I sat down with Ruth Agbasimalo, the founder and managing director of Omari Skin to get to know her and find out more about the inspiration behind Omari Skin.
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Ruth, I am the founder and managing director of Omari Skin. I am a former software developer who loves learning and doing research as I’m always looking more information to increase my knowledge. I am passionate about skincare and business.
Tell us a bit about your background – how did you get to this point?
I studied Computer Engineering at Covenant University and it was during this time that I got to know myself and figured out that I had a knack for business. I started my first business when I saw a need, I saw that a lot of students wore shoes that were worn out during the rain. So I asked my dad to get me stock and began selling umbrellas and shoes. After I graduated, I went on to work for Andela and during this time I started selling wig making tools and make-up brushes. I am now running Omari Skin while working for a corporation as a product manager.
What do you do for fun?
For fun and to wind down, I love to go out, clubbing and hanging out with my friends. Now that I am a mother, I have become somewhat of a homebody. When I’m at home I make clothes and watch Netflix, I enjoy detective shows such as Lucifer, Criminal minds and Hawaii Five-O.
Describe a typical day for you?
First thing I do when I wake up is my prayers, then I have a cup of tea and workout before I go on with my day. I start at work by checking my emails, then I tackle my day which I typically have planned from the day before. At around 2:00 pm I hang with my kids and afterwards I either finish my work or take a nap.
I like to have everything planned ahead and ready to go instead of moving from one task to another haphazardly.
What is your ‘why’ i.e. bottom line? and how do you stay motivated?
I birthed Omari skin from a place of frustration. I developed boils over my body right after giving and I kept taking antibiotics that did not help at all. The Nigerian skincare industry is saturated with skin lightening product and has no other product offerings. I didn’t set out to start a business but wanted to learn more about skin. When I started doing research, that’s when I finally figured out that I was using products that damaged my skin.
During the time I was learning more about skin I got my certifications and began making my own products to address my skin issues. About 6-8 months after the whole ordeal, I started the business. My biggest goal was to help people to understand their skin so they could make sure that whatever they put on their skin is good for them. I wanted to help people make educated choices.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
My biggest achievement is my attitude towards work. I love what I’m doing which is something not everyone can say for themselves. I love that my business allows me that space to care about the customer, which is also one of our biggest achievement.
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Funny enough, this is my most favorite and also my least favorite. and that is the fact that business is so unpredictable. I’m constantly moving and changing with the climate of things, I love it when it plays to my strengths and hate it when it doesn’t.
What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
My dad, I grew up knowing he was an entrepreneur. He has a pharmaceutical company and I learnt a lot watching him grow from having a shop to having his own factory. He encourages and inspires me.
How did you come up with the name for your company?
Omari is derived from an Ibi word Omaricha which means beauty. We wanted people to feel beautiful in their own skin. So our business is literally called beautiful skin.
Introduce your company the way you would to a potential customer.
Omari skin is a brand that focuses on educating millennials about their skin. We provide research backed skincare products for millennials. We are fully remote at the moment because the company started during the pandemic although we do have a factory where we do manufacturing, testing, production, packaging, quality control, and storage of our products.
What has been a make or break moment in your entrepreneurial journey?
For Omari Skin, it was when we got our first customer. I sat down, looked at them and cried and that was when I knew I wanted to keep doing this. Every time we get reviews from clients about what our products did for them, it touches a part of my heart. It’s one of the best feelings in the world.
What’s been your favorite mistake that you made in your business and what did you learn?
Undervaluing my business. I put more value on what the customer’s opinion of my brand was instead of the value that my brand brings to customers. After a lot of explaining myself , we ended up totally rebranding. I learnt that you cannot put a price to the value your brand brings to your customer. The most important thing you can do is to communicate that value to your customer.
How have you carved a niche for yourself in your industry?
Our competitive advantage is that we focus on something that other skincare brands aren’t focusing on – which is skin education as well as being customer centric. We offer a 30-day money back guarantee to ensure customer satisfaction.
What challenges have you faced first as a founder and then as a female founder?
Being underestimated. Such as trying to get your point across to people. I have been swindled and challenged because i am a female during procurement of ingredients we use to make our products. I have had to in some cases get a man to procure the stuff on my behalf just for my peace of mind.
What’s been the most significant thing you’ve done to grow your business?
Re-branding the business. We took a lot of feedback from existing clients and reworked our figures and have since then had better results.
What entrepreneurial tricks have you discovered to keep you focused and productive in your day-to-day busy schedule?
Planning ahead and looking at the data when making decisions. At the same time though, as an entrepreneur I need to be flexible, resilient and have complete confidence in myself and my brand.
What advice will you give young entrepreneurs who are just starting out?’
Take it one day at a time while planning for the future of your business, otherwise you’ll break down. You also need to be consistent if you want to be successful.
Ruth is currently on the High Growth Coaching Program hard at work preparing Omari Skin to grow and scale to one day being in the shelves of Sephora.