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Dare to dream big
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I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.
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ISOKO AFRICA means African Market in the Swahili Language and our vision is to influence your habits to Shop Africa every moment. We deliver to you the best and most authentic of Africa's Brands from Pan-African Companies ranging from Startups, Tech, Products, Services and Marketplaces that are dominating the Local Market with the niche to compete globally. Discover Stories, Podcasts and Marketplaces on our platform and join our community @isokoafrica on every social media.
There are different definitions to what beauty is and Majiri Otobo, the founder of Kui Care, found her definition in natural hair. It all started when she had to stop wearing hair extensions at work, as she worked in a food factory as a process engineer. She had to wear her natural hair constantly and in the long run discovered the beauty and versatility of the natural hair. But most importantly how completely underappreciated it is. This changed everything for Majiri and with the passion to aid others on their own natural-hair-journey in the African market, she birthed Kui Care. Kui started as an idea in 2013 and came to life on the 19th of August 2015.
Now, you may wonder what Kui stands for. It means Star in Ijaw, which is Majiri’s mother’s language. Her father, on the other hand, is from the Isoko tribe in Delta state, Nigeria, which makes her Isoko, too. I think it gets interesting now because we are writing about a brand from an Isoko lady on ISOKO Africa. Don’t get confused. Isoko is a tribe in Delta, Nigeria but ISOKO also means market in Swahili which is where we got our name.
About Majiri and the Kui Care Brand
Majiri studied Chemical Engineering while in school and identifies herself as a south-south girl who grew up in Lagos. She manages Kui Care, which is a personal care brand passionate about bringing out the star in you.
Here is what Majiri has to say about Kui Care: “Kui’s vision is to change the fabric of our society, to make products that are inspirational, aspirational, trusted and valued. To focus on our results being above and beyond expectations while maintaining honesty and an openness of our limitations. To control the integrity of our identity while building on the ideals of self-growth, love and appreciation”.
Kui Care has less than 10 people as their core team, most of which work in Onikan, Lagos, apart from the manufacturing site. They focus on the day to day business; from customer service to sales, marketing, accounting and logistics. There are also supporting staff for sales on a commission basis.
Who is Kui Care for?
Kui Care has Nigeria as a target audience, with the aim to grow and sell to the globe. Narrowing it down, Majiri says that she targets university students, office/shop workers and other people who are likely to appreciate natural hair products. Kui Care is for the person who wants to feel their hair come to life and be glad that they have discovered a local product they believe in.
Products and Packaging
Kui Care gets their raw materials from a number of countries in Asia, Europe, and Africa – specifically Nigeria.
Kui’s first products are the Tea Tree & Cinnamon range which consist of:
KUI Tea Tree & Cinnamon Moisturizing Shampoo; N1,500
KUI Tea Tree & Cinnamon Moisturizing Conditioner; N1,500
KUI Tea Tree & Cinnamon Moisturizing Leave-in Hair Mist; N1,200
KUI Tea Tree and Cinnamon Moisturizing Hair Cream; N1,000
You can get these four as a set at an RRP between N5000 and N6000. The products are sold in approximately 160 stores in Lagos and can be delivered worldwide via dressmeoutlet.com. They also have other major distributors like the SPAR supermarket, GAME, Hubmart, MedPlus among others. You can see more of their distributors on www.kuicare.com/stockists.
Here are a few things to know about Kui’s Tea Tree & Cinnamon range:
Made to be the building blocks of soft, long and healthy natural hair
Designed to add maximum moisture to the hair strands while conditioning them
Consisting of antibacterial Tea Tree Oil which helps to fight against dandruff and Cinnamon which aids hair growth
The hair cream contains cold-pressed Shea butter, which benefits the hair greatly
The leave-in mist contains Aloe Vera for added benefit
The products come with the green feel, with the teal of the label representing the sea and the cap of the conditioner representing the sun with its yellow colour. Kui Care products are packaged with the intention of conveying a good global standard quality product, yet not looking overtly exorbitant. They make this happen by working with the right manufacturers who care about and can produce a consistently high level of quality packaging.
Majiri opens up to us on how the exchange rate affects the pricing of the Kui Care products. This is because some of the raw materials are imported, as they are not readily available locally. It also affects the packaging, as the plastic manufacturers have to increase their prices since the raw materials used are imported. Regardless, Majiri still tries to buy other products available locally, like the Shea Butter used in the hair cream.
How Kui Care Contributes to the Growth of Africa
After Majiri started her natural hair journey, she noticed that there were not enough quality products designed for natural hair that are affordable to the African community. So she decided to produce a product of international standards and quality at a reasonably affordable price that would help pamper your hair. This encourages more people in Africa to grow their natural hair and take care of it in the best way – without having to break the bank.
Kui Care is produced in Nigeria thus helping to create local jobs which in turn helps the economy and adds value to the currency.
Majiri sees Kui Care in the nearest future as an established household brand in Nigeria, Africa and beyond. They intend to do this by increasing awareness and by producing more products for hair and also the body. The hope is to become a company their customers will be excited to buy from and tell their friends about.
Kui Care isn’t stopping anytime soon, as they constantly promote their products via the use of social media. They also constantly share reviews of their products from customers on their social media platforms, which has yielded positive results. And on offline awareness, they make use of BRT advertising and any other means to ensure people get to know about them.
Four Ghanaians met at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST Africa), a technology incubator, and hit it off immediately. The reason; besides the fact that they are all technology enthusiasts they are passionate believers in their religion – Christianity. Each of them was also actively involved in their respective local churches.
The end product of this meeting is Asoriba, a web-based management platform for church administration. It was primarily birthed from pooling their collective experiences about the problems African churches face and trying to solve some of them with technology.
The brains behind Asoriba: Nana Agyeman-Prempeh (CEO), Saviour Dzage, Jesse Johnson and Patrick Ohemeng Tutu called the app “a tool/ platform that allows churches to effectively manage, engage and connect with their members”.
Century old problems, 21st century solution
Religious institutions characteristically come off as archaic and rigid. Rightfully so too, as some of the core tenets are entrenched in century old customs and technologies. Time and time again; apologists, skeptics, adherents and bystanders have had debates about whether these tenets should evolve with time and technology. Or stay rigid and retain their orthodoxy. It is a tough nut to crack.
In one such discussions an acquaintance told me that the idea of churches using Point Of Sale (POS) terminals as a means of collecting tithes and offerings was rather desperate. But given the rise of technology and the diversification into cashless economies, isn’t ensuring that churchgoers can give their offerings easily, in itself, an act of service?
Asoriba’s creators, by making the app, seem to share my opinion – or at least a variant of it.
The heart of this web and mobile application is giving a technology based solution to some of the African church’s problems. These include: managing membership data and finances, easy communication with members and real time information about events and programmes.
As a church member you can download your church devotionals from the app, watch a live stream and download services. You can give tithes, offerings and pledges, receive event notices, send prayer requests and communicate with other church members. This last feature is perhaps the most impressive of all. It allows Christians to talk about sensitive issues bordering on life, money, health, sex and spirituality. Topics they might feel self conscious about and unsafe to say elsewhere. Kind of like a Christian-only Facebook.
As a church administrator or leader you can manage and monitor member data, church finances and attendance. You can receive notifications on member birthdays and special functions, track prayer request history. There are also features to manage the different branches under your church by transferring workers to other branches or groups, give out instructions in real time and do follow ups on new members.
The platform is basically a virtual assistant.
Get on the wave
All you have to do is go to the website at Asoriba.com, register your church and urge your members to download the app and connect. It is as easy as that. For churches with 100 members and below it is even free!
The app is available at the Google Play Store, the iOS store, and the Microsoft Store.
Service to humanity
Every business thrives on profit and needs money to survive, but beyond that there is a deeply inspiring ideology to the App. Nana described Asoriba as “a Christian technology company setup to win more souls, using technology as a tool”. Showing the company as sincerely service driven, with very serious religious undertones.
“We want to be able to know people came to Christ through our tools/ platform and we want to be able to account for the number of these people who got to know Gods word through us”, he said. Maybe that is where religion needs to be – in a place where it encourages technology and doesn’t see it as a competition of sorts.
The team at Asoriba ultimately believe that “Church should go beyond the typical Sunday service” and they want to “put your entire church experience in your hands everyday and everywhere.”
In 2009, Fred Deegbe, a trendy banker and shoe enthusiast wondered if some of the shoes he often bought from European and American shoe-makers could be made in his home country – Ghana.
A nearby shoeshine boy, some of his friends and family members said that it was impossible. This did not deter Fred, however, and in two years he quit his job and partnered with a friend, Vijay Manu, to start the HEEL THE WORLD brand. He has not looked back since.
HEEL THE WORLD makes bespoke, high-end shoes and leather accessories. Based in Accra, Ghana, the company is tailored after the founder’s vision which seeks to make the equivalent of the high-end shoes that Africans patronise from European and American stores to “kick Hermes and Louis Vuitton off their perch”. In an interview with CNN, Deegbe said, “They [Africans] want their friends to ask them, ‘Where did you buy that?’ and they say, ‘No, we made it; we made it in a garage, in Accra, with our own hands” inadvertently tapping into a teeming-but-ignored market.
HEEL THE WORLD shoes are handmade and bespoke, which means that finding your size or preferred style will not be an issue. You can simply take the reins and help craft the perfect shoes for yourself – with expert help of course. From handcrafting the shoes with locally sourced materials to importing the unavailable ones, HEEL THE WORLD’S brand ethos is clearly and purposefully reflected in every shoe, combining the tenets of creativity, excellence and dynamism.
Some of the Shoes
HEEL THE WORLD is also a social enterprise. Aside from making shoes that Africans can wear and be proud of, the founders also wanted a humanitarian aspect to the brand. “We want to be a brand that lets people around the world know that there is something incredible happening in Africa”, said Deegbe in an interview with Ayibamagazine. Therefore they decided to encourage and empower young Africans by launching a consultancy angle for smaller start-ups. They also launched a line of “empowerment beads” to show the importance of hard work and its resultant success. The black beads show work or struggle, while the singular gold bead represents the reward.
The Empowerment Beads
Products and Pricing:
HEEL THE WORLD primarily makes male dress shoes: From loafers to Oxfords, to brogues and monk straps, there is something in their catalogue for you. These go for between $100 and $300 depending on your choice. Besides the primary products, they also make leather accessories like belts, slippers, sandals, wallets and purses. The prices of the accessories range from $50 to $150.
To check their catalogue and purchase a pair of shoes you can visit their website at htwshoes.bigcartel.com and order a pair, or visit the physical store, off Oxford street, Osu, Accra, Ghana.
Thrive Agric was officially launched by Uka Eje and Ayo Arikawe in July 2017, after its beta launch towards the end of 2016.
Thrive Agric is a “technology-driven agricultural company” with a passion for growth in agriculture, putting farmers first. The idea is to get smallholder farmers who need investment to help their business thrive and then provide them with the best equipment for their farms. This includes machinery, data-driven advisory and free access to premium markets. They get the funds by crowdfunding from people who show interest in supporting agriculture.
Their Core Values
How it all Started
Uka Eje, who is currently the CEO of Thrive Agric, worked with smallholder farmers for six years. This gave him insights on how things worked in the farming sector, including the challenges faced.
Soon after graduating from University, Uka Eje and his co-founder Ayo Arikawe, built a supply chain for farmers in Northern Nigeria. Four years they followed the data of post-harvest losses with other companies nationwide. During these years they noticed a few major challenges farmers face, including:
No access to better inputs
Low yield due to limited opportunities
On the other side of the coin are people in urban areas who seem to be interested in agriculture, but lack the time and skill to make it work.
Merging these two parties and their barriers, Uka and Ayo decided to launch a platform that will address both ends, and today we have Thrive Agric.
About the Farms
There’s a section for farms on the website where you can choose the farm you would like to invest in. Prices range from N80,000 to N260,000.
How it Works
Create an account on thriveagric.com
Choose a farm
Get updates in your mail
Get returns after a period of time
They make use of the 40:40:20 profit sharing model. 40% of the profits go to farmers, 40% to subscribers, and 20% to the company.
Thrive Agric has been able to fund over 4000 farmers in 12 states in Nigeria alone.
Uka Eje attests that a few months into 2018, the company has grown 10X by all the metrics used to measure their success and impact.
They are currently working on expanding to other markets.
Farmers now make more yields which helps the company progress daily.
How Thrive Agric is Contributing to Agriculture in Africa
It is easy to think agriculture is about to go extinct, considering how a lot of people shy away from it today. But you would be surprised how many people are willing to see it thrive, but are limited by circumstances or opportunities. Thrive Agric is that platform many people needed and if it continues in its mission to break barriers and propagate farming, many people in Africa will embrace agriculture better. Either as a subscriber or as a farmer.
Uka Eje has been meeting with other teams across Africa, following the Google Launchpad Accelerator that they were a part of. This has given him clearer insights into the challenges the continent is facing and will contribute to how he will implement ways to make Thrive Agric benefit not just Nigeria, but Africa at large.
There has been an increasing interest in agriculture and Uka attributes this to government interventions, international organizations and stakeholders.
Thrive Agric has a goal to reach out to other African countries, work with a million farmers and implement the best technology to easily and effectively help them achieve their dreams.
Contact and Connect with Thrive Agric
Thrive Agric is located at 29, Mambilla close, off Aso Drive Maitama, Abuja, Nigeria.
To be a part of the community simply log on to their website thriveagric.com. You can also contact them at +234 (0) 816 716 4014, send a mail or connect with them on their social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Women all over the world are standing up to be counted in all spheres of human endeavour. Tara-Jayne Manufor is one of these women! Her line of beauty products, Bougëë Beauty Cosmetics is independent brand to watch out for! In her own words: “Bougëë Beauty Cosmetics was created as an expression for everything glamorous. All of us women like to hold ourselves as ‘bad and boujee’. I wanted to create a line that incorporates this movement.”
Nigerian born Tara-Jayne Manufor, the CEO of the cosmetic brand Bougëë Beauty, is one of them. Tara-Jayne has always loved lipsticks, lip glosses and lashes so much, she wanted to create her own colours and have a brand where “everything is popping”! So she decided to create a brand that could cater for women in her category.The UK based CEO presently works in the property industry, managing properties and facilities. She co-owns the clothing line Amèn London and has a degree in creative writing. She is also a trained scriptwriter for films and theatre!
Bougëë Beauty Cosmetics was launched in London, UK in December 2017. It boasts of exquisite quality and long lasting, cruelty free Matte Liquid Lipsticks and 3D Real Mink Lashes. It’s a brand made for women who want to feel glamorous and take pride in their appearance while feeling their best at all times.
In the month of June 2018, Bougëë Beauty Cosmetics will launch its range of lip stains in Nigeria at all Hubmart stores. In the coming months, the African brand is looking at expanding their lash range and add more vibrant colors in the lipstick collection. The lip stain comes in six glamorous shades namely Loyalty, Badass Mama, Dazzle Dazzle, Brazen Beauty, Nudicious and Simplicity!
The Lip Stains sell for £12.50 each, while the Mink Lash is sold for £10 each. All products are available via the online shop www.bougeebeauty.com. Shipping is available worldwide. You can also connect with the brand on their social media platforms.
Facebook: Bougee Beauty
Bougëë Beauty Cosmetics is very particular about the standard of their products. The brand is against any form of animal testing and paraben-free. Tara-Jayne works alongside a lab in Europe to produce and choose all the lip colours and lash styles. She also tests all products herself so as to make sure customers receive the best value for money.
At the heart of the Bougëë Beauty Brand is the notion to create a brand that can give back to society! For this they have commited to donating 10% of all annual profits to nominated charities around the world.
Bougëë prospects massive growth this year. Tara-Jayne is saying she wants “more people to know about our products which will result in more sales. That will mean more money can be donated to those most in need. Being able to be a blessing onto others means a lot to me and is my driving force for success.”