Tuesday, May 12, 2015 5:24 pm
Aminah Sagoe, financial analyst and beauty entrepreneur, launches Emmaus, a luxury skincare line
Some years ago, Aminah Sagoe, a reserved business entrepreneur, had a running battle with Keratosis Pilaris, which is a skin disorder also called ‘Chicken Skin’. The disorder, a common skin condition that causes rough patches and small, acne-like bumps, usually on the arms, thighs, cheeks and buttocks, had defied series of treatment. Her quest for a lasting solution to the dermatitis problem took her everywhere, including the United States, till she ended up becoming a beauty product junkie. In her search for a cure, she finally discovered a unique combination of natural ingredients not only for the treatment of ‘Chicken Skin’ but also for dry skin, psoriasis, eczema, body acne, dark spots and discolorations. Subsequently, she embarked on a two-year research with some skin care specialists in the US which later gave birth to her range of Emmaus luxury skincare line.
The word ‘Emmaus’ is biblically centered, signifying a rebirth or a new beginning. Thus, the new beauty products are the first natural skincare line boasting a mixture of plant stem cells with all natural ingredients to replenish the skin for a younger and healthier look.
“It was a long and hectic journey but I kept at it. Each product contains a blend of carefully chosen plant stem cells which are a powerhouse in skincare as they provide antioxidants and nutrients. The ingredients are extremely healthy and safe for the skin, and can be used by both sexes but it doesn’t bleach,” Sagoe told TheNEWS at the recent unveiling of the products to the Nigerian market.
Her skincare line, rolled out from Carmel Beauty LLC, her New York, United States-based company, include Emmaus Smiling Beads Body Wash, Emmaus Touch of Love Body Towels and Emmaus Softness Bliss Body Lotion. According to her, the skincare products are packaged as a three-step treatment for cleansing, rejuvenation and nourishment to bring a healthy glow to the skin.
“We have redesigned the very foundation of skincare to produce a luxurious line that uses the very best of nature and technology to enhance the appearance and texture of the skin. People spend so much time and money on their faces and neglect their bodies but we are confident that Nigerian women will fall in love with their skin all over again after using our ultimate body care kit,” she assured.
Beauty and skincare analysts have identified a growing market with similar luxury skincare brands filled with diluted ingredients containing various toxic preservatives for skin lightening. But how would Emmaus, a brand that contains no synthetic ingredient that bleaches, navigate in such a huge market? Sagoe admitted that she knows it would take time to create an awareness about the uniqueness of her brand, but she also knows that there is a market for everyone, including those that bleach the skin.
She however explained: “Our philosophy is to provide our customers with a safe and healthy alternative to expensive synthetic skincare. Our skin is the largest body organ, what we apply on it is as crucial to our health as what we eat and drink. Many of those synthetic ingredients in many skincare products are carcinogens (cancer causing) while some serve no purpose at all, but are used as fillers. Cancer is prevalent because of the harmful bleaching creams people apply on their skin so we therefore have to be mindful of what we apply on our skin.”
Estimated to have gulped over $500,000 (N100million) in terms of investment, this magazine learnt that the original plan by Sagoe was to first launch Emmaus in the United States and shortly after, Nigeria. But the sense of patriotism lured her to test the market from her home country. However, the online sales of the products begun on 1 May in the US, while in Nigeria, they are exclusively sold at MedPlus Pharmacies across Lagos and also at B Natural Spa in Victoria island and Ikeja, Lagos.
As the products are for a niche market, how affordable are they? “I will say that good things don’t come cheap. I’m a big believer in the saying that, ‘You get what you pay for,’ said Sagoe.
Nigeria’s multi-billion naira beauty and personal care sector has been witnessing a positive value performance, influenced by an obvious increase in the population, and also in disposable incomes. The beauty entrepreneur told TheNEWS that her projection is that in the first year of its launch, Emmaus would be targeting 10 percent of the market share, while her next plan is to develop a facial and hair range very soon for women of colour. Born of an Egyptian father and Nigerian mother, Sagoe is not entirely new to the Nigerian corporate and business circle. She co-owns Cabello Bonita, a popular hair and beauty supply store in Lagos, and also runs a procurement services company alongside Yomi Sagoe, her husband.