In the busy streets of Lagos Nigeria, stories of aiming for a better life, of hustling and of ambition are all we hear. Everyone is always working, looking for a way to make more money and make a name for themselves. Amongst these narratives is the story of Chioma, a visionary who turned her small-town skincare venture into a thriving business empire-in-making.

We have another amazing episode of Start Anywhere for you! In episode 5, we’re going to take you through the story of a business called SkinIT, from how it started to where it is going. Sit tight and enjoy – you may even be inspired after reading this!

Chioma’s journey began back in July 2022 in her small hometown of Awka, Anambra state. She experienced some skin irritations, and the products that would work for her were not available in Awka, so she had to get them from Lagos instead. This continued for some time until she decided she wanted to be the supplier herself. And in supplying for herself, she could also supply to others in need. Thus, in Awka, where modern skincare hadn’t had much of an audience yet, SkinIT was born.

As demand grew and more people outside of Awka heard about her and her brand, she began dropshipping her stock and selling in singles. However, she realised that this strategy needed to be more sustainable; it was getting more expensive to receive and deliver products and she had supplier issues. She needed to re-strategise and expand beyond her bubble. Where would be better to expand into than Lagos, the centre of commerce in Nigeria? So, that was exactly what she did! It was the perfect platform to elevate her business to new heights.

Upon moving from Awka to Lagos, she started growing her business and getting more customers. This time, she focused on buying in bulk from her wholesaler, so that she would have products on demand. Her new business model was working. Lagos being the commerce hub meant that there were already hundreds of skincare brands already in the market, but Chioma successfully differentiated hers from others through excellent customer service, affordable prices and fast deliveries.

Although business was going well generally, one particular incident caused Chioma to start keeping proper track of her orders, inventory and customers. One customer had complained about being sold something that gave her a bad reaction, but Chioma could not track who this customer was or what was sold to her. She wanted to be the “skincare plug” for authentic and reliable products, so she knew this couldn’t happen again.

She  needed a solution – Enter, Flutterwave Store!

After this incident, she created a Flutterwave Store because she needed to be more organised. It was exactly what she needed. The Store Analytics feature gave her an overview of her store’s performance, customer trends, stock and much more. By doing this, she could identify exactly which customer ordered which product and when it was ordered, which in turn would improve her customer service and avoid the issue of mixups. Moreover, she could keep selling even whilst she slept!

Almost two years later, through resilience, innovation and a relentless pursuit of excellence, Chioma transformed her small-town skincare venture into a household name in Lagos and beyond. Her reach has travelled far and wide, and SkinIT has become synonymous with quality, integrity and authenticity.

So, what’s next for Chioma?

She wishes to one day own her own mall somewhere in Lagos, her SkinIT empire. It will be known for stocking all skincare brands and products possible, having the accessibility and affordability that will enable Nigerians to continue patronising her.

I feel the big picture for me is to have a very big mall, you just walk in and it’s just skincare.

Chioma Okoye, Founder and CEO of SkinIT

Her journey is a testament to the transformative power of entrepreneurship and the endless possibilities that await those who dare to dream. From humble beginnings in her hometown of Awka to the bustling streets of Lagos, she embodies the spirit of the Nigerian entrepreneur, proving that with passion, perseverance and a commitment to making a difference, anything is possible. Watch the full video here!

Published by Segilola Kola-Daisi

Product Marketer