Meet the UK Trained Lawyer whose experience with ‘hair struggles’ while growing up as a child, informed her decision to start a hair care brand.
With no further ado, let’s meet the Founder of Wura’s Secret for an exclusive interview.
Please Introduce yourself and your background.
My name is Tinuola Adigweme, I am a lawyer and founder of Wura’s Secret – a fast growing beauty brand which formulates hair products using pure, natural ingredients ethically sourced in West Africa and from around the world. My educational qualifications include a Master’s degree in International Commercial Law from University College London (UCL) as well as a Certificate in Entrepreneurial Management from the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC). I also have a diploma in organic hair care formulation from Formula Botanica. I had previously worked in leading law firms in Nigeria and the UK for about 8 years until I founded – Wura’s Secret.
Tell us about your work. How did your company start?
Growing up, there was a notion that natural African hair was not “beautiful.” This led to African women, even as little girls using chemicals & other damaging hair care practices to change their hair to fit into the perceived standard of beauty. On a personal level, as a child I also never really liked my hair because it was very coarse and used to “break” combs. This was until I experienced severe hair breakage during winter whilst studying in the UK. My grandmother’s herbal hair remedies helped nurse my hair back to health and it became even thicker and longer than it was before. I then started to appreciate and fall in love with my hair. (like the saying – you don’t know what you have until it’s gone). I conducted further research in product formulation and healthy hair care practices which led me to start Wura’s Secret – a hair care brand that seeks to change the narrative about the perception of beauty.
At Wura’s Secret we believe that everyone has the right to wear their hair however they choose to and we celebrate our client’s “hair and beauty” choices and want them to feel beautiful and comfortable. Our products are made to suit all hair types and needs. Our product lines have expanded to include Kids, Baby and Men’s lines.
How did you come about the name and what does it mean?
What is your niche and how did you know it was a market to get into?
Our niche is beauty/hair care. I knew it was the market to get into because I understood from my personal experience that there was a gap in the market for effective products made with natural ingredients that actually work and do what they say on the label.
Where do you get inspiration for your products?
Inspiration for our products is gotten from nature. We are truly inspired by the powerful natural ingredients that can be found in West Africa and we do our best to highlight these ingredients in our Wura’s Secret products. We listen to our clients; this helps us to create effective products that would meet and even exceed their needs. Our clients are our true inspiration – their advice, feedback, testimonials, etc, have helped us to grow to become an even better, more sustainable brand.
They are at the very core of everything we do. We pride ourselves on the results our clients receive from using our products which can be seen on our Instagram page and website (www.wurassecrethair.com). The true potential of what healthy African hair can be inspires us to keep innovating especially in the areas of product development. Finally, we are inspired by the world around us and everything that is happening in the beauty space globally.
Can you remember one of the first products you made?
Our hair growth oil was one of our earliest products as this was one of the first recipes learned from my grandmother. After seeing the results on my hair, some of my family members and friends also expressed an interest in trying it for themselves. I was encouraged by seeing the results on their hair and this was when I took the plunge to start selling them to actual customers and it proved very effective for them also. Our very 1st picture testimonial from a paying client came from a friend who ordered our growth oils and moisturizers. By then I had also developed the Kids Hair Growth Oil and moisturizers for both lines. She sent pictures of her and her twin girls’ hair growth and it was really phenomenal. She helped to post on her status at the time and the orders came rushing in. It was memorable because I began to understand the true potential of Wura’s Secret and how I could build a strong and viable business.
What are some of the challenges you face in your business?
One of the key challenges our business has faced in recent times is the rising cost of raw materials and alarming inflation rate. This has led to higher production, labour and transportation costs. However due to recent economic realities one has to ensure that our products are priced competitively. Another challenge we face is the difficulties in trading within Africa especially in the area of logistics and payment infrastructure. We find that it easier to send products and receive payments in countries such as the US, Canada, UK but then we struggle to do same in African countries such as Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, etc. This had led to a situation where we have experienced challenges in ensuring our products can be adequately accessed by Africans in other countries. We have been working on bridging this gap by expanding our distributor chain across Africa.
Lastly, I should mention scaling operations. We have recently acquired a new office in Lekki phase 1 and although that is key for business growth, there are some challenges with a physical customer-facing location such as rising overhead and operation costs, inventory control and management etc.
Do you have any regrets about venturing into this business?
I have no regrets whatsoever; I only sometimes wish I had started sooner. The entire process has been a fruitful and rewarding journey.
What is your most popular product?
To what extent do you draw upon your Nigerian heritage for your work?
The name “Wura” is from our Nigerian (Yoruba) language/heritage. Everything we do at Wura’s Secret – the products, techniques, hairstyles, etc. is to share West Africa’s beauty secrets and ingredients with the world.
What are some of your short term and long term goals, both in your business and life in general?
Short term goals are to expand our distributor chain worldwide as well as our footprint in retail outlets across Nigeria. Longer term, we’re looking to establish retail presence outside Nigeria, specifically in North America and Europe.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I loved playing the piano when I was younger and took it quite seriously. I practiced every day and so I aced all my piano exams and earned several certificates in Piano. I have recently picked it up again and enjoy teaching my children to play.
What profession would you be in if you weren’t in this industry?
I would have continued my career in law to become a judge.
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who wants to start their own business in your industry, what would it be?
Always continually seek knowledge, never believe that you know everything. Be willing to learn and remain teachable. You must stand firm in your convictions and know who you are. However also realize your limits/weakness and seek help in improving them. Always believe in your ideas, your strengths and capabilities. At the beginning you may encounter some resistance, keep working on those ideas until they become manifest. Remember that an idea is something that won’t work unless you do.
To connect with Wura’s Secret, you can follow and contact her via:
Whatshapp: +234 703 588 9174