Rounding up the year, we chatted with young people, asked them about their 2020 experiences – what went wrong, what went right and how they were able to survive the year. Olapeju Jolaoso, the founder of Abebiorganics, a Lagos based natural skin and hair care product line, told us how 2020 was a difficult year, and how the Flutterwave brand helped made it easier to bear. See the conversation below;
So, first things first, let us meet you.
Hi, my name is Olapeju Jolaoso. I am a graduate of the University of Ilorin, where I studied Geography and Environmental Management. I live in Lagos and I am the formulator and founder of Abebiorganics. That is what I do at the moment.
What about Abebiorganics? What is it about and why did you venture into it?
Abebiorganics is a natural based skincare and haircare store that focuses on treating skin and hair issues. We focus on helping you achieve clear skin and healthy hair via natural based products, while providing tips and tricks to aid your skin and hair journey. My passion for making people love their melanin and natural hair, while treating them with love, care, patience, and gentleness led me into starting the Abebiorganics brand. I started this business in 2015 but registered it officially in 2017.
Now let us talk about the year 2020. What was your 2020 experience like?
Omo! 2020. I had a lot of plans for 2020. Coincidentally it was my National Youth Service year, I wanted to work in a formal organization and do the 9-5 thing, just to get some sort of experience. I did that for a while and left.
You left? Why?
I left because I was not really enjoying the experience, 2020 was already beginning to look bleak and I just wanted to go back to making skin and hair care products while building the Abebiorganics brand.
So overall, how will you describe 2020?
Despite the challenges faced, 2020 was not so bad, it had some good parts, at least it forced me slow down and shift focus to my skin care and haircare business.
Ok, that is a good thing. The Covid-19 pandemic was the biggest disruptor of 2020, how did that affect you and your business?
When Covid started, obviously it shocked everyone, and I was in a loop for like a month. I did not know what to do or how to proceed. First, due to the lockdown, logistics was affected and we could not deliver products. It also affected my customer base, because people’s incomes were depleted and customers could not buy products. Next, it was the twin evil of high prices and scarcity. Cost of supplies skyrocketed and then there was scarcity. This forced the me to pause and wait it out while looking for solutions. It was frustrating and it affected my mental health, but I was able to hold on.
So how were you able to survive the year and all that happened to you and your business?
2020 was not an easy year, however, there were some positives that made it easier to bear. Among these positives, opening a Flutterwave store for Abebiorganics and securing grants given out to small businesses by Flutterwave really stood out.
That is interesting. How were you selling before the Flutterwave store and what triggered your decision to open your own store?
Before the Flutterwave Store, Abebiorganics utilized social media to sell and display products. But to effectively run the business in the already turbulent 2020, there was a need to reduce work related stress and to introduce something new to our customers. This was when I got to know about the Flutterwave Store through Dammy B on Twitter. I immediately created my own store.
This is an interesting story, how will you describe your experience with the Flutterwave brand?
Flutterwave really helped to make 2020 a bearable year. We are enjoying the Flutterwave Store experience, the notifications we get when an order comes in really makes my heart flutter. It has reduced frustrating back and forth in the DM, and has given us more options to receive orders. With the Flutterwave store, receipts are automatically sent to our customers and it is easy to note down how much we are making. It has also made staying in touch with customers easy as the store has made it easy to create an email list. Asides the ease using the Flutterwave store, I also won two (2) grants from Flutterwave. All these really helped to reduce the stress and burden of running my business and that is one of the ways I was able to survive 2020.
So 2020 has come and gone, here we are in 2021. What are your expectations for 2021?
I am hopeful because really, if I do not have hope, what else can I have? lol. 2021 seems like a breath of fresh air and I intend to breathe it in to the fullest. This year, I intend to take more business risks. Risk is something I really shy away from; I love playing safe because I like to predict the outcome. I do not like it when I do not know what is going to happen next, but 2021, I intend to take more business risks and expand my business.
That is a great plan and good luck with that. It was great chatting with you. Thanks
Most of the people we chatted with, expressed various challenges, but one thing stood out; with a renewed hope, support from friends and family and brands like Flutterwave offering innovative solutions to its community, 2021 will be a better year and everyone will come out stronger together.