them. We are all very close and very supportive of each other! I wouldn’t be where I am today without my family and that’s a FACT!.
The “Greatest Joy”
I would say my greatest joy is my “Travel Time”. I love, love, love to travel. I can find any excuse in the world to get on a plane. Aesthetics gives me the opportunity to travel frequently for business conferences, fashion shows, beauty events, weddings, e.t.c. This in turn enables me to meet great people, make new friends and expand my circle of influence. I also provide business consultation to other small business owners, which is very fulfilling. The Aesthetics Company is such a great blessing to me and I’m truly grateful to God for giving me the wisdom to establish such a great company.
Marketing & PR
Since I own a Multi-Level marketing business, a lot of the publicity for my business is done online through social media and directly by independent sales consultants.
The Aesthetics Beauty & Fashion Company Team
I work with a very large team which consists of my manufacturers, independent salon, store & spa owners, independent beauty sales consultants, my marketing team, lawyers, shipping agencies, e.t.c. We are definitely a large group and we are growing daily. I typically employ and recruit very hard working, smart, highly motivated and trust worthy individuals. I don’t like lazy people.
The Aesthetics Beauty & Fashion Company Woman
Our products are created for all women but I will say that majority of my regular customers are women who are very “Aesthetic” in nature. They are women who love looking fabulous, embrace their femininity, celebrate their individual beauty and are confident in their own skin. True Divas in my opinion!
Unique Value Proposition
That’s easy. One word, “Quality”. We work very hard at Aesthetics to develop high performance, top quality products for our customers. This is what we pride ourselves on and it is made evident in the volume of our return customers and huge referrals.
We sell directly via our website and also via our representatives. Products can be purchased online at Aesthetics website . If you are located outside the U.S, U.K and Canada you can contact us directly via their email address & Aesthetics BB Pins. Clients located in Nigeria can contact any of our representatives by phone.
Education & Entrepreneurship
Yes, I believe a college education is very important. I don’t think I will be where I am today without my college degree. Your education will always be an asset to you and can never be taken away from you. I learnt how to be a very sharp thinker and excellent communicator in college. With that being said there are people who have made it to the top as entrepreneurs without college degrees. So it’s up to each person to discover what works best for them in life.
Number one beauty item
Honestly, some “tic tacs” or some other type of breath mints. I could easily say your foundation or lip gloss but they are not as important as having minty fresh breath at all times. Bad breath is a conversation killer. You may be forgiven for not applying your mascara on your way out of the house but funky breath is very hard to forgive and forget. And this goes for both men and women.
We have events coming up on Saturday 17th and Saturday 24th September 2011. The first event takes place in New York on the 17th. It’s a fabulous sales event with 35% to 50% discounts on cosmetic items, raffle draws, makeovers and lots more. We will also be launching our new Aesthetics red wine and berries skin Hair Spa Collection. On the 24th of September 2011, we be at the 2011 Houston African Business Expo (HABE). It will be another exciting event! Free gifts with every purchase, fantastic sales on all cosmetic items and lots more. You can RSVP for both events via facebook.
Beauty – In & Out
To me, beauty is the combination of both the inner and outer beauty possessed by an individual. I believe it is great to look fabulous on the outside but your beauty within is even more powerful than your outward beauty. When you meet a woman who has a great personality, is smart, charismatic, elegant, has integrity and respect for herself (which are all attributes of her inner beauty), I believe these qualities make that woman even more attractive than what her physical appearance already exudes. That right there cannot be bought with money or covered with makeup and fancy clothes. It’s priceless.
Advice for Emerging Entrepreneurs
Believe in yourself and your ideas even if others don’t believe in you. Keep your eyes on the prize. Hold on tightly to your dreams. Work hard, remain focused, remember to be innovative and most importantly DON’T QUIT!
The “Quick Fire Round” (Basically, Random Questions!)
What is your favorite food? I love bread.
You will never be caught wearing? A fake leather jacket or a fake fur coat.
Your favorite movie of all time is? Men of Honor
If you were to be an animal which would it be? An Eagle
The two things you’ll never leave at home are? Blackberry and some cash
Your favorite beauty icon is? Mary Kay
What do you think of Bella Naija.com? Personally, I will say I am always the last to know what is going on especially about Nigerian affairs because I am not presently located in the country. So to me, Bella Naija serves as a daily online magazine which provides me with highlights on current events taking place in Nigeria.
Petroleum Engineering, Beauty Entrepreneurship, Makeup Artistry, What Else?
I also design exquisite couture shoes using pearl and rhinestone embellishments.
Makeup product reviews of Aesthetics Cosmetics done by Leticia (Miss Americas Summerlin), Linda (Makeup Artist) and Venus (Makeup Artist)
Aesthetics Beauty & Fashion Company
Contact Numbers: 5735872397 (U.S) | 07033788067 (Lagos, Island) | 08102723716(Lagos, Island) | 07057575765 (Lagos, Mainland) | 08075130932 (Abuja).
BB Pin: 22419924
Twitter Account: http://twitter.com/AestheticsCo
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=115562231801862
Aesthetics Makeup TV Channel: http://www.aestheticsbeautyshop.com/aesthetics-tv.html
Aesthetics Products can be purchased online at www.aestheticsbeautyshop.com.If you are located outside the U.S, U.K and Canada you can contact us directly at [email protected]; Aesthetics BB Pin 22419924 | Call 5735872397 (U.S) .Clients located in Nigeria can contact any of our representatives by phone 07033788067 (Lagos, Island) | 08102723716 (Lagos, Island) | 07057575765 (Lagos, Mainland) | 08075130932 (Abuja).
Aesthetics Job Opportunities for Independent Beauty Sales Consultants and Retailers
If you are a university student, if you are employed or unemployed, a retailer, a beauty salon/spa/store owner, makeup artist or simply someone looking for the opportunity to start up your own business with Aesthetics please feel free to contact the Aesthetics Multi-Level Marketing Team directly at [email protected] | BB Pin: 22419924 | Log on to www.aestheticsbeautyshop.com