The CEO Avila Naturalle, Mrs Temitope Mayegun, a multi-channel natural body care and household brand, which combines a dynamic distribution network with a retail strategy as well as e-commerce and a subsidiary of Top Confectionery Limited Nigeria which has a major focus on encouraging the usage of natural products and essentials oils, in this interview noted the need for a healthier radiant, clear and healthier skin via solving low esteem issues and cleansing the body effectively with food and natural products that help eliminate toxins that build up via the use of unhealthy creams, immune stress, dietary deficiencies or sensitivities.
Mayegun in brief
Temitope Mayegun is the CEO of Avila Natural products, the largest natural skin and hair care brand in Africa that produces products using organic and natural ingredients.
Mayegun holds an accounting certificate from the University of Lagos. She grew up in Lagos, schooled in Lagos, and also married in Lagos. Blessed with four children. Mayegun is the first child of her mother and the second of her father. Optimistic Mayegun emulates the spirit of hard work from her father.
The goal-oriented CEO does not give up easily even amidst challenges and doesn’t believe in impossibilities. Trained to be independent she believes that there are no limitations when an individual or group of people are goal-oriented.
We are driven by the need to help Nigerians break free from toxic and harmful chemical-based body care products
Avila Naturalle, is a leading manufacturer of 100 per cent natural body care products in Africa was incorporated in 2017, and our vision is to enrich lives and to inspire a happier and healthier world. Avila Naturalle since inception has redefined the Nigerian body care space by promoting the health and safety of Nigerians through the encouragement of the adoption of all-natural body care solutions comprising skincare, haircare, mouth care and foot care.
The overall vision of the company is driven by the need to help Nigerians break free from toxic and harmful chemical-based body care products by creating a culture and an enabling environment for natural body care solutions to thrive. Furthermore, the whole of the essence of Avila is to right the wrong in the society; to get people to appreciate their skin, to get people to solve self-esteem issues. A lot of people have self-esteem issues caused by the belief that only fair people are beautiful, and that is why they bleach because they believe that until they are fair or light-complexioned, they are not beautiful. We are here to let them know that in whatever colour they are, that they are still beautiful. We are here to give them products that will make them glow naturally. We are here to give them a healthy approach to achieve glowing skin. So, we proffer solution and can be reached via our website avilanaturalle.com.
We produce 100% natural skin care products
At Avila, we believe that a body care company is only as good as the quality of its products. This is why we strive to ensure sustainable growth through continuous improvement in all our products to enrich the lives of our customers. Creating skin and hair care products that are 100 per cent natural would not feel right if we did not put all our passion into it. This is our secret to creating products that are not only pleasant but also powerful and effective in enhancing skin glow naturally or providing solutions to skin-related challenges.
We believe in providing the best skincare products possible. Our products are 100 per cent natural, free of parabens, animal by-products, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfates, mineral oils, colourant, petroleum and chemicals. While based on purely natural ingredients, our Research and Development team are well-equipped and constantly focused on the future.
This allows us to stay ahead of trends, latest development and competition. We have premium quality products that cater to hair, face, body, mouth, foot, and other private needs. There is no exception to who uses our products. We have made it possible to meet the needs of all humanity both female, male and children.
Divine inspiration and the need to solve low self-esteem issues led to the creation of Avila Natural
I got divine inspiration in 2017 to start working with natural ingredients to proffer solutions to thousands of people having skincare issues. So, I conducted research in which the result revealed that a lot of people are having skin issues.
Lots of people are having skincare issues like dark patches, sunburn, stretch marks. I also discovered that the beauty industry is filled with non-natural beauty products that have wreaked havoc on the skin of women. Some of the products are produced with harmful chemicals that are used wrongly because of the desire to have fair skin. So, for Avila Naturalle, I got the inspiration to offer natural products that will have no side effects on users, products that will make them happier and will also make their skin healthier. I also explore the need to proffer solutions to people who have a stretch mark, sunburn, skin discoloration and other hair issues. So, with our core value which is innovation. We strategise regularly, we try to ensure that we meet our customer expectations and we give them a pleasant experience.
We started with just production of coconut oil
When we started Avila Naturalle, the vision was clear, we started with just production of coconut oil because you know coconut oil is also natural oil from the coconut fruit. So, the number one challenge we had was we didn’t have so many companies in this particular line at first and so it was really difficult to benchmark.
Our primary focus also was organic products, and the organic product starts by getting quality products from the farm. Also, all products used for production have to be organically grown.
A carrot for instance may not be organically grown. They may apply fertilizer to it and if we use it to affect the overall production. We aim to promote the use of organic and natural products because of the dangers caused by organic products.
Also, there is usually a transition, transitioning stage when you are using natural products. If you have been using a kind of harmful chemical-based product that have been bleaching your skin and probably toning your skin before when you switch to natural products there may be a kind of skin bulging, people have to understand that these products are natural and they cannot work within seven days or within five days the way chemical base products will work.
Another challenge was capital because you know Avila as a company, we run a kind of system that is beyond just sitting down somewhere and mixing stuff up. We are structured. We have been structured from the beginning. We have a factory, and we have professional and non-professional staff members, we have production unit and so startup capital was an issue but we started with producing 7,000 coconut oil and it was really difficult at first because you have to buy machines too, you have to get a lot of things working because the acceptance rate, on the other hand, was great because some people have been looking forward to switching to natural products. So by the time we are expanding, within three months or six months of starting Avila, it was like we needed to buy a lot like machines, set up an international standard factory, meet up with NAFDAC specifications or requirements and you know the whole thing was really difficult in the beginning but we leverage on the existing model that we have. We have major distributors; we have mini distributors too. So, it was really difficult.
This is a business we started with just 7,000 coconut oil and you know as we speak now we have over 2,000 distributors, we have like 150 staff strengths and still counting and just February we diversified into the food sector and you know the beginning is not easy I must tell you, getting the right staff to fit into the role needed as well as getting the desired output and you know it was not that easy but at the end of the day via consistency, hard work we are getting better by the day.
We always go for quality raw materials
People hardly believe that our products are not natural because of the result achieved, they feel we infuse other components into it but integrity is our core value. We always go for quality raw materials too. We review our customers’ experience and their feedback even the ones that are not pleasant. We garner it together and align it to fit their expectations. Avila is all about solutions. I must tell you that, we are giving solutions to people’s issues. We are trying to make people healthier and live a fulfilled life.
Our distributors are also part of our stakeholders I mean external stakeholders, apart from the margin they make there is a shared value and understand that there is a vision we are trying to achieve and it is not all about Temitope Mayegun. It is all about us, my staff, the distributor and me all having a clear vision. The value chain is what we have been able to sustain over the years, and I must tell you that is a unique selling point for us. We tailor our products to the needs and expectations of our customers. Innovation is one of the core values in Avila. Our R and D team is always on ground to proffer solutions and provide a remedy. So that is one of the things that is unique about us.
Avila Naturalle will soon be a household name
Avila is a natural skincare brand. Integrity is our core value here. We plan to have like 500 to 1000 staff in a few years to come, more distributors, more products, and we are optimistic that Avila would soon be a household name. Currently, Avila has over a thousand distributors of different cadres across Nigeria and other African countries like Ghana, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Republic of Benin and Zambia as well as in the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The company hopes to expand its distribution channels to more countries like the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Sweden, the Middle East, European Countries and other countries in Africa. Our major distributor also buys our products in large quantities and sells it to the mini distributor who in turn sells it to the end-users. You can also get our product in the superstores as well as online stores like Jumia and Konga online.
I believe in teamwork and collaboration
I believe in collaboration. I believe in teamwork; the fact is you lead by example and you lead from the front. Like late Nelson Mandela said ‘you lead from the back’ but it works for me in both ways there are times I keep quiet and allow my staff to take decisions but sometimes I take the lead, but in all Avila Naturalle run an all-inclusive model and I don’t take decisions without carrying the board and the team along. I like to share experiences and I just believe in collaboration and inclusion to achieve goals.
Feedback from clients motivates me to do more
When you have great feedback, it surely inspires you, so we have a lot of great feedback. A 50-year-old woman in Ondo state used our black seed oil and she got pregnant. She has a baby boy as we speak now. I have seen some users using our products for cancer and say the cancer is no longer there.
I have seen people coming back with feedback such as skin glow, beautiful skin, longer hair, the positive feedbacks keep us going and I must tell you that it motivates me a lot and another thing is our customers have so much confidence in our brand because we have seen customers advertising for us and telling people how good the product is. A distributor told me that a woman at a point came to advertise for her because she got the desired result, she was having a terrible condition that the doctors cannot treat at first.
The government should provide more incentives to entrepreneurs
The government can encourage young entrepreneurs via incentives. Although the government is also trying in terms of creating a conducive environment for entrepreneurs by removing some bottlenecks and reducing the percentage of registration even at NAFDAC. I feel the intervention is not enough but they can do more. Also, the security needs in the country should be addressed so that farmers can go to work without thinking of being kidnapped. At the moment some farmers cannot go to the farm anymore, and it is affecting the prices of raw materials and products.
Young entrepreneurs should have a clear direction
Young entrepreneurs should have a clear direction. For us in Avila we don’t just do things because other people are doing it, we go beyond so that we can stand out in the market so young entrepreneurs should emulate this concept. We want people to eat healthily and be healthier, so young entrepreneurs should be goal-oriented and believe in their vision as well as trust God that the vision can be achieved. Also, I must say that young entrepreneurs should not give up and be focused.
We are here to meet our customers’ expectations
For us, in Avila, we believe the best is yet to come, and we are here to meet our customers’ expectations. As a company, we will continue to give our customers the best and for all our customers worldwide I must appreciate you all for the support, patronage and trusting us.