For Aminah Sagoe, entrepreneur, mother, wife, and mentor; creating a luxury skincare range was as a result of her finding a solution to a personal skin problem. She talks about starting the brand, building the business on biblical principles, and her joy of being a wife and mother. She’s the Leading Lady Africa for the week. Be inspired!
1. Congratulations on the launch of the Emmaus Luxury Skincare range; you must be pretty excited about that. Give us a peek into how the journey to becoming a beauty entrepreneur
Thank you so much, and I am very excited! Emmaus was created as a solution to my own skin problem. I suffer from a condition known as Keratosis Pilaris (KP), more commonly referred to as “chicken skin”. KP produces a goose bump type of appearance on the skin, and can appear anywhere on the body. KP is not life threatening in any way; neither is it contagious; however it is aesthetically displeasing to the eye. I originally set out on a mission to find a natural care regimen to improve my condition, and in the process I discovered a unique combination of ingredients that not only helps with KP, but also relieves Dry skin, Psoriasis, Eczema, Body Acne, dark spots & discolouration.
2. The Emmaus Luxury Skincare range is pretty niche and obviously exclusive, what inspired the decision to create a luxury brand?
I’m a big believer in the saying “you get what you pay for”, and I’m the type of person that is cautious about what I put in, and on my body. I pay attention to ingredient listings on products, and I’ve discovered that many products on the market today are filled with diluted ingredients, and cheap + toxic preservatives. Emmaus products all contain natural ingredients and preservatives using plant stem cell technology. Unfortunately, good things usually don’t come cheap. I believe my skin deserves only the best, and being the best is what Emmaus is about. The fact of the matter is, I will only sell to others what I will confidently use on my own skin.
3. Little is known about who Aminah Sagoe is. What were you doing before you started?
I co-own a hair & beauty supply store in Lagos – Cabello Bonita, and I also run a procurement services company.
4. Describe the quintessential Emmuas woman? Who are your products targeted at?
Emmaus is Biblically centered and thus promotes doing good, loving yourself, as well as others. On a lighter note, Emmaus represents Luxury, Style, Elegance and Sophistication. The quintessential Emmaus woman exudes these qualities. Emmaus products are targeted at Men and women that are looking for a safe and healthy alternative to expensive synthetic skincare. Emmaus uses natural ingredients that are scientifically formulated to produce the results you expect from quality skincare.
5. The Emmaus brand is currently available in top retail stores in Lagos, any plans to take it nationwide, and possibly, globally?
The original plan was to first launch Emmaus in the US, and shortly after, Nigeria. I later changed the plan and decided to launch first in the country I was born and raised in. Emmaus will be available in more locations in Nigeria in the near future, plus online sales in the US will begin May 1st 2015, with worldwide shipping.
6. Anyone who has set out to achieve a goal, usually faces obstacles, what sort of challenges did you face in developing the skincare range?
There were quite a few challenges with the formulation process. It was a difficult feat trying to fuse natural active ingredients with natural preservatives, but with hard work, determination, persistence, and of course with God’s help, we were able to make it all.
7. What would you say differentiates the Emmaus Skincare range from other similar luxury
Many skincare lines fall in one of three categories; expensive creams packed full of synthetic ingredients, “natural” creams from the health stores that fail to provide the benefits they claim, and brands that promote the botanicals in their products, but mix them with synthetic ingredients. Many of the synthetic ingredients are carcinogens (Cancer causing), while some serve no purpose at all, but are used as fillers.
The concept of Emmaus Skincare is unique in the skincare industry. We have redesigned the very foundation of skincare to produce a luxurious line that uses the very best of nature and technology to enhance the appearance and texture of your skin. This has been achieved by using the very best ingredients that nature offers, while incorporating the cutting edge technology of Plant Stem Cells into our products.
8. If you were not an entrepreneur, what would you be doing?
That’s a good question (ponders)…I would probably be a bored stay at home mom. Lol!!
9. Who are some of your role models in beauty and business?
Estee Lauder…Her business was built from scratch, starting with a dream, and very few products. Through extraordinary ambition, impeccable taste, perseverance, innovative marketing and hard work, this creative visionary became the wealthiest self-made woman in America and created a family dynasty that continues today.
Richard Branson…His dyslexia and poor academic performance as a student did not prevent him from achieving his dreams, and his unconventional methods of doing business demonstrates that it’s acceptable and profitable to bring fun and passion into your trade.
10. Let’s go a little personal. It’s obvious that you come from a loving, close-knit family, how has this impacted your life?
I thank God for my family, and you are correct, we are a close-knit family. We do everything together! My husband is, believe it or not, my best friend. There is absolutely nothing we do not discuss with each other! I love our relationship – it’s real and it’s fun. My husband is also my #1 fan, supporter, and encourager. He believes in me and has always wanted to see me succeed. I enjoy a wonderful relationship with my children. My girls talk to me about everything, and nothing is off limits. Sometimes I don’t like what I hear, but at the same time I want them to be comfortable enough to come to me with anything. My son is only 7, and he’s my energizer bunny! Life is all about play for him right now, and I am definitely not complaining (smile). Having the support and love of my family gives me so much peace and confidence, and I know they’re always rooting for me.
11. How do you create a balance between being a mother, a wife, and a businesswoman?
Being a mother is probably the most difficult profession a woman can have, plus I live in a country where nannies and housekeepers are not the norm. It’s tough, but by the Grace of God, I’m successful in balancing all three. However, there is no “ME” time, and that will probably be the case until my children are much older. It’s okay though because I know that when my children are grown and doing well in life, I will look back and appreciate the time and effort I put into raising them.
12. What do you do for fun, and where are your favourite travel destinations?
I love going out to eat with friends and family, and I enjoy a good laugh so I tend to surround myself with people that are funny. I love Miami, New York City, and Monaco. Honestly, I feel that as long as you’re in good company, being in your backyard can be your favorite travel
13. What drives you? What is the one thing that makes you get up from bed every day?
God is the driving force behind me. I believe that my future is bright simply because God’s got my back. I’m motivated to get up in the morning because of my wonderful family, and because it’s another day and opportunity to grow Emmaus.
14. Where do you see yourself, personally and professionally in the next 10 years?
Personally – I see myself as a mother to two beautiful young ladies that have graduated from College and are beginning their careers. I see myself patting my son on the back for getting accepted into college. I see my husband and I still enjoying a beautiful marriage, and I definitely see myself enjoying some “ME” time (smiles).
Professionally – I see different product lines of Emmaus on the shelves of all major retail outlets worldwide. I also see Emmaus being a force for good, touching lives positively along
15. What advice would you give upcoming female beauty entrepreneurs?
Don’t give up on your dreams, don’t listen to the naysayers, believe in your idea/product/brand, and work actively towards achieving it. Also remember that Rome wasn’t built in a The Leading Ladies Africa Series is a weekly interview series that focuses on women of African descent, showcases their experiences across all socio-economic sectors, highlights their personal and professional achievements and offers useful advice on how to make life more satisfying for women.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa; an initiative that seeks to effectively mentor and inspire women, with particular emphasis on the African continent.
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