Oluwaseun Olarewaju is the founder of the SoapBox NG, Nigeria’s first organic private label company. The company manufactures and packages organic skincare products for those who desire to start their organic skin care companies on a low budget. The products they manufacture include organic soaps, lip balms, body soufflés, facial scrubs, facial toners, glow body oils, hair butters and oils, beard balms, beard oils etc. The industry, according to Oluwaseun, is a relatively new industry in Nigeria.
She explains her reasons for starting on this career path thus: “I started doing this after I had my second child. From birth, I only used Shea butter and coconut oil for her skincare alongside was store bought soaps. When I researched the ingredients on those soaps, it made me want to make organic soaps for my whole family. I started making organic soaps for them and from there I decided everyone should actually use organic soaps because of the health benefits. I thought if I just sold retail, based on the capital I had, my reach won’t be to the extent I wanted. So I decided to do only private labelling for a start so that people in Calabar, Kano, Abuja, Ibadan and all over Nigeria will have the opportunity to use our organic soaps.”
She has had several challenges, part of which is having their ATM cards restricted form international online transactions while importing Kraft boxes used for packaging from China. Another challenge is high cost of production due to the importation of most of the essential oils they use for their products. Furthermore, convincing Nigerians about using an organic soap, she says, hasn’t been so easy. She however declares that it’s getting better as people are getting more aware of the risks of using chemicals on their skins. “The most daunting challenge so far is retaining our private label clients.”
Seun draws her inspiration from the Bible. “We are a faith based business and we try to share the positivity in the Bible through our brand,” she reiterates.
One of the projects that really helped her believe in herself and the entrepreneurial journey she has embarked upon is making 400 soaps for an established brand this year. This, she says, really boosted the company’s morale. “Though we can’t disclose the brand but having our soaps on the shelves of supermarkets is very satisfying.
Soapbox would like to take advantage of exportation. “I would love to have our soaps all over the world in shopping malls,” she says, “so any foreign company who needs organic skincare products (especially soaps and body soufflés) outside Nigeria can connect with us and make their orders and we promise to exceed their expectations.” She is also looking for partnerships with foreign skincare companies.
“Youths can be empowered by providing opportunities for them…it is by taking advantage of these opportunities that they are empowered. Soapbox NG is coming up with various opportunities that anyone can take advantage of early next year. With or without funds, there is something for everyone from Secondary school leavers, NYSC members, University undergraduates, new moms etc.” She concludes.
So, if you are in the category mentioned above and would like to connect with Oluwaseun Olarewaju for empowerment opportunities, check her out on the following social media platforms: