IFU ENNADA: FROM BIG BROTHER TO BEAUTY MOGUL
By Remmy Diagbare
Before Big Brother Naija, Ifu Ennada was just like any young girl with a dream. But, the programme opened doors for her. Today, she is a beauty mogul in the
making and the founder and CEO of award-winning hair care brand, BeautIFU Ennada, which is distributed and sold worldwide.
Unlike many of her Big Brother Nigeria counterparts, who have settled for being the face of a
brand, she has worked strategically to become THE BRAND – as opposed tosettling for just being a face. Her beauty empire is fast expanding,As she is extending her product and offerings in a couple of weeks –
including adding more products to her line, and opening up a
state-of-the-art beauty salon in Lagos.
Also, she recently launched an initiative tagged “5 million a day” as a
means of encouraging young aspiring and current entrepreneurs, on tips andstrategies to establish and to run thriving businesses.
One year after Big Brother, how has it been since that experience.
Since my Big Brother experience, my life has not remained the same. My popularity has grown, my commercial value has grown, and the quality of the totality of my life has gotten better.
Big Brother Naija announced me to the world and using the platform and popularity I launched my haircare business-BeautIFU Ennada. Before #BBNaija, I had plans to start my haircare business, which was inspired by hair loss I suffered at the time. I’d found a natural solution that worked, but I didn’t have the financial resources to bring my business to life, but Big Brother changed that. I didn’t win the show, but my popularity opened doors for me that saw people book and pay me for hosting events and making appearances. I saved up some of my earnings and started my business with about 300,000 naira. Today, in less than a year, my business has become a multimillion-naira business with distributors across the world. I’ve never been to the US, but my hair products have crossed borders to get to every continent on earth. Aside from Nigeria, I have distributors in places like Los Angeles, Europe and other parts of the world.
My commercial value as an actress and media personality has also experienced a lot of financial growth and exposure after the show.
All these wouldn’t have been possible if Big Brother didn’t give me the platform. I’m very grateful to God for everything because he made it all possible.
How did BBN impact you as a person and as a brand.?
From arming me with resources to launch my business, to increase my commercial value as a media personality and actress, Big Brother has made me a person and brand to reckon. I’m respected within and outside my industry and also extend my knowledge and time to people, especially women and entrepreneurs who need help. It is one of the reasons I started my platform for entrepreneurs @5millionaday (on social media) www.5millionaday, where I teach entrepreneurs everything I know and have learnt in business.
Since leaving has there been any interaction with your former housemates?
Yes, there’s been a lot of interactions with other housemates since I left the Big Brother house. I’m quite close to a number of them, but we generally speaking I’m cool with everyone and support when I can.
There is a new set of BBN housemates, what advice would you give, on survival having passed through the process?
Do you have a favourite yet?
My advice to the new set of BBN housemates would be for them to make use of the platform to sell themselves. They need to consciously let people watching know what to expect from them after they leave the house, this way it’ll be easier for them to excel in their chosen businesses after the house. For instance, when I was in the house, I intentionally wore my natural hair all through my stay. I needed people to identify me with healthy natural hair because I knew I’d be launching my business haircare line, beautIFU Ennada after leaving the house. When I began my business less than a year ago, it was an instant success because of the build-up I did during my time on the show. So, the new housemates need to sell themselves in the best way possible.
Also, after leaving the house, they shouldn’t think of themselves as instant successes but start working hard to become successful in their chosen fields, because they don’t have anything to their name aside from being on a popular show. Equating popularity to success is very tempting and is a standard mistake reality TV Stars make. Popularity can fizzle out if not managed well. Also, fame doesn’t equate to success. You must learn how to exploit your reputation to create wealth, and it all starts from what I talked about earlier on.
You are a multi-talented writer, producer, actress, beauty entrepreneur and motivational speaker. How do you operate in these different hats?
Being a writer, TV Presenter, Producer, MC and actress are things I do effortlessly. They are close because of some similarities in their fields. My first job as a presenter was at 19, and I learnt how to write for TV and produce on the job. I’ve since presented and produced several TV shows and award ceremonies, and even a short film titled ‘Tears of A Broken Virgin’ which was inspired by a real-life rape story. My latest TV show is called 18+ on Africa Magic Urban, and I’m presently working on my very personal TV show.
Being a Beauty Entrepreneur isn’t the most straightforward job in the world, but having a passion for what I do makes it easy. I’ve always wanted to own my own business, and I’m currently expanding my haircare line to include more options for different hair textures. I’m also launching my line of braiding hair extensions and afro-centric wigs. My braiding hair extensions are unique and first of its kind in Nigeria and Africa. It’s something I find exciting.
Being and doing all my job descriptions give me joy because they allow me to create, bring things to life and add value. Also, I try to maintain a healthy balance amongst all the many hats I wear. When I have a severe movie role, I make sure it’s not at a time I have a serious project coming up with my business. It’s just the management of these things that make them easy plus having a fantastic team as well. I have the best team in the world!
You own a haircare line. How did you decide on hair and how has the reception been? What formula did you use to push the brand?
I launched my beauty brand beautIFU Ennada last less than a year ago after I left the BBN house. I decided to start my beauty brand with debuting my haircare products because I discovered the solution to a problem, which was hair loss; I suffered about 2yrs ago. I recognized the fact that several women across the world have hair loss and hair growth issue, I saw the money-making opportunity in going commercial with my solutions, so I started the business when I had the resources. Part of the strategy I used to push my brand forward was being a walking brand. I always had my natural healthy hair out during my time in the house and after, so it was effortless to sell the market. Also, my products work. Celebrities like Mercy Aigbe, American celebrity blogger Naturally Temi and a ton of women across the world have publicly testified to the efficacy of my products. So, the products sell themselves.
My present product offering consists of Super hair growth oil, Leave in conditioner and Anti Dandruff African black Soap Shampoo.
We’re set to introduce and launch more product offering, including more options for people with different hair textures.
With this, I’m also introducing a reward program for users, distributors, salons and everyone associated with my products.
My company is a people focused company that likes to add value to the lives of people because the people make us who we are. Anyone interested can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
You said you plan to introduce a new dimension, what did you mean?
Aside from introducing more products to my haircare line and changing our modern look, I’m set to launch two unique products.
The first one is my line of Afro-centric wigs. Inspired by some Naturalistas need for variety and protective styling in their hair journey. With this project, I’m also going to be working with some key celebrities to make more impact and get more results. The wigs are very affordable, versatile and of supreme quality. I’ve been working on it for over six months because I like to give the best value for money. I’ve finally gotten the quality I want, and I’m pleased because I know the people will love it.
Secondly, I’m launching my line pre-stretched silky braiding hair extensions. The innovative nature of the extensions will make me the first Nigerian and African to introduce such products into the market. It’s coming in several varieties, so there’s something for everyone. I’ve also been working on this since last year, and I’m very excited that this is finally happening. My first anniversary is on July 27th, and I’m positive that massive publicity for these products would be inactivation before then. I’m super excited about these projects, and I’m glad this is happening now.
Let’s talk about the state-of-the-art salon you are planning to open. What do you plan to do that will make it ‘state of the art’? What will offer that would be different from what obtains already?
Everything about my salon will be the state of the Art, from the service to the people to the interior, exterior, and salon itself. With my salon comes a store and a beauty school. All these things I’ll be launching this year. I’ll also be working with other salons who’ll help spread the gospel of beautIFU Ennada. With my influence on and off social media, I’ll bring them more business. I will announce the full details when its time to kick-off. I have several strategies to grow my salon within the shortest period. My beauty school will also offer immediate employment to everyone who goes through it. It’s so much I have planned for the Nigerian people. I can’t wait to unveil all this to God’s glory.
Is there a growing interest in beauty. What are Nigerian women interested in most from your experience?
Nigerian women are interested in all thing’s aesthetics, from hair to skin to their body; they always want to be 100%. The beauty industry is one of the best to invest in right now, and I’m glad I’m a force in it.
Can you tell us about the 5million a day initiative? How do you intend to execute it?
5millionaday is a platform for entrepreneurs @5millionaday (on social media) www.5millionaday where I teach entrepreneurs everything I know and have learnt in business. It started after I talked about the kind of money I make during sales. A lot of people doubted it was possible, even entrepreneurs. That made me see that a lot of people aren’t knowledgeable about the little strategies in business that can bring you so much profit and sales in a short period. So I set about to teach people how to maximize their opportunities in market offline and online to make all the money they can while adding value to lives. I’ve been giving a lot of free resources for the past month, but now I’m set to teach my first online course titled How To Secure The Bag In Your Business.
What about funding? Do you have sponsors, and who and what’s your target number?
My business is entirely mine. I want to build it by myself as much as I can until I see the need to seek funds outside. I’m also a Financial Trader, so I pump my trading profits into my business.
Let’s talk about your style evolution. How has it evolved since BBN?
Leaving the BBN house, I saw that fashion and style is a big deal so I try to make style statements when I can. I work with a variety of designers, including Zhena Woman, Dukez_n_duchezz and Zhenas Closet. I also work with a variety of stylists who understand my style.
What’s your fashion fix and what wouldn’t you leave home?
I’m not sure what my fashion fix is, but I know I can’t leave home without a bottle of perfume in my bag. I love scents. I use them to express my mood and feelings. I feel it should be a punishable offence not to smell good. Lol
Who is your favourite designer in Nigeria
I don’t have a favourite designer, but there are some I’d love to work with, including Lanre Da Silva and Mai Atafo.
What wouldn’t you do in the name of fashion
I wouldn’t go completely naked in the name of style.
Going under the knife is a common trend now in Nigeria, would you ever consider it?
If I go under the knife, it wouldn’t be because I don’t love my body, but to correct a problem I’ve had since my teen years.
Finally, as a young girl who goes to Church, would you do what the COZA pastor’s accusers are doing now if you didn’t cry out earlier?
Admittedly, when I find my voice, I’ll speak against every rapist.