Together, we meet the Founder of Kathrah Enterprise in an exclusive interview. Ayobami Makinde is the CEO of Kathrah Enterprise, which produces good quality honey with the brand name Kathrah honey, bee-wax and honey derivatives.
She has been in the business of farming honeybees and processing honey for the past 7years and has been educating people about the benefits and myths of honey using social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram). Recently, she has been sensitizing the public about the adverse effect of climate change in the production of honey which has led to the loss of sales, discouraging the young beekeepers from abandoning the profession. It is my pleasure to be having this exclusive interview with the Founder of Kathrah Enterprise.
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Please introduce yourself and your background
My name is Ayobami Makinde, a differently-abled, resilient and smart young lady farmer. I am an Alumni of the University of Ilorin, where I studied Pure Chemistry. I am a trained beekeeper, health research consultant. The founder and owner of Kathrah Enterprise. I hail from Orile Owu town in Osun State and am also a mother of two smart boys.
Tell us about your work. How did your company start?
I am Agripreneur, apicultural sector to be precise (Beekeeping). I keep the honeybees, harvest, process and package honey into shelf sizes (for retail outlets, stockists and end-users), in bulk (20L galloon) to honey vendors/resellers. We also infuse beneficial herbs spices and fruits into honey to help health-conscious individuals in achieving a wholesome healthy lifestyle. Sales of other honey byproducts such as Bee-wax are used in cosmetics, drug and candle industries.
Also, add shades of colours to events with our honey or infused honey favours as souvenirs in preferred package sizes.
Kathrah Enterprise started 2014 in one room in my parent’s house with the sum of 15,000naira only with support from family and friends. The business was registered with CAC 2016 with the guidance of my mother’s friend, interestingly as at then I had no clarity on the specific type of business, so I chose sales of agricultural products and general merchants.
How did you come about the name and what does it mean?
The name Kathrah was coined from the Hadith on a surah in the Quran, Suratul kawthar. It means Abundance. Honey is an abundance gift from God that flows too, so I related it to the meaning I read about, and I fell in love with it and used it.
What is your niche and how did you know it was a market to get into?
My niche is Food, (natural). Food is a fast-moving goods. The profit margin is small but because it’s consumed daily, this makes it profitable mostly with volume. Honey is a class of food that has diverse usage ranging from cosmetics to pharmaceuticals. The food industry uses honey for therapeutic purposes.
Where do you get the inspiration for your products?
I got the inspiration to start a honey business from my experience when I used honey for medicinal purposes. On a fateful day, February 12, 2012, I had a road accident along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, leaving a very deep wound on my leg with my right hand partially paralyzed. I mixed honey with Shea butter and apply to the wound because the wound wasn’t discovered early which could no longer be sutured. During my school days, I had heard about the therapeutic ability of honey so I decided to try it, so I used myself as an experiment.
The results were amazing within two (2) weeks. That is how the journey started and In order to be an authority in the business, I did learn about the art and science of honeybees. Today we keep honeybees, sell the by-products and intentionally build a household honey brand in Nigeria and Africa at large.
Furthermore, we added new variants which are all NAFDAC certified to my products list. The pandemic made a lot of individuals more conscious about what they eat and their preference for natural food increased drastically. As a researcher, I thought to create a product that can help achieve a wholesome healthy lifestyle, not just flavour. This led to creating five (5) different variants that can serve as a natural remedy in managing some common illnesses among people. All variants solve a pain point in which all ages above 12month can use.
Can you remember one of the first products you made? What makes it memorable?
A 350ml,500ml size of Kathrah Honey. it’s memorable because it’s my first. We’ve come a long way since then, from the packaging to the company’s growth.
What are some of the challenges you face in your business?
Honey business is a very controversial business. There are lots of misconceptions about raw honey. Majority especially in Nigeria mistaken original honey for adulterated honey because of the myths attached, which is a major challenge. Also, insecurity is affecting access to the farm and charges in logistics as results of the weight of honey. It’s a highly viscous liquid.
Do you have any regrets about venturing into this line of business?
None. I have no regrets.
What is your most popular product?
Kathrah honey (plain), 1L size.
To what extent do you draw upon your Nigerian (African) heritage for your work?
In curating the new product line, infused honey, I ensured that at least three of my raw materials are native to Africa, specifically Nigeria. Asides, the health benefits, it is to promote our own homegrown, which are Zobo leaves, lemons, gingers and Cocoa.
What are some of your short term and long term goals, both in your business and life in general?
My short term goal is to distribute the new honey variants and plain honey to strategic retail outlets such as pharmacy retail chains, and superstores in Nigeria.
My long term goal is to create a manufacturing /processing hub for honeybees by-products, thereby profferring easy manufacturing process to MSMEs,startups and smart small businesses either for contract manufacturing or toll manufacturing.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I know how to process locust beans (Iru) and have the knowledge to water a mass number of building blocks manually. Also, I consider myself quite handy [LOL], as I can roll a lister Generator.
What profession would you be in if you weren’t in this industry?
I will be in the pharmaceuticals company, a laboratory or a Lecturer.
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who wants to start their own business in your industry, what would it be?
I will advise any newbie in the honey business to ensure to invest in learning the art and science of processing honey and be willing to invest in educating people via marketing mediums.
Colour me impressed, enlightened and pleased!
There you have it. An exclusive interview with the Founder of Kathrah Enterprise. To connect with her, you can follow her via:
Facebook: Kathrah Honey
WhatsApp: +234 808 180 7982