Allure Cover: Nwanneka Nkumah: Empowering Prospective Entrepreneurs
By Yemisi Suleiman
Her journey to becoming the CEO of Hair by Wanneka empire, had a humble beginning; armed with the BBM as her only marketing tool and zero naira as a reseller.
A few years later, Doris Nwanneka was gifted a token of a hundred and twenty thousand naira (N120, 000) by her husband, which she invested in her first hair business.
However, due to inexperience in operating a business, her efforts failed twice within 2014 and 2015. Not giving up, she refused to allow failure stop her.
In 2016, the business gained weight in the market and the brand evolved to one of the most sought- after in the industry today.
Seizing the moment and her interest in young people spurred her engagement in various philanthropic activities through her online platform, where she has empowered a lot of young women, looking to invest in the Beauty industry.
Apparently hungry to do more with the amazing growth of her business, Wanneka, is poised to giving back to the society, as she launches a new hairline today.
The new line aptly tagged the ‘Wanneka Super Pack,’ was born because of the desire to empower aspiring business entrepreneurs as distributors of the Wannwka Hair.
The beautiful, young entrepreneur holds a Diploma in Law from the University of Ado-Ekiti (UNAD) and currently, a final year Mass Communication undergraduate at the Caleb University. The wife and mother to three beautiful kids, speaks on her current project, her passion for the business, life as an entrepreneur and the impact of social media on her business.
How did you get into the hair business, and at what point did Hair Boss come to be? What motivated it?
This is my 7th year in the hair industry but officially my 6th year, and I will say it has been an amazing growth so far. Hair by Wanneka failed three whole times. Then I had three different stores with nothing to show for it. For three years we struggled to sell one hair, in one month, but amazingly, that is no longer the story. The business has grown over time and God has remained faithful. We have actually gotten our own permanent store, so yes, it has been a roller coaster of the good, bad and ugly but we are grateful to God for how far and well he has brought the brand.
You are launching a new hairline today, tell us about it?
The Wanneka Super Pack is a long time desire of mine to reach out to more women all over the world who cannot reach us easily due to time, distance and means of payment. It is an opportunity for people who have always wanted to be distributors of my brand to actually do so with the Super pack in their store.
What inspired this new line at this point in time?
Over the years Hair by Wanneka has become a household name, and a lot of people from different places have contacted us, saying they want to be distributors. I personally was not ready then, but I have always had this idea of putting hair by Wanneka in a beautiful pack, beat down the prices to the minimum and get distributors to sell it as well. So that way, more people have jobs, they are empowered and can make money to take care of their needs, while clients get good hair at an amazingly affordable price.
So, this new line is my own way of giving back to society, as well as reaching out to ladies with good hair at affordable prices.
What is the distinguishing feature between this new brand and what you have in stock?
This new line is completely branded with our name and logo, well packaged of course, more affordable. Also, it comes with some styles we’ve never had. The styles were specifically designed for the super pack, but in terms of quality, everything is guaranteed to stand the test of time.
With wigs and natural hair extensions being high in demand now, and with lots of hair entrepreneurs out there, what do you do to stay ahead of competition?
Firstly, I do not bother my dear head over who my competitors are because I have my own unique ways of staying on top of my game. A lot of hair buyers and users are already familiar with my ways. So, once they see a certain hair, price, picture or advert, it is easy to say that is Hair by Wanneka.
These are some of the things I think has kept me in the business for this long. Again, my prices are so affordable, even a low income earner can afford one or two good quality hair. Also, people relate well with the happy mood of my adverts. I think they are attracted to the way I make the videos and how I dance.
You do a lot with social media. Would you say the social media has been your greatest business marketing strategy, or how has it impacted your business so far?
If I write my success story without Instagram, then I have told a lie. Social media, Instagram to be precise, is part of what made my brand this popular. It has been the only platform where old clients get to stay in touch with me and new people discover me. And to think that the platform is almost free is amazing. I do a lot of adverts there and have over the years, built my clients base.
I have recently just gotten a website which is also picking up, but Instagram still has a special positive effect, and most clients are already very used to reaching out to us there. So for ‘Hair by Wanneka’, the fastest way to publicize any of our new products is by posting it on our Instagram page. I am not so much of a Facebook business person but, yes, I visit and use it from time to time.
How would you describe your dress sense?
My dress sense has to be stylishly comfortable. I wear a lot of sneakers. A lot of people already know me for that because I can do anything wearing my sneakers. It is as comfortable as the word, but at the same time, I try to style it in different ways to still look fashionable. People have come to terms with the fact that Wanneka wears sneakers on anything and it still comes out stylish.
What is the best way to take care of your hair generally?
For people who are now wig addicts, all you need to do to your wig from time to time, is to brush from tip to top once you take off and put it on a wig stand. When it is time to wear it, if it feels dry, apply a little serum and brush again from tip to top. If it is a curly hair, use a leave-in conditioner, if it is a straight hair, use a straightening brush to make it look silkier, and if it is wavy, you can decide to touch up with some curls. But you should ensure that you take it to the saloon for treatment from time to time, for deep conditioning, recurling and for them to apply the basic hair treatments needed.
Who or what inspires you more in life?
My greatest inspiration in life is my husband. Everything I do is basically to make him proud and make him happy.
What is the best business advice you have received since you started and how has it helped you?
Never give up. Always sell your business the best way you can.
Tell us about yourself, growing up years and what informed your choice of career as a teenager?
Growing up for me was quite interesting, I had an amazing family would tear anyone down if I get bullied by an outsider. I grew up in the midst of a loving family; my Mother was a sweet kind person and she loved all her children equally. As the last child, one would think I would be so spoilt but, I was given one of the strictest upbringing, which has built me over the years to become this independent, hardworking and daring woman that I am today. I have always wanted to own an empire. I started as a stylist in the Nigerian Nollywood industry and gradually gained grounds. I made a few friends, this gave birth to my baby steps which grew into the brand I have today.
You look very fashionable and stylish, do you pick your clothes or do you have a stylist?
I do not have a personal stylist who comes to me every time I need to step out. I style myself daily. I just know how to mix patterns to form a stylish look but, yes, when I have events, I get people to come in with ideas for the look I want.
How do you keep fit or stay healthy?
I don’t consider myself fit (laughs) but, if you ask, how I have been able to maintain my shape after three children, I would say I am this way because I hardly eat and I work a lot. So it is only natural that when you work so much, and do not have the appetite to eat, you lose weight easily. So for me, this is more of weight loss than being fit. I need to hit the gym soon though, to actually stay fit.
When you are not working nor attending to clients, how do you take time out to relax?
When I am not working or attending to clients, you will find me on Instagram. I know that is work on its own because, all my businesses are online. But if I need to truly relax, instead of reading direct messages or messages from clients on my page, I just search random pages and have a good laugh. I could spend hours doing that. Sometimes also, I get to play with my kids when I am less busy.
Where is your best holiday destination in the world?
Best holiday destination has to be Vietnam for me. As awkward as it sounds, Vietnam makes me happy and I would rather be in Vietnam, than anywhere else for a holiday.
What do you like about the place?
Aside from the fact that Vietnam is a quiet place, I like the fact that the people do not take life too seriously, everything is so easy. They have great markets to shop for anything in the world that you want, amazing picture locations and yes, they also have a lot of tourists who come there. So, if you want new friends, you want to shop for good quality things at an affordable rate, Vietnam is your best bet.
What is the next big thing for the Hair Boss?
Next big thing for me should be opening my permanent site, which is already under construction. It has been my dream to buy a permanent site for Hair by Wanneka with money made from Hair by Wanneka. I believe this is every business owner’s dream, and this is already coming to reality. I cannot wait to show my clients what I have been working on.