In line with our earlier promise to keep you inspired with the best and trendy entrepreneurs doing great work around the Calabar axis, Our entrepreneur of the month series returns with a vibrant lady who is breaking the myths in locally sourced beauty therapies with all the confidence in the world backed with 100% quality and result oriented products. Join us as we dig into the coffers of the beautiful and energetic Rosemary Tutu Ekeng, CEO TUTSIES NATURE COSMETICS.
Who is Rosemary Tutu Ekeng?
Rosemary Tutu Ekeng is a young vibrant entrepreneur set to take Africa by storm. She is the CEO of Tutsies Nature Cosmetics (TNC), an indigenous cosmetics/ skin care manufacturing company specializing in Shea butter based creams, soaps, facial range, hair care and bespoke fragrances. she manages an events/logistics consulting company RITES EVENTS|LOGISTICS which just expanded to include a delivery/Errands service. In her spare time she heads and pushes the Cecilia Eyo Ekpenyong Foundation (aka CEE GOLD FOUNDATION) which was started by the first female deputy governor of Cross River State and geared towards diabetes sensitization, awareness and preventive healthcare in local communities. An award winning entrepreneur, she has been featured in various national exhibitions where her products won various awards and has been on many editorials. She is currently focused on placing her company on a platform for global recognition.
Why the career derailment from the wig and gown to Business?
I am a Lawyer by profession and an entrepreneur by passion. However, I have not derailed from my profession. I’m still an active Lawyer but I have always loved business so I just balance both. I read a lot about successful people I admire; most of them are businessmen and women in various sectors of the economy. From my teenage years, I engaged in different business ventures until I found one that I was deeply passionate about. It was only natural that when I discovered the immense potential and potency of locally available African products like Shea butter, the TNC brand was formed.
There are a million other business options – why cosmetics?
I learnt from a mentor of mine, “never go into a business that you don’t fully understand.” And also, it’s such a blessing to get paid for doing work you love. There are many business options, but it’s important to do a business you love and are willing to grow. It takes tenacity and resilience to pull through; these can only be gotten from passion.
How do you deal with the ‘’Made in Nigeria, why should I buy that’’ attitude?
Oh, this has been a major challenge. It’s so funny how Nigerians shy away from buying products made in Nigeria. I suppose it’s because of our history in terms of quality of products that have been previously made and also awareness of the people. But eventually, every product speaks for itself. There’s a lot of marketing that has to go into it. But I always say, a trial will convince you. Once they try the products, they see how amazing they are and they don’t even believe it’s all made in Nigeria. It’s a step by step process to get people to buy Nigerian. There’s progress being made and Nigerians are starting to look back home for their purchases. Hopefully, as Nigerian manufacturers and businessmen try to maintain high quality standards, this trend will increase.
How would you best describe the TNC brand and how long have it been in the market?
The TNC brand is an indigenous organic based cosmetic company. We strive to provide quality skin and hair care products made from premium natural ingredients. Our products are 100% organic and as such protect and heal the skin from the harmful effects of harsh chemical based products. We started in 2012 and have been growing steadily since then.
What is TNC’s bestseller range at present?
All our products have attained significant market value. And we are very grateful to God for that. Our Shea black soap is in constant demand, as well as our Shea body butter. Our male and female fragrances have also been well received by customers. We seek to continually expand and reach a wider customer base, but so far from the response we’ve gotten, we’re very hopeful for even greater positive returns.
Tell us about the TNC quality control structure and dermatological certifications.
We check all our raw materials in the factory lab where the products are produced. Everything is properly tested from raw material to finished products to ensure that what we’re sending out maintains a high level of quality and is not harmful to our customers.
What’s the TNC distribution chain and how can interested distributors get involved?
We work with wholesalers and retailers. We have our products in various stores and supermarkets. We are also looking for more distributors for other regions which we want to expand to.
Interested distributors can call on 08033418053 or email email@example.com
Is the TNC brand open to investment expansions at this time?
Yes, very much.
What misconception you’ll like to change about starting small and locally?
Many people want to wake up to success. But it takes ten years to be an overnight success. If you keep waiting for that eureka moment or that big break before starting something, you may never begin. Start from where you are, and start with what you have. We have vast resources locally available. We just need to look around and harness them into viable economic products.
What has been your highest self-fulfilling point being as a cosmetician?
Being able to grow this company to what it is now. And seeing the products actually work for and solve people’s challenges. It’s very fulfilling to create something that makes a difference.
What has been your biggest challenge growing your business in Calabar?
As with most businesses, one of the greatest challenges is turning your product or service into cash. That is, building a consistent customer base, especially for a new product. I don’t like to dwell too much on challenges or look at a geographical location as particularly challenging. It is true though that growing a business in calabar has its many pitfalls, particularly in introducing the product and getting the people to buy. Calabar isn’t such a dynamic market like some bigger cities. But I think there are some new reforms in the trade and investment sectors and with the passion of our new and passionate governor Prof. Ben Ayade I know these will help entrepreneurs grow our businesses.
Who has impressed you the most in the Calabar business scene and why?
So many people have mentored and inspired me some without even knowing.
Tell us about Rites Delivery and how have you managed to sustain the brand?
Rite deliveries is a subsidiary of my events management company. It’s a delivery service. My daughter oversees it. We also have a manager who runs it.
What other projects are you involved in?
I’m a lawyer. I am also actively involved in politics and philanthropy. I run a foundation in Honour of my late mum, Her Excellency, Lady Cecilia Eyo Ekpenyong. We work to create diabetes awareness and preventive healthcare awareness in local communities.
How do you unwind and where is your favourite destination?
I love to read, eat, listen to Music and travel. My favorite destination would be France, it has a very romantic scene which appeals to me. I love the designer stores there for shopping. Romance and shopping; every girls dream.
What are your goals for the future?
To build the TNC brand into a world class cosmetics company with branches in at least 10 countries across the continent. I also want to develop the CEE Gold foundation to achieve its goals of setting up support groups and centre across Local Government areas within the country.
Final Words for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Like Nike I’d say ‘just do it’ whatever your idea is, develop it, believe in it, and just begin. You’d be amazed at how many people are waiting for your product or service.
We sincerely hope that you’ve been inspired by this post to ‘just do it’. Go ahead and start up that idea in your head no matter how crazy it might sound at the moment. The most important thing is for you to believe in your dream.