BELT Feature Featured Fitness Fitness & Health Lifestyle Rising Voices

From Low Self-Esteem To Business Owner

Self-esteem is a subjective opinion of yourself. The feeling of low self-esteem can affect how you choose to view others, your physical health, and the perception you have of yourself. Being overly apologetic, downplaying your achievements, thoughts that you are unattractive, and blaming others due to the fear of taking responsibility for your actions in certain situations, especially when you are with others, are signs of low self-esteem. Low self-esteem can hold you back from living your life to the fullest. 

Jenny Oseh describes herself as “thick” and likes her current weight and size. Though, this was not always the case. When Jenny Oseh was 14, she had low self-esteem issues because she found herself unattractive and fat, and because of this, she started wearing her mum’s body waist trainers. She received compliments from her schoolmates and friends about her body, which helped her regain her confidence. Those compliments continued into her days at the university. 

What was your dream business, what inspired you to start it? 

At different points in my life, I got into various businesses, such as purchasing and selling thrift clothes and materials. Some of these businesses were lucrative, while some did not record a profit. As time went on, I lost interest in those businesses and wanted to start something I had a passion for. I wanted something unique that would continue because of this passion. I loved attractive, good-looking, and smart-looking people, which was why I looked down on and found myself unattractive. Because my confidence got restored with a body shaper, I decided to venture into the waist training and body shaping business and called my brand Toutes Femme

What were the steps taken to finance your dream? 

I reached out to a lady who had a waist trainer brand for tips on how to start. She instead offered to sell hers to me. I bought some of the products and got my family and a few friends to wear them for a photoshoot. Those pictures were the first professional pictures I had for my brand. I launched my brand with those pictures on 26 July 2020. 

When I launched my brand, I had no products with me for sale. The only waist trainers I had were the ones I gave my models for the shoot. After the launch, my friends helped me repost those pictures and created awareness. I got orders without the product and decided to search for a waist trainer manufacturer. 

I took a three-day intensive importation class that cost me 20,000 naira. The contact of the manufacturers cost me an extra 20,000 naira to get. I got a loan from my mum, which I added to my savings to purchase the waist trainers and body wraps. 

When you started, what did you hope to achieve? And how would you assess your journey so far?

When I started, I thought it was going to be rosy all through; little did I know that I was in for a very bumpy ride. 

Firstly, I did not know how to get good quality waist trainers, which was my first mistake. I was too excited and in a hurry to start, so I contacted an experienced vendor. However, she was not ready to disclose anything. She, however, made me purchase waist trainers from her at the same price at which she sells. She told me to add my profit and resell, but I could not add to it because no one would buy at such a hiked price when other vendors sold at cheaper rates.

What were the challenges you faced when you started? 

The main issue started after I launched. I had loads of customers but no products to deliver to them. I did not want to go back to the lady I met for the business tips because she only wanted to sell the product and keep the business tips to herself. I wanted to start earning big and not be a wholesaler for an already made brand, and this made me go into deep research. I made inquiries on how to get a waist trainer manufacturer. I quickly took a three-day intensive class and finally got in contact with the manufacturers. I imported my first fifty (50) waist trainers and delivered them to my waiting customers. 

A few days later, I ran a sale with free delivery, which was my biggest deal ever because most people do not buy stuff online due to delivery costs. I even delivered to places I had never heard of. I sold over 100 body shapers (waist trainers and body wraps). Word-of-mouth advertising helped me because most of my friends kept reposting my free-delivery sale campaigns. 

What challenges are you facing currently?

My current challenge is the increase in the dollar exchange rate. Clearing my imported goods in dollars has affected me a lot because the price keeps inflating. Sometimes, you spend a lot of money buying and clearing your goods, especially as my goods are thick and heavy. This most times affects my profit margin. 

What is your assessment of entrepreneurship, especially in Nigeria? 

Today, entrepreneurship is a more efficient way to survive in Nigeria, especially with fewer white-collar jobs. It was the fear of being jobless or frustrated after graduation that made me start my own business. However, those of us that are growing entrepreneurs, have faced a lot of challenges, especially the fluctuating exchange rate that makes us lose money sometimes. 

What has been your experience so far as a businesswoman?

I have learned to be more calculated and brave enough to make risky decisions. Business is all about risk, and if you are not ready to take risks, then you are not ready for business. You can wake up tomorrow and lose all the money you invested in your business or wake up tomorrow and make triple the amount you invested; that’s the point.

How do you make what you do unique? (Different from competitors)

One of many and unique things about my brand, that I also get complimented for, is my originality. I represent my brand naturally all the time, no matter the location, because most people in this type of business tend to use celebrities who have undergone surgery to promote their brands. 

Even some of them (CEOs) undergo surgery and that’s not being true or original. So, yes, that is one unique thing about my brand.

What are the benefits or risks of a waist trainer?

A waist trainer shapes your body and gives it some definition around your waist. It helps to reduce belly fat, especially if you are consistent with its use. It also helps achieve faster results as you work out. Also, the tension of the waist trainer around your belly causes you to feel less hungry, and you, therefore, automatically eat less. It also helps for a quick snap-back to your old figure after pregnancy. 

However, the consistent use of a waist trainer can cause loss of appetite. The tightness of the waist trainer can also be very uncomfortable for some.

Waist trainers VS Working out/healthy lifestyle. What are your thoughts on this?

A waist trainer helps you reach your workout goal faster. Sometimes, a waist trainer can serve as a quick fix, but I always advise applying both the waist trainer and working out. There are waist trainers for different purposes. Some are designed especially for working out. And for those who can’t endure the discomfort of wearing waist trainers, that’s where working outcomes in. 

Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring businesswomen?

Never give up no matter what you are going to face. There would be days of zero sales and other days of multiple sales. Don’t let the days of zero sales frustrate you.

What has life taught you?

Life has taught me never to give up on my dreams, even when it seems impossible.

What your 5-year business plan? 

I do not want Toutes Femme to be limited to only waist trainers or body shaping products, which is why I gave it that name. Your beauty is our priority, and that is why I want Toutes Femme to go into every aspect of a woman’s beauty. Currently, I started a slimming tea product line for weight loss and detoxification. I do not want to lose weight, but I love to detoxify my system. I started with three packs, and it’s been doing great. In 5 years, I see Toutes Femme specializing in women’s beauty products, as it helps by restoring their confidence.

READ MORE: 5 Netflix Shows Every Black Woman Entrepreneur Must Watch

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