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My passion is to make women confident of their skin – Ceemapri boss

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Founder and CEO of Ceemapri Ltd, owners of the Ceemapri range of Skin Care products, Celine Onuzuruike speaks about her resilience and passion for the beauty industry in this interview with Odunewu Olusegun. Excerpts

Who is Celine?

My name is Celine Onuzuruike, founder and CEO of Ceemapri Ltd, a beauty and cosmetics company that produces various beauty and cosmetics products under the brand name, Ceemapri Skin Care.

I have a BS.c in business administration and Economics in Abia state university. I am the last child of my parents. I’m an award winner, a serial entrepreneur, a business coach as I have those I mentor. Ever so confident and just living my dreams (laugh out loud)

Over the years I discovered that having healthy skin should be a priority as I have experienced a lot of unhealthy skin issues which at some point was a huge concern.

I began to do research on how to remedy all the skin damages I faced and how to get a healthy glowing skin. I also know that there are people who have and are currently facing challenges with their skin and really do not know how to go about it.

At some point I lost my job just because my skin was in a mess and then I worked with a multinational company to sell packages to top individuals. I couldn’t appear in public places, it stripped me off my confidence.

This drove me to establish Ceemapri Limited, a manufacturing beauty and cosmetics company.

I had gone through cosmetics formulation training in the UK with one of the reputable brands in the UK. I’ve gone through the training on how to formulate skincare products, formulate hair care products, formulate makeup products and we manufacture them here in Nigeria

We have a growing presence in Nigeria and 8 countries outside the shores of Nigeria and still counting. We are Trademarked and Nafdac approved.

Why did you decide to start a skin care range when there are so many brands already in the market?

In 2018, I had an issue when I used a particular skin care product. I spent hundreds of thousands of Naira to get my skin back to shape. So, I decided to start making my own skincare product, Ceemapri skincare.

I wanted to be sure of what ingredients are incorporated in my products just for safe use. It has become a passion as this is what I love to do.

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I see people every day from different walks of life with some skin concerns, I knew I could help these people achieve the skin of their dreams. I am so big on healthy skin and no better thing to do in life than doing what you love to do.

What are the major challenges you face in the skin care business?

The beauty and cosmetics company is capital intensive, major challenges faced especially at the beginning were competition, capital, logistics etc. I have faced and still facing challenges as this only makes you better at what you do. We also need investors who are willing to invest in a startup business like mine.

How did you tackle these challenges?

I have been able to tackle these challenges basically by creativity, innovation, sustainability and scalability and going all the way out. We are also bringing beauty tech as we are in the process of launching this soon. The drive to please our clients makes it even easier. When it comes to competition, I have succeeded in building a very strong clientele base which knows no bounds. People now know I’m very good at what I do and this has helped me far and wide.

We’re also leveraging on networking and strategic partnerships with logistics companies, and also distributors to solve this challenges which succeeded in putting us a step closer to our target.

Were you afraid when you wanted to start this business?

I was never afraid. I only asked myself will people really accept what I do, knowing that I studied business administration and Economics in school, Will I make money out of these people who really believe in this thing that I’ve decided to do?(laugh out loud) I had a lot of mixed feelings but at the same time I was bold enough put what I do out there.

As the day went by, I had to remind myself why I was doing this and not for what people will say but the impact that I have decided to make, my learning process wasn’t as easy as it is sounding right now and the learning process never ends.

There were days I got tired of really, you know, learning some things but the truth is, when I remember the (WHY) I have to get up and do better Whether there is pain or not. I still have to do what I have to do. So yeah, I went through the process and I’m still in the process.

These days lots of bleaching creams are saturated all over the market, what are the major ingredients you use for making yours?

Major “bleaching” creams you find in the market these days are ladened with a high percentage of hydroquinone, steroid and mercury which can cause an adverse effect on the skin and internal organs especially when used for a long time and not prescribed by a professional.

We do not sell bleaching creams. I mean even if you need to brighten your skin, it is recommended you do it the safest and most natural way. Our products are medical grade/plant based products and that is exactly what you need for your skin because in years to come, you’d be glad you used safe products.

Active ingredients in our products include Vitamin A(Retinoid),B(Niacinamide),C(Ascorbic acid) etc.

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The skin is the largest organ in the body, why not treat it with utmost care? Our products provide you with all the safety you need.

How do you think Nigerians’ perceptions about ‘Made in Nigeria’ products can be improved?

It’s all about value. The truth is the perception of made in Nigeria products being “inferior” did not develop out of thin air. Historically, made in Nigeria products have been known to be of inferior quality.

However, in recent years, there has been a shift especially with the rise of the SME revolution and companies have been forced to create products that are of good quality.

The world is a global village with a lot of competition and easy access to just about anything so if you as a brand refuse to level up, customers will move their money to businesses who are interested in offering them value.

The only way to change the perception is to create products/ services of value. Customers always place a value on products so as long as the perceived value and actual value are aligned, that’s the sweet spot.

What about your vision for Ceemapri skin care products?

Our vision is to develop high quality, innovative and customer friendly products. We aim to become the first choice of end users and as well as professional users and remain top of mind of many.

Our products help to treat acne, dark spots and hyperpigmentation, works for anti-aging etc Also, if you want a custom product, we can help you customize products based on your skin type. We offer consultation services, private labelling etc.

 Every product by ceemapri beauty line are produced using the best ingredients that infiltrate well into the skin to feed and revive.

How well would you say your business has impacted Nigerians so far?

Our goal actually is to empower women and in the last 1 year we have empowered over 50 women and still counting through our training program. We mentor them and have them start their own business which is contributing to the GDP of the economy, we create jobs, and this is contributing to social impact and also sustainability in the beauty and cosmetics industry. So trust me, what we are doing is not just like every other beauty company.

In 2023 our target is to empower over 1000 women with necessary knowledge and skills needed.

What inspires you?

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 The word of God, the Holy Spirit, a few of my mentors and myself. My hard work inspires me a lot. Looking back to where I was coming from inspires me to forge ahead and never be a failure.

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