Monday, 18 January 2016

YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR: Exclusive Interview with Commy Bassey - CEO, Reyara Beauty

Commy Bassey is a young Nigerian entrepreneur from Akwa Ibom, South East Nigeria, a graduate of the University of Benin and the CEO of Reyara Beauty, which is into the sale of beauty and hair products. The unassuming lady in this chat speaks about her challenges as a young entrepreneur.

How did you become an entrepreneur?
It all started at the University of Benin with selling of accessories to my fellow students, I was also a student representative for House of Tara; where I sold several beauty products. The pressure became too much, so I looked around and switched to sale of hair product, although it’s a very competitive market but if one sells authentic products, the customers will come back for more purchases.

What motivated the decision to become an entrepreneur?
It’s the passion to make something out of my life and also not to look up to people before I get anything done that really triggered my interest in business. Besides that, I was motivated by my independent and hardworking aunt who also doubles as one of my role models. 

What were your initial challenges when you started?
Basically we all know that raising capital for any business is a major issue, it wasn’t easy though but I saved some money when I was a student representative for House of Tara and I got people to support me. So I overcame the first challenge of starting. Also, instability in sales and not meeting up with customers’ needs in time posed some challenges. We just didn’t give up as we looked away from those challenges to establish the brand Reyara. 

How do you get the authentic hair you sale?
I do a thorough research on any hair or product I want to buy, having done that I then place order for the products I want. I try different vendors to compare the quality of what they have, so I don’t relax until I get the best of the best of what will suit my customers.
We deliver the best to our numerous customers home and abroad. In Nigeria we deliver within 24hours while to foreign countries it’s delivered within 72hours.

What are the challenges in hair business?
The major challenge is that there are quality hairs that last and there are some fake one too, so one must be able to tell the difference between the two, so as not to run into debt.
How do you get customers to patronise Reyara products?
Reyara is all about beauty and looking good is a serious business. We are into selling authentic products to people. So marketing it becomes very easy, we do online, as well one-on-one marketing. We also get some referrals from people who are already our customers. 

Who are your role models? 
I look up to my aunty, Mrs. Joy Omoba, an entrepreneur who’s into Interior Decorations. She’s a very hardworking woman. Tara Feal-Durotoye of House of Tara. I also hold my mother in high esteem because she’s a very strong woman. I look up to all of these people because I like and appreciate what they do.

In the face of challenges, what keeps you going?
All I do is to chill; cool my head and hand everything over to God and then I thank him for everything no matter how frustrating the situation could be. 

As a person, what is your philosophy about life?
Believe in yourself.

What is success to you?
It’s being able to impact and help other people. 

What’s your advice for young people complaining about the unemployment?
Firstly, they should look inward and identify something that they have passion for and go for it.  In looking for that, it must be something legal and not contravening any rules of the land in any way. They should also try and not be idle at any point in time because an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. They can even start small and think big, all that matters is that they must be doing something.

Would you say that entrepreneurship is paying off?
It’s been an awesome journey so far; things are not the way they used to be when I started. Sincerely I have experienced a complete turnaround, I now have an office space; something that wasn’t there in the beginning. So I would say that Reyara is doing fine and the decision to be an entrepreneur is paying off.

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