Weyinmi Eribo is the CEO of Roots and Brew. In her quest to share knowledge of healthy lifestyle alternatives, she discovered a gap in the health and wellness sector that needed to be filled. She tells us more.
Why did you choose to go into this business?
My father was hit with stroke a couple of years ago. Being the last and only female child at home at the time, it became my responsibility to cater for him. As a reader, my first instinct was to research as I had no clue about a healthy diet and what it was all about at the time.
So I got sucked in completely into the healthy lifestyle diet and all its amazing benefits. My dad is alive today; looks amazing and there’s no evidence that he ever suffered a stroke. After that, I became like the resident unofficial doctor and nutritionist.
Sometime in 2015, my brother looked at me one day and asked why I had not turned that into a business instead of keeping all my knowledge here. And so Roots and Brew was birthed and it has been an exciting journey.
You are a one-stop shop for healthy alternatives, where do you source your foods?
We source a variety of products from a wide market and also collaborate with local brands from all over the country whose vision ties into ours and as such we have a wide range of healthy alternatives on our shelves.
Our products cater for those who are hypertensive, diabetic, those who struggle with high cholesterol and those who generally want to watch their weight and are health conscious. We provide products to give our clients firm control on their diets and lifestyle.
How did you get funds to start the business?
My business was and has been funded by my personal savings and income. Not because I didn’t want investments but because I wanted proof of concept and to put my skin in the game. It was important for me personally to get a hang of my business; make all the mistakes, handle my challenges personally and grow organically before accepting money from any investor.
What are the challenges you face doing this business?
We are not insulated from the typical challenges entrepreneurs’ face – high energy cost, infrastructure deficiency and access to finance. However, there are other layers peculiar to the wellness sector. Nigerians are yet to understand that the cost of living a healthy lifestyle is nothing compared to the money you spend treating illnesses.
Would you say Nigerians are buying more healthy alternatives?
We are definitely getting better in accepting the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. A lot more people have become conscious of what they eat and what they put on their skins. The patronage has improved a lot over the last year.
I think this is also because we have made extra efforts to source a wider range of healthy alternatives to food, snacks, hair and body products, healthy grains and seeds and much more.
How many jobs have you created so far?
Directly, Roots and Brew has created five jobs so far and it is a point of obligation for us as we employ only female staff. Indirectly, we have created so many other jobs when you look at the value chain of our business. From the local farmers we buy fruits and vegetables from, the other local brands whose products we stock and market using all our social media channels and the logistics companies we engage in the delivery and receipt of products as well.
How has technology enhanced your business?
More than half of our customers and even vendors have come from social media, instagram@rootsandbrew especially. It has helped us reach more people who we wouldn’t normally have reached as we send products from here in Abuja to Lagos, Jos, Port Harcourt, Sokoto, Minna, Kaduna and several other states.
Beyond that, we leverage software for inventory management, record keeping and knowledge management.
What is the secret of a successful business?
I don’t think there is any secret. Entrepreneurship is more than a buzz, it is a lot of work and you must be ready to pay your dues in terms of time and work.
It is also important to take regular reviews of your business, know what’s working and what is not. And if it’s not working, there’s no harm in tweaking your business to make more profit or shutting the parts of it that drain the business down.
At what stage did you know you were going to become an entrepreneur?
This was borne out of the need to help others, but as I expanded and met other entrepreneurs, I realised the gaps in the health and wellness sector and the need to have more people creating opportunities. This inspired me to think of the role Roots and Brew could play in the industry in creating lasting impact and staying sustainable.
What key things have you learned doing business?
Do not neglect your figures, every number gives insight on what to do next. I left my figures alone at the beginning. No one can succeed without loving the numbers. You get everything wrong – margins, profit, cost and selling price. I changed all that by starting with my numbers again. I became friendly with Excel and also found a software that helped with sales, invoicing, receipts and everything.
What is your educational qualification?
One thing I have come to learn in my journey is that education is a lot more than a certificate, it is a combination of skills and life’s experiences. My first degree is in Geology, I have certifications in Health, Safety and Environment, I am also a certified quality management systems lead auditor (ISO 9001).