Mrs Temitope Mayegun is the CEO of Avila Naturalle Ltd, manufacturer of natural body care, foods and household brands, which combine a dynamic distribution network with a retail strategy as well as e-commerce with focus on encouraging the usage of natural, safe and quality products. In this interview with PLEASURES Magazine, Mrs Mayegun discussed the company’s commitment to enrich lives and inspire a healthier and happier world by offering natural skincare solutions that deliver healthier, radiant, and glowing skin. The company is out to address the challenge of low esteem associated with the skin type and complexion by promoting naturally healthy and glowing skin using truly natural and safe products.
Temitope Mayegun in brief
Temitope Mayegun is the CEO of Avila Natural Limited, a leading manufacturer of genuinely NATURAL body care and household brands in Africa focused on encouraging the use of pure and natural body care (skincare, haircare, mouth care, foot care) products. Mayegun holds a B.Sc degree in Accounting from the University of Lagos. She also has other qualifications including International Masters in Business Administration (IMBA), Eaton Business School; Harvard Business School Executive Leadership course in Leading Difference and High-Performance Team; and Lagos Business School Leadership Program – Leading 21st century.
She grew up in Lagos, schooled in Lagos, married in Lagos, and is blessed with four children.
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 success-driven.
We are driven by the need to help Nigerians break free from toxic and harmful chemical-based body care products
Avila Naturalle Ltd was incorporated in 2017, and our vision is to enrich lives and inspire a healthier and happier 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 essence of Avila Naturalle 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 use bleaching products. So, Avila Naturalle is here to let them know that whatever complexion they have, 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.
We produce 100% natural skincare 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 on 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 the 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 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 people’s skin.
Some of the products are produced with harmful substances 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 stretch marks, sunburn, skin discoloration and hair issues. So, bearing in mind with one of our core values 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 that we did not have so many companies in this particular line of business at first and so it was really difficult to benchmark. Our primary focus also was organic products, and 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, it will affect the overall production.
We aim to promote the use of organic and natural products because of the dangers caused by inorganic products. Also, there is usually a 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 or probably toning your skin before, when you switch to natural products there may be a kind of skin purging. People have to understand that these products are natural, and they cannot work within seven days or within five days the way chemical-based products will work.
Another challenge was capital. Avila as a company runs 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 where we produce under a stringent process and compliance to GMP standards, we have professional and non-professional staff members, we have production unit. We started with producing 30,000 coconut oil and it was difficult at first because we have to buy machines too, we have to get a lot of things working and so, startup capital was an issue.
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 were expanding, within three months or six months of starting Avila, it was like we needed to buy a lot of machines, set up an international standard factory, meet up with NAFDAC specifications or requirements and you know the whole thing was really challenging in the beginning but we have to maintain our focus and remain unwavering.
This is a business we started with just 30,000 coconut oil and you know as we speak, now we have over 2,000 distributors across different cadres, we have like 150 staff strength and still counting and just last February we diversified into the food sector. The beginning is not easy I must tell you, getting the right staff to fit into the roles needed as well as getting the desired output was not that easy but at the end of the day, through consistency and hard work we are getting better by the day.
We always go for quality raw materials
People hardly believe that our products are natural because of the results achieved, they feel we infuse other components into our products but Integrity is one of our core values. We always go for quality raw materials too. We review our customers’ experience and their feedback even the ones that are not pleasant. We analyze these feedback to come up with solutions that exceed their expectations. Avila is all about solutions. I must tell you that, we are proffering 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 clear understanding of the company’s vision. It is not all about Temitope Mayegun, it is about the brand, the staff, the distributors, and the 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 Naturalle. Our R&D team is always on ground to proffer solutions and provide a remedy. So, these are some of the things that is unique about us.
Avila Naturalle will soon be a household name
Avila is a natural skincare brand. Integrity is one of our core values here. We plan to grow our staff strength to 500 to 1000 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 two thousand distributors of different cadres across Nigeria and other African countries like Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Republic of Benin and Zambia as well as in the United Kingdom, Canada 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 distributors also buy our products in large quantities and sell it to the mini distributors who in turn sell 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. 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 runs an all-inclusive model and I don’t take decisions without carrying the board and the team along. I like to share my 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. We speak quite often. 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. 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 once 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 further 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, 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 do not just do things because other people are doing it, we go above and beyond so that we can stand out in the market and add value to people’s lives. We want people to eat healthily and be healthier. So, young entrepreneurs should emulate this concept. 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 on their dreams and be focused.
We are here to meet our customers’ expectations
For us at Avila Naturalle, we believe the best is yet to come, and we are here to meet and exceed 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 for trusting us.