Beatrice Eneh is an Entrepreneur with global experience working with organisations across industries. She is the Founder/CEO of Nectar Beauty Hub, Apples and Oranges Total Body Therapy. In this interview with ENIOLA DANIEL at the 2022 Beauty West Africa Exhibition in Lagos, the beauty entrepreneur shared her experiences and desire so see a well-structured beauty industry in Nigeria.
What led to your decision to abandon engineering for the beauty industry?
Beauty for example, although not known to many, is actually identical to technology. Beauty is evolving and innovation right now is on a monthly basis. The issue at stake now in Nigeria and Africa as a whole is that the global industry is moving a lot faster, but people cannot identify with the technology that supports innovation in the beauty industry.
So, for me, having a background in engineering, logistics and supply chain has been critical to my success as a beauty entrepreneur. I look at it as being vertically integrated, and experiences from manufacturing to distribution to retail and even to the service arm of my several businesses have made it such that I can fuse this together; put the pieces together and identify exactly what the industry needs.
What attracted you to the beauty industry?
Reflecting on it, as children, we do things without knowing at that point what the future holds. As a young girl below the age of 10, I usually take care of my mother’s feet without her asking me to do so; I would tell her that her eyebrow was old school. I did those things without realising that it would spur my interest in the beauty industry, even after I studied engineering, worked as an engineer, highly paid as a global supply chain designer advisor for Shell Chemicals in Houston. That passion propelled me when I saw the gap in Nigeria; it was just an easy fix to say I wanted to do this.
Did you participate in any beauty contests as a young girl in school?
I was more of a Further mathematics champion, engineering and technology student. I’m really interested in the soft side of beauty; the service side, and the attitude that is required to deliver the excellence that beauty demand, so people don’t just see the beauty industry as just something for people that are not educated.
How long have you been playing in this sector?
My experience in the beauty industry spans about 12 years now.
As a stakeholder in the industry, what do you consider the biggest achievement in the last 10 years?
A lot has changed in the last 10 years. Many people can relate to the changes in the makeup industry more than the hair, spa, skincare and distribution arm of the industry; we still have a long way to go. Nigeria’s beauty industry and Africa as a whole are not where they should be, but there’s a lot of potential, because Africa loves beauty.
Nigerian women love to be beautiful. But is it standardised? Are we as professional as we should be? There’s a lot of work to be done, but we are getting there gradually. So many sectors of the industry, which are segmented, still have a lot of work to do. The nail, hair care industry and others are still fragmented and unstructured. There is still a gap in the beauty industry, and that’s why we are here to showcase and introduce the Laroche Posay brand on behalf of the L’Oreal active cosmetic division from Paris.
What makes your brand different from others?
We’ve been able to create a name that any partnership with Beatrice Eneh is coming from the source and of quality. We ensure that we investigate products we promote; we deal with manufacturers, we are affiliated with the lab and the research behind the scene, we look at the skin efficacy and the scientific research that back up this product, and analyse it to ensure that they are evidence-based. Not just for the Caucasian skin, but for the African skin and tested on African soil by Africans.
What’s your projection for the Nigerian beauty industry and how do you guide against quackery?
The beauty industry will double in the next three years. Quarks and fake products in the market are a result of an unstructured industry. I am collaborating with several stakeholders to come together and raise our voices to say Nigerians deserve quality; get people to realise that substandard product is very expensive and the need for them to get products that are good for their skin, because the skin is the largest organ in the body.
Could you share with us about your life as an engineer and beauty expert?
My design input and engineering background came a lot into play. No knowledge is a waste; there’s a fusion for everything in the world.
My engineering background, being a statistics expert, a data expert, supply chain expert helped me become a better business person, because I’m able to distil issues, present issues and look at the numbers while doing every part of the business.
Did you find it challenging moving from engineering to the beauty world?
It’s seamless, because beauty is my passion. I see challenges and do not dwell on them; I ignore them, because they are distractions. I focus on the opportunities and surmount the challenges.
Everything is structured in the United States and one may struggle to create a new thing, but here, there are new things to create. There are many opportunities amidst the mess. One needs the vision to do that.
Over the years, I’ve been able to talk to people about my vision and they bought into it. Multichoice and Oando gave us support; they helped us execute and showcase the vision. Over the years, we have success stories of people who have actually used proceeds from our sponsors to set up their businesses.
What has been your contribution to the beauty industry in Nigeria so far?
I’ve shaped the industry by creating employment. I started Apples and Oranges Spa in 2012. It started in one location and we are now in four locations, the number of employees across the centres is over 150, trained by me multiple times over the years. I also founded Nectar Beauty Hub and have trained over 2000 people over the years. So, my own part has been a contribution towards technology transfer.
I’ve also effected and strategically initiated the training of 12 Nigerians in Dubai. I’ve been able to bring over 30 international brands to Nigeria, not just for them to sell their products, but also for them to transfer technology.
Are you making more money now as a beautician than you did as an engineer?
It’s difficult for me to separate the two because it’s vertically integrated. I’m involved in manufacturing parts of beauty, down to the service part of it. Without engineering, I wouldn’t have been able to fuse it together.