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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

MC Herbal - Bukola Ijeoma Sansa #inthespiritofenterprise

Tell us about yourself

My name is Bukola Ijeoma Ogunsanwo Sansa. I was born in Kaduna, I studied Biochemistry at Lagos State University. In year 2010, I established Wittcin Nigeria Limited. It was engaged in foreign trade and basically acting as a facilitators between buyers and sellers. I got some few success but mostly lots of failures. But I always questioned the reason of my success and failures.

What I learned is “success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”. During that period I also retained some good connections and friends worldwide. I never lost my enthusiasm, was just searching the right concept, field to convey my potential.

Tell us about your business

I established “Mc Herbal Nigeria " in August 2015 and penetrated to the Nigerian market in September 2015. Our business in general is Health and Beauty. In particular our product portfolio is;

1. Cosmetics, direct use or ingredients for manufacturers of cosmetic products and DIY creams, masks etc. (a selected portfolio is already in the market) Essential oils, carrier oils, floral waters, exfoliating agents etc…

2. Herbs & roots, mainly dried & powdered, for health purposes. (a selected portfolio is already in the market)

3. Natural nutrition - 100% natural, no preservatives, no additives, gluten free. (a selected portfolio is already in the market) like dried beetroot, pomegranate seed granules and a lot more

4. Dietary supplements, vitamins, liquid & powdered extracts. (a selected portfolio will be in the market at the 3rd quarter of 2016)

5. Herbal drugs at EU standards. (next year) and more …

We aim to satisfy the needs of consumers in a better and practical way, offer good quality products at EU standards and at competitive prices. We also aim to exploit Nigerian medicinal herbs and friuits in the future. My target is to position MC Herbal Nigeria as a solution provider for our retail and wholesale customers as far as natural cosmetics, beauty and health products are concerned. With respect to the market reaction we will extend the portfolio of our products very quickly.

What was your inspiration for starting this business?

In September 2014, my Dad died from using synthetic medicine he was taking to reduce pain. Due to side effects of those synthetic medicines his kidneys collapsed. It caused me to notice how many people where living with different health conditions that could have been avoided or cured with the right medical approach. That led me to start my research alternative herbal treatments. I got so far into it that I found a lot of what we eat, drink and apply to our skin, hair, and body in the name of living well are harmful to us because they are made of harmful chemicals. Actually this concept is new for Nigeria but very well known in some other parts of the world. I decided to be involved in this new field with the motto “It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness”.

How did you get funding for your business?

I personally invested some money, from savings and family sources and Turkish Group invested also. So it is basically a joint venture. 

What Challenges have you faced so far and how have you been able to overcome them?

We are new in the Nigerian market, at the penetration stage. We have been selling through internet via our own online shopping site and at Recently we started to sell in wholesale. In this context, we are going to establish our own sales force in the near future.

How will you summarize the journey so far?

As I mentioned I got some good connections during my business activities, one of them is a Turkish Group. “The doors we open and close each day, decides the lives we live” is actually very true.

They have been working globally, real professionals and good people. I learned that they became partners with a company from UK and have production in Turkey at EU standards. Their concept and portfolio is very similar to what I intuitively felt and thought at the time when my Dad passed away.

I visited Istanbul in June 2015 and was introduced to “MC Herbal” brand. We believed and trusted each other. Nigeria has lots of potential and we both decided to explore those potentials together in a partnership. Nigerian people deserve the best quality products at competitive prices as the people in Europe, USA and rest of the world.

I got my Turkish partners involved in my research. They were really helpful and informative that got me back to the journey of “Back to Eden” natural journey. We had long brain storming sessions and decided to penetrate to the Nigerian market with a selected portfolio of “MC Herbal” products. Global business rules are valid all over the world but each country has her unique characteristics for success. Means to success in one country may not be valid for another one. They are fully aware that reliable local partners are an important key factor for success. Therefore, we have generated a good teamwork and synergy based on trust. There is definitely the Challenge of exchange rate instability and even transferring money from Nigeria outside the country due to the CBN laws but we are believing it will be temporary.

What lessons have you been able to learn from your journey so far that others should know.

My philosophy is basically you have to love what you are doing, you have to respect your job and your customers, and you have to do something different than the others in a better way. I started to think how can I differentiate my business from others, in terms of product portfolio, service, concept etc.? I tried to think outside the circle and try to have a user friendly approach. I keep on asking myself why should consumers chose my products.

What differentiates you from other businesses like yours?

We, as MC Herbal Nigeria, propose products at best quality/price ratio. We offer products at EU quality standards. We try to give a sort of guidance to public to be conscious consumers, help them to understand first of all what they actually need. Starting from basic information to more detailed information. For instance when we mention the benefits of “rose floral water”, we share links that they can verify themselves and make further search or when we highlight health benefits of “beetroot powder” we mention the links of related scientific articles.

Internet offers us enormous information in various sources, we as individuals and consumers should concentrate how we can use this source for our own benefits in purchasing what we actually need, at good quality and at best competitive price.

In cosmetics, we basically supply products to be applied directly or as ingredients to be used in DIY creams, masks, serums, shampoos etc. We try to lead consumers to be involved in “do it yourself” DIY products which will allow them to produce what they actually need themselves in a much cheaper way. Thus we promote good DIY sites and share them with consumers free of charge. Most of people make production according to these DIY recipes that they learn from internet and sell products with a substantial markup. Some prefer to use cheapest low quality ingredients in their products to maximize their profits.

Given the Chance, will you do this again?

Definitely. I can’t say I wish I started this field earlier. Because I believe everything has a reason. If I haven’t experienced my mistakes or the failures in the past, I would not be who I am now.

We advise everybody that we all need to stay natural, starting from soaps to body oils to cosmetic products to what we eat and what we drink. This is the key for being healthy. Consume water, keep away from junk food, exercise. Get a habit to read labels and ingredients on what you consume.

Get at least some basic information about your needs, what is good for you what is not, search what you will consume. Internet offers us huge source and benefits. Be aware about what you actually need, search in details at different sources which may help you to find out what is really good for yourself. Be a conscious consumer. Just consume what you actually need!

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