Hello everyone, I hope you learnt something from my last post, if you haven’t seen it, that’s the link. http://pamsotu.com/live-love-laugh/
I love entrepreneurship cause in actual truth, that’s the way forward and I also believe in empowering others and supporting startup businesses and basically that’s what this post is about.
Sophia Funmilayo Esoimeme, is the CEO of GHABpro but apart from managing her business, she sings and she has an amazing personality. You will see that in her pictures.
Basically, we had her tell us her story, how she started, where the business is and where she wants to go with it.
PLEASE BE PATIENT TO READ IT TO THE END.
You just might learn something new!!!!
Q. In one sentence why did you decide to establish your business?
A. As a young girl aged 14, with a skill, passion and no money to spend on things I wanted, I knew something had to be done.. Something like starting a business to channel my energies into something productive.
Q. How did you get started in this business?
A. I actually learned how to do hair by 1. watching my mother do hair for others : She no longer does hair, but till date she’s one of the most creative and hardworking people I know. Seeing her drive inspires me to do better. 2. The strict rules she had about our hairstyles while we grew up age 13-14, the advent of the teenage years and everyone wanting to look FLY ! Whether it’s a curly weave or long nails, one thing on the mind of young girls is ‘how to look good’. I was not exempt from this craze, and begged my mum to allow me to wear weave . She’d only just stopped cutting my expressions into 4/5 haha and wasn’t going to allow me to wear weaves anytime soon.. So I decided to learn how to do hair on myself.. I then started getting asked to do hair for friends: I would do some during break times at school – they didn’t know that I was using their heads to learn..but we were all young and the standard for hairdressing wasn’t that high.
Q. When did you start your business?
A. Aged 14, February 2010.
Q. What is your brand about and why this particular type of business?
A. My brand is about beauty. All things beauty related. I believe in the power of getting a hair cut or having your eyebrows done as a means of boosting your confidence (not the only means of course). My brand is about empowering women and also making friends.
Q.How did you get the funds to startup?
A. When I first started up , things were slow, as a 14 year old growing up in London, the £10 that I would charge to do my friends hair, would disappear within the space of a week on transport fares, the odd sams chicken..or 2 etc. I would usually pinch some of my mums hair dressing tools, until I got a job at 16, and was able to use some of those funds to top of my supply of tools, camera, etc.
Q.What were the early disappointments your brand experienced?
A. Looking back at them now, I’m able to laugh, because God has brought me so far. There were times where I would go to places without planning my journey properly, and would end up spending most if not all of the money earned from a job on unnecessary transport fares. There have been times where I was out of work, and a customer would book me , get my hopes high, only to cancel when I got to their door. This was one of the things that made me introduce a deposit fee. There was one time (last year or so), where I went to a bridal job with the wrong pins. A wedding!! That day, heaven certainly heard my prayer. The business has also been a training ground for me. It’s changed my perspective on business, money , time and professionalism. I’m not saying that I’ve attained the highest standards, but it’s a continual learning process, that by Gods grace I’m getting better at .
Q.Irrespective of these disappointments, what made you continue with the business?
A. God has been faithful in putting people around me who believe in me and support me continually. It’s very easy for us to lose focus of the greatness that God has deposited in each one of us, and start to operate as mediocre individuals. But to those clients who book me come rain or shine. Who have been willing to travel from London to Nottingham for me to do their hair, who have waited for me to return from South Africa to London because they don’t trust anyone else with their hair, thank you guys for seeing some sort of greatness in me. To my mum, my number one fan, I thank God for her life (even though she won’t allow me to touch her hair ,because she still maintains that she was the one who taught me how to do hair and is ultimately better than me !! )
Q.Can you please mention a few key people that helped you continue through with the business?
A. Well first of all it would have to be God, for giving me the desire to learn new things. For helping me to understand that life and our gifting are a process, and that even if I don’t get it right today , there will be a chance to get it right another time. For my 2 hair/beauty mentors Lizzie ( Lizzie a1) and Tola (Charis hair ). These are the mama’s in this hair and beauty game , and I honestly thank God for the way they have trained me , given me opportunities, and generally believed in me. Also those customers that have stood by me through thick and thin. They’ve watched me develop from the girl who used to use fabric thread to sew hair *covers face* , to the woman who can lay a lace closure perfectly in 2 hours ! Namely Tara Okome, Kiya, Gabi Joy and Rachel !
Q.How do you market your business and how are people aware of your business?
A. I’m currently working on improving my marketing strategies, but right now I use social media .
Q.What are the biggest issues for running this business?
Q.What is the toughest decision you have had to make concerning your business?
A. I wouldn’t say tough, but as a member of my church choir, and a student, I have many other commitments to attend to. So the decision to say no to clients can sometimes be difficult .
Q. This may sound personal, but most startups don’t know what to do with their profits, so what do you do with yours?
A. I try my best to give, whether it’s to a charity or to the church. There’s a scripture that says, ‘To whom much is given, much is expected’ – so I try to cultivate a habit of giving, because I see every profit made as a blessing from God .Money also goes towards tools that I use, and finally personal expenses. Recently , I’ve been really looking into getting the balance between personal expenses and savings correct.
Q.What does success look like for your business?
A. Hmmm ! Success would be becoming a household name in all things beauty related. GHABpro will be synonymous with the highest standards of hair and beauty. Success would be younger generations looking up to me and my business and saying ‘ Wow, GHABpro is blessed ! I want to know how she does things.. I want to learn from her’ Success is me being able to pass on my skills to others, and watch them develop their greatness . Success is in me being a solution !
*picturing her success*
Q.What are 5 major benefits you want to impact into the lives of anyone that comes in contact with your business?
A. An awareness of the God I serve ! The Holy spirit has a way of nudging me to talk about God with every client I meet ! I always pray to God for clients who I’ll be able to have interesting conversations with ,learn from and hopefully teach them a thing or two ! -I like to make people feel happy/beautiful ! I want to see smiles ! A customers satisfaction is my satisfaction . Comfort : A comfortable environment for the client. Friendship: it’s no fun sitting in the hair salon with a cold hairdresser! I always try and find ground on which to relate to people Value for money and excellent service . I want clients to leave knowing that their money has been well spent.
Q.Is there anything else you would like us to know about your brand before rounding off?
A. Watch this space !
* you can’t stop her from laughing *
Q.What is your advice to other startup businesses?
A. Well 1- Have a mentor . Don’t be afraid to learn from others. Quite frankly, you are a learner and there are other people who know how to do what you’e doing better than you can. Don’t allow pride or the fear of looking stupid to hinder your development.
2- Network! Be friendly, make friends. For those of us who may be a little more reserved, realise that your network is your net worth, without friends/supporters your business will remain stagnant
3- Don’t be afraid to get things wrong .To get to the stage of perfection you will make mistakes.
4- Filter your criticism with a fine sieve !!! a very fine sieve . Some people criticise you because they genuinely want to see you develop , while others just want to discourage you.People will always have something to say,but how you choose to react to those things in on you !
5- Have a plan – when I first started ( well two years into starting ) I sat down with one of my friends and constructed a business plan, to the glory of God, I can say that a few things on that plan have been completed). Write the vision.. make it plain .Writing things down has a way of setting them in stone and turning them into a reality for you .
6- Believe in yourself – You are a wonderful creation ! Nobody can do you like YOU can do you ! The world is waiting for your greatness.
Q.Finally, what did you learn from this interview?
A.That I have been given a real gift from God .The whole interview was basically a note to self ! The interview, exposed some areas that I need to work on too ! Thanks pam.
It’s not every time serious pose.
Thank you all for your time, I hope you learnt something new.
GHABpro is available on various social media platforms and can be reached via these platforms.
Phone no: +447538584945