Finding the right skin care products isn’t always easy. And for women of color, that search can get even harder depending on location and skin sensitivity. Business Daily Africa reports that Alice Odera soon realized this the hard way when she was living in New York.
“The beauty industry is worth billions of dollars but only a little part of it is geared towards ethnic minority women,” she said to Business Daily Africa. But Odera didn’t simply make an observation. She decided to do something about it. When every skincare product she tried began to irritate her skin, an interest in beauty and skincare ingredients developed. She nurtured this interest by taking a skincare specialist course. Through her research she learned that skin cancer was on the riser, especially in West Africa, as many of the population used skin bleaches to lighten their skin.
She discovered a ban on hydroquinone and Retinol A in the West that left manufacturers with tons of banned products. So they turned to Africa to sell their goods. After working as a skincare brand manager for a company in Kenya for about two years, she left and decided to start her own business.
“It was a huge risk, but I knew two things, that I was capable and that if I stumbled I had enough courage to get up and keep moving,” Alice said. In August 2010 she launched Beauty Logic Image Management. Unfortunately after opening its doors in September, she was forced to close her business in April 2011 due to lack of profits.
“I do not postpone decision-making or get emotional, no matter how difficult, especially when it comes to my business,” she tells Business Daily Africa.
At the time Odera was also consulting on skin problems such as acne, and offering facials and treatments. That’s when she made an important discovery. “It is this focus that made me discover that the male clients were more responsive to skin treatments than women. Men were a more consistent source of income. They make referrals if they like the results,” she said.
“This is the business direction I want to take, offering services for men only.” In addition to her newfound track as a men’s image consultant, Odera also operates First Impressions, a program that teaches corporate grooming to high school girls. She soon also plans to include boys.
After experiencing a failed business and several ups and downs in her professional track, Odera has mastered the art of business and opportunity. Her new angle is doing so well in fact, that last year it earned her the Pillar Africa Award for “Entrepreneur of the Year.”