Meeting Ehi in public one may not tell she is the brain behind SWEET KIWI because her humility is a 100% and you may also not know that she has a bold personality and pretty easy to relate with. The beautiful fair in complexioned BOSS was delighted to talk about everything passionately about her brand and herself alongside her contradictory personality. Enjoy the bits from EM’S DAMILOLA SHOTE:
Ehime Eigbe Akindele is the CEO/founder SWEET KIWI FROZEN YOGURT. Ehi schooled in England obtaining two different degrees (B.A ; B.S) before further proceeding to the U.S where she got a job and relocated to. There is a saying that urges people to see the solution in every problem that arises which was what Ehi did by taking the bull by the horn. She is a lover of frozen yogurt, “I fell in love with it because of the experience”. On getting to Nigeria she realized there was no where to find and satisfy her cravings so instead of complaining about the unavailability she decided to create one and over five(5) years down the line, it has been a success story for her and the team.
Ehi was inspired with the thought of it and the zeal to go for it by trying it. This set her apart with creating a perfect brand identification as no one was into the business when she ventured into it. “No doubt there can be competitors due to the subsection of the industry streamlined into events, desserts, catering and the likes. To have competition makes you more strategic and pushes you to do your best.
EM wanted to know how she strikes the balance of being a CEO and a wife, Ehi reveals that she used to take sweet kiwi issues home but has learnt to strike the balance to build her family by focusing on her husband and family once she gets home and leaves the business of sweet kiwi in her head and behind the door for the next day as that is the only she can adapt since sweet kiwi had become part of her life before her marriage. Balancing a job and a life is key to her in everything.
“You have to pursue whatever sets your soul on fire. Keep at it, one day at a time. Do not give up and you will find success”, this was her advice to young start-ups who would love to go into any business or such business as hers. She confessed that the economic situation has affected the business because most of the quality products used in the packaging of the services rendered are imported i.e. the spoons etc but the company has tried to cut down excesses by re-evaluating the standard while still delivering quality of the production as that cannot be compromised, but the company just has to find cheaper ways to operate.
Ehi described her style as closely observed by a friend which she stuck to as “controller entertainer”. It simply means while her life is about work and business, she is in control, could be bossy but still have fun times as she interacts and mingles well with people. “If you throw me into the ocean I will survive with the sharks”. The SWEET KIWI boss describes herself as a CONTRADICTION, with the way she strikes a balance with her personality.
In commemoration of the International Women’s Day, EM was delighted to know EHI’s thought on the theme. She believes for there to actually be a change in Nigeria, we need people to be more vocal about change. Not being ashamed to say how we feel, stand up for what is right not when it is convenient , not sometimes when people are not going to think that you are a trouble maker. To be bold for change it starts with your voice.
Looking at Wanneka, one can tell her entrepreneurship attitude is an inbuilt virtue she possesses, as she kept keeping track of deliveries and stock update while getting ready for her EM shoot. She can pass for a teen but amazingly she has two kids. She dropped out of school to nurse her first pregnancy and stay closer to her husband who didn’t subscribe to a distant marriage, as she was in the University of Ado-Ekiti, he was in Lagos and now, she will not only be rounding off her abandoned degree, but it has also given her a avenue to go back to the drawing board of how to make her life better which she is enjoying now as her brand is one of the top ranked hair leading distributors in Nigeria and on social media. EM’S DAMILOLA SHOTE gets the juicy bits to share with you. Please enjoy:
Wanneka Nkuma Doris is the CEO HAIR BY WANNEKA, last child of 9 biological siblings and a beautiful wife, mother and business woman. The hair boss as popularly known, started her journey down this path in 2013. Amazingly, Wanneka is rounding up her degree in a private university and successfully manages her task as a student and entrepreneur.
The inspiration to become a hair boss started with the mare idea of wanting to surprise her husband and prove to him that women can be independent, make money and also stay successful without being a liability; also her passion for human hair products made her decide on her choice of career.
Many hair clients love the brand because of the style of advert used by the boss, as well as the affordability of the hair categories. Wanneka says “I will sweet talk you into buying and loving my brand and you have no choice but to love it because I do my best to stock authentic hairs. Women love good hair, so no matter how much the dollar or economic situation in Nigeria is, they are willing to always go for what they want and we try as much as possible to leave the prices very customer friendly”.
She recalled how she started trying to visit a well known hair seller to buy from to resell, how she went to banks and waited till the close of work to speak with the fashionable female staff and how she waited at the church gate for the service to end and speak with the beautiful sisters from the church. “I wasn’t even into Instagram, except for my blackberry which I used in creating awareness about the hair in stock”. It was a success for her as she was able to gather enough money to buy a large stock of product, but unfortunately she was given fake goods. “Once you give your customers fake hair, it is a huge task trying to win them back, so one needs to be very careful where you source your products from. It was a huge setback and led to distrust from clients. At some point in my business, I didn’t get patronised for over 4 months, it was really hard”.
Wanneka advised young start-ups to be passionate about what they want, to be sure they want to stay in the business such that when challenges arise they will remain. “If you mistakenly buy a wrong hair to sell, it automatically means you have lost clients, so to start with, you must be passionate about what you want to get into. Get good suppliers and don’t give up. Keep advertising whether you are heard or not, one day someone will hear you”.
The hair boss is the mother of two beautiful kids and she owes her success to her husband who has been very supportive in helping her manage the children and school runs at most times, especially when she has to leave her store extremely late into the night. “I made it mandatory every weekend to always spend time with my kids, even if I am going to the shop, we go together this is to sustain the bond. My mum has also been extremely helpful. Motherhood is a company on its own”.
When EM asked what she will like to do to be bold for change, she says “there are a lot of women out there who do not have opportunities like I have had, I would like young women to be persistent, strong and focused. Wanneka defines her style as EXQUISITELY CHIC and her personality BOLD.