Tell us about your start-up/business. What’s your 30 second elevator pitch?
Kohune is a Mende word translated to mean Joy. Kohune’s Kosmetics is a Sierra Leonean skincare and beauty brand. It started full operations on the 1st February 2021 and aimed at producing, marketing and selling skincare products ranging from oils, serums, soaps, masks, lip balms, lip scrubs and many other products. These range of products are crafted with simple and natural ingredients from the interior of Sierra Leone ; like shea butter , coconut oil, honey , raw black soap which our beloved customers trust to keep their bodies pure and skin glowing. Kohune’s Kosmetics is based on a popular quote “Skin covers every part of our body so it is best to keep it properly nourished”. Kohune’s Kosmetics invites you to indulge in the calming practice of a simple skincare routine designed to beautify the skin, unburden the mind and bring joy to the person.
What need or problem are you solving?
In our society today, a lot of people especially young ladies are struggling with fitting into the highly placed beauty standards and are suffering from low self esteem with their skin. Kohune’s Kosmetics as a skincare and beauty brand is dedicated to help these young women boost their self esteem and improve their skin.
How did you come up with the idea for the business?
Ans: Kohune’s Kosmetics was invented out of passion and obsession to always have healthy looking and radiant skin whilst growing up . As an individual, I would purchase skincare products from Cien, Nivea, Palmers, Bath & Body Works etc. just to ensure that my skin is maintained. In November, 2020 ,I considered venturing into a business and my love for skincare instantly came to mind. I turned my passion into a business plan and in February 2021 I started my own skincare and beauty brand.
How did you validate that your solution was viable?
The solution of Kohune’s Kosmetics to the problem of low self esteem has been effective and viable because our products have helped boost the self confidence/ esteem of our customers,restore the lost sense of their beauty and it makes them look radiant and beautiful . One customer once gave a feedback stating how her face has not felt this soft in a long time and she can’t stop looking at her face.
What stage are you at and what’s next?
Ans: Kohune’s Kosmetics is at the developing stage.There are still a number of loopholes to cover; even though the business is growing and a certain number of sales are coming in. The next step is to boost sales,marketing,social media engagement and increase the list of products available to customers. more especially, the highly demanded products like body lotions,acne cream,spot removal lotions,bar soaps and male products.
What is the biggest win you’ve had so far?
Ans: The biggest win so far as business is the Nomination and Membership from Women In Africa 540 Entrepreneurs. This continental recognition of Kohune’s Kosmetics is so satisfying, fulfilling and yet so overwhelming.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve to overcome as a start-up founder?
As a Start up founder , the biggest challenge i have had to overcome has been the lack of training facilities or classes for skin care formulators in Sierra Leone. In Sierra Leone, for one to boost the knowledge of formulating skincare products it is very difficult. This is because most classes are from Ghanaians or Nigerians who came visiting and set up such classes, so when one wants to really learn the ropes of skin care formulation you will have to travel all the way to Nigeria , Ghana or other countries. This has been a huge challenge for me and I managed it by paying a huge sum for online training sessions since the business is not financially capable of handling travels at the moment.
What needs do you have to grow and take it to the next level?
In order to grow and take Kohune’s Kosmetics to the next level, I would need to engage in more formulation classes to learn how to make products that are on high demand and to boost my marketing skills inclusive of packaging, branding ,social media engagements & public advertisements and to also find a place or shop to display my products.
What’s your take on the local start-up scene / entrepreneurial community? What has been helpful?
The local start up scene or entrepreneurial community in Sierra Leone is a tough one, enough mechanisms are not in place to make business ventures thrive. There are problems of shipping, unbelievably high tax rates, unavailability of necessary business tools for growth and greed and selfishness from already established businesses ( some are not willing to help or mentor the start ups on the steps to take in order to succeed in a particular or specific line of business).I would describe the local start up scene or entrepreneurial community as a survival of the fittest type of situation. The will power and diligence of these startups and entrepreneurs have been really helpful and as well commendable in the local startup scene and entrepreneurial community more especially in Sierra Leone.
What do you think as an entrepreneur would be more helpful to have here in the region?
It would be helpful to have more training sessions to help businesses acquire more knowledge in their fields in this region
It would also be helpful for this region not to solely import almost everything that we need to grow our businesses but judiciously culture the habit of using local readily available products The entrepreneurial ecosystem would also be developed if we have more networking programs where Start Ups would have the chance and be opportune to have one on one dialogues with already established businesses that would in turn help shape their mindsets and horizons in order to help them tap from the experiences of already established businesses in the advancement and creative development of their products/innovations or services.