With the ambition to build the Sephora for Africa, Louisa Kinoshi started BeautyRevNG, a web and mobile based community that helps young African women embrace their beauty, and connects them to their favorite beauty brands in a convenient, affordable and fun way.
In her past life as a public relations and social media expert, Louisa worked on the development and execution of strategic public relations campaigns for companies such as Clean Line Energy, PepsiCo, Starbucks and Pfizer. Her work experience and passion for African trade issues landed her a position as the youngest executive board member for the Houston Mayor’s Trade and International Development Committee, and eventually led her to founding BeautyRevNG.
BeautyRevNG.com aims to be Nigeria’s leading online destination for makeup and beauty products, providing a platform for young African female entrepreneurs who have developed beauty brands to showcase and market their products to a large audience.
What makes BeautyRevNG unique is that it is more than just a store but an online community for African women entrepreneurs, makeup artists, beauty bloggers, and makeup enthusiasts. Through social media, we tell the stories of African women and celebrate our version of beauty.
In her spare time, Louisa loves writing and has written on fashion and bauty for various online publications including BellaNaija, The Style HQ, Style Me Africa and Haute Fashion Africa.
cofoundHER: At what point did you decide it was time to start your own company, and what was the first thing you did when you decided?
LK: In April 2014, while I still working full time, I knew that I wanted to start BeautyRevNG. I founded it because I believe that one day, African women and girls will define their own standards of beauty and influence the rest of the world. The idea is to make BeautyRevNG Nigeria’s leading online destination for makeup and beauty products, so the first thing I did was to develop our website. I knew we had to have a cool and edgy online presence to stand out in the Nigerian beauty scene.
When you started out, did you get any resistance from family and friends?
Not really. I am very lucky as both my parents are entrepreneurs and extremely supportive. Once I started my business though, I had to be committed to growing it 100%. So, my friends didn’t quite understand why I couldn’t do normal things like hang out or go on trips.
Was there any point when you felt like giving up on your business?
I’ve never felt like giving up on my business 100%. There are times where I would like to take a break maybe for a month or two. Whenever I feel overwhelmed or burnt out, I reach out to the BeautyRevNG social media community for support. It’s amazing how I have been able to connect with and be inspired by some of our followers who I’ve never even met personally.
Knowing what you know now, what would you tell yourself when you just started your company?
I would tell myself to enjoy the process. I spent a lot of time being nervous and anxious about the success of the company. However, the start of my entrepreneurial journey was one of the most exciting times of my life; I wish I had taken some time to just enjoy it.
What does success mean to you?
I believe a lot of women believe success is being able to balance professional goals with personal goals at the same time. I think that is a myth. We put so much pressure on ourselves to have everything all at once. To me, success is being able to achieve your goals at God’s said time. There is the right time to focus on building your career and there is also the right time to be able to focus on family.
If you win the She Leads Africa competition, what’s the first thing you’d do? How would the prize money impact your business?
In our She Leads Africa video, I talked about infusing technology with retail. We are launching beauty experience centers this year in Lekki, Yaba, Abuja and Port Harcourt and next year in other African countries. All BECs will have iPad stands loaded with an app where you can get product matches, view reviews and tutorials and share your purchases with a friend. There will also be a consumer version of this app that will change the beauty shopping experience for women all over Africa. Our customers and stakeholders are really excited about this and we would fast track this project which is already underway.
If you could give one piece of advice/encouragement to a large group of aspiring entrepreneurs, what would it be?
“Mistakes are not failures, but specially prepared lesson plans to help you succeed in your next journey.”
To learn more about BeautyRevNG, visit their website or follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. To see Louisa pitch live on stage, reserve a ticket to the She Leads Africa 2015 Entrepreneur Showcase HERE.
Every day this week, we will be profiling the six finalists of the She Leads Africa 2015 Entrepreneur Showcase. Follow the series HERE.