The Nigerian Beauty/Cosmetic industry is a budding one yet very promising and full of great potentials. One of the new comers to the scene is Arami Essentials, which is known for its uniqueness and simplicity. In this interview, the Founder, Ore Runsewe, talks about her humble beginnings, the beauty/ cosmetic industry and a lot more.
The Next Edition: What was your inspiration to go into skin care?
I founded Arami, which means ‘my body’ in Yoruba in 2016. Arami was founded to provide natural hair and skin care alternatives for women, for people who need a simple routine. I actually started looking for natural alternatives for myself upon moving back to Nigeria in 2014. I needed to find brands that would work for me and that were in the Nigerian market because I didn’t want to be completely dependent on people travelling back and forth from abroad. This led me to seek out different brands, natural alternatives. I started looking into shea butter, African black soap, and things like that. I was actually using these things for myself initially and then it became something that people around me started noticing what I was making for myself and because I have decent skin, they kept asking what I used and then they encouraged me to monetize it and make it into a business which is what I did.
The Next Edition: How do you source for your materials?
I have a couple of suppliers across the country. I found them through research, speaking with people who have already worked in the industry, through networking I just met different people that could assist in this way.. That was how I began using the suppliers I started out with. One of my suppliers I’ve used since I started, I’ve changed a few things but I have one main supplier I have been using since inception.
The Next Edition: The line has a total of five products, with a sixth coming soon, which product would you recommend to a new user who is skeptical of trying out new brands? Which is your favorite product?
My favorite product would be the glow oil. It’s my favorite because it’s our first product. It is simply just a body oil, you can use it on your face as well as your hair. I like it because I don’t think there’s anything like it, it’s very unique to us. It is made primarily from shea oil, which is not the same as shea butter. It’s actually extracted while they make shea butter. It doesn’t solidify and it has higher antioxidant properties, which mean it heals your skin quicker than shea butter. I just think it’s one of those rare unknown amazing ingredients that we were able to stumble upon. It is actually one of our best sellers.
The Next Edition: So it doesn’t have a sheen to it, like most oils do especially for our weather?
It is a very light oil and it is not greasy at all. It’s something you just work into your skin as soon as you come out of the shower and it locks in the moisture. I use it every day and I don’t have the ‘skin shine’ issues.
The Next Edition: Who do you look up to in the same line of business, both locally and internationally?
Locally and internationally, people I look up to are brands that are not necessarily within the skincare space. For me, branding is really important. It’s not really just about the product, it’s about how you present it. You could have a great product and poor branding and no one will know about your product. You could also have a very bad product and amazing branding and everyone will still like to buy it. In the beauty and cosmetics industry, packaging matters. We strive to have a middle ground, good product and branding but I love brands that are really focused on building their brand presence and how people perceive them because thus enables people to have an experience. I really want people to have an experience when dealing with Arami rather than just ‘I bought this off the shelf of a store.’
The Next Edition: Can you tell us something that is distinctly Arami? What do you feel stands Arami out?
What makes Arami unique is our simplicity. Arami from the packing has very minimal, simple but clean design. That also translates into the things we use within our products, our ingredients are very simple. They are things you can pronounce and understand what they are. They are things that you can Google and find out their benefits so you don’t worry about what you are putting on your skin. The whole ethos of the brand is to have a unique simplicity designed to work. Everything in our brand is unique and simple yet designed to work. It flows back to what I said about branding, we want our products to be attractive, uniquely simple but they have to work.
Next Edition: What inspires you to hang on in the business when it is rocky?
I know people say that to whatever they are asked but my saying it is because it is actually what it is. I feel that I have been guided into this because of my relationship with God and, therefore, I’m not worried about tomorrow. I know that God only starts something that he is going to finish. With this I am able to push on everyday no matter the challenges I am facing because I know that there is someone looking out for me. Another thing is I know I am in this for the long haul, this has passed just being a passion, my purpose lies here.
Next Edition: Where do you see Arami in five, ten years from now?
I want Arami to be a platform for the Nigerian beauty industry globally. I want Arami to represent beauty brands in the African beauty space and actually be a platform from which other brands and enterprises leverage off to reach a global space. There’s always been a rise in the industry and there will always be a rise in the cosmetics industry, but I feel like we’ve come to a point where Nigeria needs to take it to its rightful place in the forefront. All the ingredients used in Arami products are actually used in global brands as well. They come here to get the raw materials, take them out and process them then sell back to us at exorbitant rates. We need to become a powerhouse where we are actually growing the ingredients, processing them and sending it to them for the right amount to grow our economy. Agriculture has been stated as one of the key constituents of our growing economy and this is really where we fit into because our ingredients are grown here and are agriculturally sound. We would like to be at the forefront of this industry.