Monday, July 8, 2019

Celebrating 25 years of Beauty, Community & Excellence in Sierra Leone: Afromeric Institute

Josephine Koroma-Oyewole 

In sharing stories of African women entrepreneurs, this month we share the story of Afromeric Beauty Salon. A Beauty Salon which was established on December 9th,​ by Madam Mary Fofanah. A returnee that wanted to make her own in pack on her native country of Sierra Leone. a reputable Community Based Organization (CBO) which was set by madam Mary and her daughter Joe Koroma Oyewole on December 9, 1993 to educate young girls in various areas of study in the cosmetology Industry, thus rendering them financially independent.

Cosmetology being a Profession that renders alot of employment benefits and Career opportunities ranging from Hairstylists, Make-up Artists, Retail Specialisst, Manicurists, Educationist, Salon Owner, Research Technician  are some of the job opportunities that young women are provided through the Afromeric Institute. We Interview the now overseer of Afromeric Josephine Koroma-Oyewole who also recently launched her product line Ofino Naturals. 

WCA: We know you have been in Sierra Leone for over 25 years now. Tell us about 3 achievements you are proud of?

JKO:​Over the years, Afromeric has trained over 2,000 youth and has help them to stand on their own. This has been credited as the most proficient cosmetology institute in Sierra Leone and has collaborated with agencies and other  humanitarian organizations. Approved by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Afromeric has contributed to a large extent in educating young girls and women who have dropped out of regular educational system, those who may have never been educated, and those might have dropped out of school. By giving   them a vocation that earns them a positive living the young women have become more independent and reliant on themselves. 

Afromeric has opened branches in various parts of the districts and as well as as well as pop-up shops in various parts of West Africa. 

Afromeric is most proud of extending in the business into Ofino naturals an all natural ingredient hair and body line that provides intense nourishment formulated to stimulate hair growth and promote healthy natural and relaxed hair. Ofino products also promote healthy skin leaving your body soft and moisturized, restoring skin elasticity and reducing the appearance of stretch marks and scars.

WCA: You recently branched into natural products such as body creams and hair products. Tell
us what inspired this?

JKO: living in Sierra Leone during the Ebola period things became very limited and I was looking for natural alternatives for my kids who both have eczema. I started mixing oils and butters and I saw the difference that the mixtures made with my family so wanted to extend it to my clients. My intent wasn't really for profit but to benefit and give and alternative to what was available on the market.

WCA: What can we expect from Afromeric this year?

JKO: As we celebrate our 25-year anniversary we are launching a scholarship campaign 25@25! Which provides  scholarships to 25 students in makeup Artistry, Nail Tech, and also are cosmetology programs. We have started a go fund me to help us achieve the goal. 

WCA: How important is self-care and inner beauty to your business and share 2 self-care tips that you share with your clients with us?

JKO: self-care is very important in in life with everything that happens you always need to make sure you take time for yourself. One of the things I do is I block everything out before my day begins and I  meditate for at least 5 minutes to get you ready for the day. I also advise that it is important to stay hydrated! water is life! Last but not least it is important to treat yourself to something at least once a month just for you whether it be a pedicure, scalp massage, or just sitting and watching the sunset. 

Ofino Naturals, the newest product line through Afromeric 

WCA: How do you overcome challenges in business?

JKO: there are so many challenges that pop up,  whether it's how to get your supplies into the country, making sure the staff expense the trainings we provide to them, making sure the students get the full impact of the program, making sure that we're giving them their money's worth!! in the 25 years we found the best way to solve all these problems is utilizing your network; A problem shared is a problem solved.

WCA: Any advice for women entrepreneurs starting out in this industry?

JKO:The best advice I can give anyone in this industry is make sure your team is strong you're only as best as your weakest staff member

For more on Afromeric visit their facebook page here: HERE
For more on Ofino Naturals visit their facebook page: @Ofinogurl

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