MY MENTEE – CEO BEAUTY BY NATURE, MISS TENIOLA ADEJUWON

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Teniola Adejuwon is a Beauty Entrepreneur involved in Concept Creation, Business Development/Strategy, Blogging, Coaching & Consulting, among others.

Her Impressive Portfolio

As the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Podozi, an e-commerce beauty platform that simplifies the buying of beauty and personal care products for African women, Teniola cut her teeth in the beauty retail business with more than 10 years working experience in various capacities that exposed her to the challenges that beauty care consumers and brands face; such concerns as imitation products, lack of knowledge in matching beauty products to the right skin type or hair texture, and what baffles the most – how to get the real McCoy!

Her work in ensuring that these needs are met would procure her an auspicious meeting with Wale Babatunde, with whom she later founded the company, An e-retailer they say, is structured on a foundation of intimate alliances with well-known brands, and a process so digitised that beauty solutions are dispensed without the need to meet one-on-one.

A Look At How She Started

For Teniola, beauty business has always been It for her, and in the intervening years, underwent several training in beauty and entrepreneurship. But the eureka moment came in 2014 when Teniola, who at the time was running her beauty consulting business Beauty by Nature, met Wale, a product development specialist.

This boon meeting would result in the merger of their respective competencies, which birthed a beauty technology startup. At that time, the e-commerce ecosystem was just starting to come to life with first starters like Jumia and Konga, whose focus was on general merchandise.

This lack of a niche market for the beauty industry informed their decision to chase the dream with a bright and keen eye. With nothing save for expert skills, and a minimalist business strategy; the two would go on to invest their own money, passion, energy, network, and time into the idea; spruce it up well enough and show its scalability before requesting investor’s support – which ultimately came from the Kenyan investment accelerator, Savannah Fund.

Hopes For the Future

Together, they are looking to invest in smarter inventory that would serve as a database for beauty products by using technology, be more aggressive in the type of marketing that takes the company’s core objective of creating original content in beauty care for Africans around Africa and the Black Diaspora.

Teniola’s Thoughts On….

Competition – Teniola believes that when a business focuses on meeting the real, and not perceived needs of her clients; it will mitigate, though not completely eliminate the risks of competition.

Services  Though logistics is a recurring problem for this fledgling business, they hope to work towards reducing the delivery time of products from within one and two days, to just between six and 12 hours.

Lessons Learnt –  She avers that allowing oneself to be educated by the experience and know-how of more seasoned entrepreneurs gives one the courage, determination and resilience to keep going despite the many pitfalls that are part of an entrepreneur’s journey. In her words, “it helps me stay true to my journey.”

The Rise National Youth Forum – With conviction, she says:

” It is, and always has been a great opportunity for me to serve and contribute to youth development in Nigeria. My being a leading volunteer for such a long time has presented me with the unique experience of working with a sister and mentor, Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji, as well as the hundreds of young volunteers I have met and worked with over the years. If time and chance permits me again, I won’t hesitate to be a part of the family again.”

Projects and Work Responsibilities

  1. Co-founder & C.O.O, Podozi Inc. (2014 – present)
  2. Managing Partner, Makeup In Nigeria Group (M.I.N.C Group) –  (2013 – present)
  3. Mentor, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women (2015)
  4. Executive Director, Beauty By Nature Inc. (2005 – 2015)
  5. Team Member, Makeup In Nigeria Conference (2014)
  6. Project Manager, ERO Foudation (2011 – 2012)
  7. Team Member, Beauty Business Masterclass & Skills Upgrade Masterclass (2012)
  8. Marketing Executive, Track Africa (Mutual Benefits Assurance) – (2008-2009)
  9. Assistant Project Coordinator & Head of Volunteers, Rise Networks (2008)

Education and Certifications

  1. Certificate in Innovative Business Entrepreneurship, New Venture Financing & Digital Marketing, Coursera (2015)
  2. Certificate in Entrepreneurial Management, Pan-African University, Lagos (2013)
  3. Certificate in Entrepreneurship, Enterprise Development at Fate Foundation (2011)
  4. Bachelor of Arts degree in History & International Relations, Lagos State University, Ojo (2011)
  5. Advanced Diploma in French Language and Literature, Nigerian French Village, Badagry, Lagos (2006)

Teniola was born on March 26, but as regards the year, she chooses to remain mum (after all, a lady shouldn’t be asked for her age!)

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