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How Dr. Kedei Ibiang's Love For Aromatherapy Led Her To Start Her Perfumery

Updated: Apr 12, 2023

Be willing to fail and try again, not everything works out on the first try, you go back to the drawing table, see what went wrong and strategize on how it can be better. That is how you build resilience

Tell us about yourself/business

My fragrance company KAY'S PERFUMERY, manufactures and retails scented candles, home diffusers, room sprays/ air fresheners and perfume oils, using high quality ingredients to provide the best quality of fragrance products possible to end users

Why did you decide to be an Entrepreneur?

I started KAY'S PERFUMERY initially as a means to solve my personal problem of being allergic to conventional fragrance products which would usually trigger sneezing, coughing and other side effects when I use them. My research on this showed that alcohol was one of the main irritants found in perfume and other fragrance products. In order to remedy this, I started out with buying perfume oils which contained no alcohol, from sellers within Nigeria, and after receiving compliments and requests for these fragrances, I purchased an initial batch of 12 pieces which sold out within a few days. I doubled the quantity on my second purchase, and continued to grow from there until I opened an Instagram page where I began to market to people outside of the hospital and outside of Calabar. This was how I started KAY'S PERFUMERY in 2018 during my Housemanship program at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital. From purchasing perfume oils in bulk, the business grew to the point where I began to import these oils and then resell to bulk buyers and retail customers.

Within this period, I had still not solved the problem of providing safer and non-irritant alternatives to other home fragrance products like air fresheners, scented candles and diffusers. In 2021, I decided to research this and went on to take professional training on how to produce scented candles, diffusers and room sprays from non-toxic vegetable waxes and bases. We slowly added this component into the business and have been able to serve over 1,000 households with safe and easy to use fragrance products.

In October 2022, we launched our first walk-in store and production studio in Abuja, where we currently have 4 staff, with one working remotely.

What advice would you give to someone just starting their own business?

Be ready for the challenges because they will come. If you keep your eyes on your 'Why' and stay focused, you will scale through most of them. Be willing to fail and try again, not everything works out on the first try, you go back to the drawing table, see what went wrong and strategize on how it can be better. That is how you build resilience.

How do you deal with fear and doubt?

The first way I deal with that, is to remind myself about who I am. No one has the unique set of skills that I have, and that is my superpower. Then I remind myself of what God says about me, the exploits that He has said I will make, and all the promises outlined for me and my business.

Where do you see your business in five years? Ten?

Taking over the world! Number one Aromatherapy brand in Africa, offices in Europe, United states and Asia, consulting for top brands and organisations who understand the importance of aromatherapy in creating the perfect work environment, and in influencing the perception of clients and employees.

How does your business look differently from when you started? Are you where you expected to be? Did you pivot a completely different direction than originally planned? How does where you are now compare to where you expected to be at this time in their business?

We have grown exponentially from where we started. We started out with just perfume oils and have expanded to providing home and lifestyle fragrance products as well. From a ‘one-woman’ business to a brand with 4 staff, a walk-in fragrance lounge, and currently producing for at least 5 other brands in Nigeria, and two international brands.

We have added on more products and continue to expand to cover complimentary products. In my opinion, we have surpassed my expectations of where I thought we would be at this point.

How do you set your business apart from others in your industry?

Right from the start, our products have been unique. All our fragrance products are non-toxic, hypo-allergic and alcohol-free, safe for everyone to use. They are handmade and produced in controlled batches, from our production studio in Abuja, Nigeria.

We also provide support and educational resources on products to our clients, using our unique knowledge blend of medicine and aromatherapy to cater to the needs of our 21st century clientele. So far, we are the only brand I know that provides these range of services in Nigeria.

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