Soft spoken CEO of one the fastest rising Nigerian Skincare Brand Damini Beauty is one strong woman who is the perfect example of ‘when life throws you lemons, make some lemonade with an apple juice twist’. She started Damini Beauty with the conviction to solve her skin problems but ended up solving not just hers but that of other women and men.
Fascinated by her story, we interviewed her to learn more about the DAMINI brand.
MAY WE MEET YOU
My name is Damini Ajueyitsi. I am a biochemist, a skin care expert and a fashion designer. I address complex and challenging skin issues such as acne, hyper pigmentation and unhealthy skin using pure herbal home-made products. My target includes teens, men and women of all races who want to look and feel their natural best through herbs.
WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND DAMINI BEAUTY AND WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO START?
In the fall of 2016, I suffered a mental breakdown. I had just gotten out of an unhealthy relationship while treating a recurrent ovarian cyst, liver issues and hormonal imbalance. The whole trauma left me with a bad skin, cystic acne and hyper pigmentation which stopped responding to topical and antibiotic treatments. I settled back in Nigeria and went on a healing and cleansing journey via meditation, yoga and hiking. It was on one of those journeys that my memory went back to hiking trips I had with my grandmother. As a kid, we went hiking and picked herbs for treating skin ailments. I’ve used my grand mothers’ herbal recipes to banish acne from my skin. So far, I have been able to merge my knowledge of science with my grandmothers’ bush herbs which I call INESI to birth the brand DAMINI which focuses on using herbal and natural products to treat and eliminate skin issues for men and women suffering from rashes,eczema, cystic acne and more. So far, we’ve been tried, tested and trusted and we currently sell in 6 outlets in Lagos.
ASIDES FROM BEING A SKINCARE SPECIALIST, YOU ARE ALSO A FASHION DESIGNER. TELL US ABOUT THAT.
The Nigeria international clothing brand DAMINI-SUMMERS transcends Afro-western cultures through its use of African and Western fabric to create amazing designs for both genders. The brand has been operative since 2016 with stockists in Lagos and California. In 2013, I started out as a stylist at fashion shoots, ECOWAS fashion week, CHANNELS TV and
moved on to fashion retailing. I opened a boutique in Yaba and as the Nigerian economy crashed, I resorted to making my
own designs in Lagos because it was cheaper, and I could still satisfy my clients. Eventually, I decided to read and develop myself via online videos while sourcing for efficient tailors. In 2016 we debuted our SS17 collection at the DC FASHION WEEK, Washington DC and have displayed our collections at restaurants and party openings in and around NYC.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES OF STARTING AND SUSTAINING A BUSINESS IN THE NIGERIAN ECONOMIC CLIMATE?
• Getting a loan to fund your business is the biggest of them all. They make it look simple on the news but it’s a different game when you get to the banks/offices.
• Competition: Finding or creating your niche and proving your worth.
• Assuming multiple leadership roles is quite tasking because often times, start-ups cannot afford to pay for professional services, other times, we deal with incompetent employees, so we resort to be the jack of all trades just to get things done properly.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I am mostly inspired by risk. Calculated risk. Knowing that something might/will work/fail if I don’t strategize properly spurs my creative level.
WHERE DO YOU SEE DAMINI 5 YEARS FROM NOW?
We see our products distributed in small and big retail outlets across Africa and other continents.
CUSTOMER SERVICE IS STILL A FAR CRY WITH NIGERIAN COMPANIES WHEN COMPARED TO THEIR INTERNATIONAL COUNTERPARTS. HOW DO YOU HANDLE THAT SIDE OF YOUR BUSINESS?
I think we are doing well. DAMINI strives on transparency, results and recommendation. We have 6 social media channels to properly address enquiries, queries and consultation. From time to time, I do a follow up call/chat to our clients. We have a reputable logistics channel that handles fast delivery.
WE KNOW YOU LOVE SKINCARE. WHAT OTHER THINGS ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?
Travelling, hiking, cooking and surfing.
CELEBRITY OR ROYALTY
Getting a loan to fund your business is the biggest of them all. They make it look simple on the news but it’s a different game when you get to the banks/offices.