Mrs Temitope Mayegun is an accountant-turned beauty products manufacturer. Divinely inspired to venture into the business of natural plants, she took a detour from the service industry which had been her terrain for years. Soft spoken and unassuming, the beautiful mother of four and CEO of Avilla Skin Care and Beauty products, a wholly organic based beauty products outfit, had a chat with MANNY ITA recently. She spoke about issues bordering her metier, the industry and other sundry issues.
Give a brief introduction of yourself
I am Mrs Temitope Mayegun, the Managing Director of Avila Skin Care Products. Avila is a subsidiary of Top Confectionary Limited. I read Accountancy. I am married with children.
Tell us about Avila Skin Care Products and how you ventured into the business of beauty products?
Avila is a production company that majors in the production of organic essential oils and soaps, It is a priority for us to put an end to the problems that people have with their skin in relation to chemicalized soaps and creams.
The inspiration came from God to begin a business that has to do with natural plants. It was very vivid. Prior to this time, I had no experience with skin care products as I have always been in the service industry. So when I got that inspiration, I started doing research on it. I got some tutors abroad and began also to do some related courses online, and by July 2017, we began operations.
With so many beauty products in the market, what is the unique selling point of Avila products?
The unique angle of Avila Products lie in the nature of our products which are organically based. We grow the plants used for our products and not chemicals as is widely the tradition with beauty products.That is the reason our products not only beautify but also restore skins back to their natural state.
You seem like a very busy person. How do you juggle between work and family?
I may be a busy person but I maintain a good balance between the two. I understand the importance of my role in the family so I try to fulfil that part. I monitor my children closely, go through their work and evaluate their progress in school as no day goes by without us all having some quality time together. And if it gets to me having to delegate some of my functions in order to attend any urgent family issue, I certainly do that. So the balance is healthy and convenient.
What is your definition of beauty?
Beauty I believe springs from within an individual. That is why it is said that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. While some think it is the outward beauty, many others believe the beauty within radiates to make the outward beautiful. For me, the outward appearance only complements the beauty within. It has to be from the inside because the reason I am going to appreciate anyone will be the sterling qualities of the person which are all made manifest from the inside.
Sometimes also, the impression one gets of herself as being beautiful or not could be informed either by an inferiority complex or ego. But the truth is God created everyone beautiful.
In trying to look beautiful, scores of women take to bleaching their skins, what do you think about this?
I think it is borne of a strong feeling of inferiority. Many people think a woman is beautiful when or if she is fair in complexion. Even you men largely think that way. And in trying to become fair complexioned to supposedly look beautiful, they begin to bleach their skins, oblivious of the dangers therein. Many of them come here with damaged skin and some others communicate through the social media. Quite frankly, a good number of them look quite disgusting by the time those chemicals would have taken their toll on them.
What do they seek when they consult you?
Of course they seek remedy to their situation. Like I said earlier, our products are organically based and they not only beautify but also restore. So we prescribe products that will restore back their skin. It is a gradual process but ultimately the purpose is achieved and there are many testimonials to that.
As I always say, Life isn’t always really glamorous and fabulous. It’s about encouraging people to go back to natural beauty. That is what our products do. They do not alter but accentuate your natural beauty.
Can you tell us about some of your products?
There are quite many. Avila Coconut oil is natural Skin moisturizer. It absorbs quickly and is non-greasy. There is also Lavender Oil, Beard Growth Essential Oil, Facial Treatment and Scrub, Vitamin C Facial Serum, Knuckles Cream, Pimples Corrector Set, Citrus Night Oil, Scar and Acne Mark Removal Gel and a whole lot more.
We also have organic products for Hair and Beauty purposes. Hair Shampoo, Conditioner, Essential Oils,etc.So you see our concern in this business is the health of you skin and hair.
What quality about you does you husband find quite endearing?
I think he likes the fact that I am a very focussed person and also very resourceful. And of course the fact that I carry my work and family in a manner that gives a synchronism we all enjoy. We share our challenges and are helpful to each other, always willing and ready to give a hand when necessary, to issues relating to our jobs.
What is your pet hate?
I do not like lies. People who are deceptive or who are fond of telling lies put me off. I like to meet and deal with people who are honest, people with good values.
What is your impression about the Nigerian beauty industry?
The sector has come a long way as a matter of fact and now competes favorably with some of the best around today with a wide rich range of top products. However, there is still a large room for improvement with legislations and general quality. The preponderance of fake products is worrisome. This has to be conquered in order for the industry to thrive in quality.
Have there been instances of fraud or sharp practices in your outfit, if so what measures are in place to checkmate this?
Well, we have no issues of fraud or sharp practices because the way we operate does not help that, besides our staff are well motivated and share the values of the company. We are more or less a closely knit family working together to achieve set objectives. That’s our passion and drive.
What are some of your challenges?
Even though we grow our raw materials locally, there are other components we still need to import and here is where we have chàllenges, given the fluctuating high cost of foreign exchange. Another is in the area of power supply. No need over-flogging that. So maintaining constant power is a big challenge that could have been different with constant power.
Do you have any regrets in life, or is there something you’d have done differently if you çould turn back the hand of the clock?
I have no regrets in life. God has been gracious and everything I have experienced have only worked out good for me. But then, as you said, if I could rewind time, that would perhaps be to the point where I would have enrolled to study chemical engineering course instead.
For the purposes of becoming indepth with the words, terms and other technical aspects of my work because most time, when in a meeting with our researchers and other technical workers, I discover I have to be at my very best to make meaning of the technical jargons in the deliberation. Sometimes I am left at my wits end.
How do you get inspired to come up with new products?
The source of inspiration is the same. God. There are times I would just sit and alone when an idea would come and when I apply them, they work. There are some others that are undergoing research at the moment. So God is my source of inspiration.
What is the reach of Avila Products in the country?
Our products are avàilàble nationwide. We have distributors in more than 30 states of the federation, spread evenly across all the geopolitical zones, including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Do you have expansion plans?
Yes of course. Next year the company will enter a new phase, with more distributors registered already. We are looking in the near future to intensify our marketing aparatus to cover not only the remaining parts of the country but also to sustain them while breaking new grounds taking the products across the breath of Africa and the world as a whole, knowing of course that our products are unique and desirable.
You are holding the Avila Awards on November this year. What is the idea behind the awards?
The essence of the Avila awards is basically to appreciate our top distributors in the country who have done well within the year. They will all be present at the award night from all our branches and will be awarded for their good works. Essentially, the award is made also to serve as an incentive to existing and prospective distributors to up their ante. Prior to the awards, there will be training sessions for the distributors on modern methods of distribution, sales and well as other aspects that bear relevance to their work.Other than that it also serves as a medium to familiarise ourselves with each other in ways that redefine our core objectives.
What is your favorite food?
I try to eat balanced foods and moderately too. There was a time I couldn’t eat without a soft drink by my side and having understood the health risks of that and its like, I have long substituted that with water. I drink lots of water instead.
A word for young women who seek beauty but probably naive.
Have confidence in yourself. Enhance your natural beauty by using products that are not harmful to your skin. Improve yourself as a person and inculcate lasting virtues to make yourself more endearing and open up worthy opportunities for you. You do not have to bleach your skin to look attractive or beautiful. Lasting beauty comes from within, build it there.
It was a pleasure talking with you