After overcoming a skin problem, Maryam Adamu Ali became a skincare therapist. With the help of family and friends, she set up her business with which she has helped hundreds of people around the world to overcome same. In this interview, she tells us more.
What inspires you to create?
I had very bad acne and spots and hyper pigmentations growing up. I visited many dermatologists both in the United Kingdom and the United States to no avail. So I decided to study skincare therapy to find out the solutions to my skin issues. After I was able to clear my skin to a flawless skin, I was then encouraged to start my own skincare range by family and friends that knew me when I had very bad skin.
Since I started my skincare business, till date, I have been able to help hundreds of thousands of people both in Nigeria and abroad to solve their skin problems.
How did you come up with the name for your business?
Aljism means physique in Arabic. It means the total physical appearance of a person.
How has the internet played a role in your business?
The internet, Alhamdulillah (All praise and thanks to Allah (SWT)), is everything. My whole business is on Instagram and Whatsapp. You just have to know what keys to touch and you can be a multi-millionaire from your home.
When did you start the business?
I started my business in November 2017, four days after my wedding. So my business is young. It is God that has been running it for me, literally.
Did you have challenges with funding?
Honestly, no. I have never had any funding challenges. I started my business small, it grew faster than I possibly imagined. So, when God decides now is the time for you to be blessed, no man or force can stop you. All thanks to Allah (SWT).
What are some of your other hobbies and interests?
I am a bookworm. I love to read books – about different cultures, food, art, beauty, love and above all religion. I am also a swimmer, a TV fanatic (when I have the time) and a huge fan of deep intellectual conversations.
What do you love most about creating bath and body products?
Helping people. Seeing people lose their self esteem because of one skin problem or another is greatly heart breaking. The sort of insecurities that no amount of makeup or clothing can cover. It gives me great pleasure to wake up to so many amazing positive testimonies and feedbacks daily.
You have double major degrees from universities in England and a master’s degree, when and how did you decide to make body and bath products?
As I mentioned earlier, I had really bad acne, spots and hyper pigmentations since I was a teenager. After I understood my own skin and the chemistry and biology that governs it, my friends and family that knew me back when I had those issues encouraged me to start my own skincare range and help others as well.
Your job requires you to interact with people constantly. How do you handle days when you’re in a bad mood?
When I am in a bad mood, I encourage clients to send me a message rather than call. So, I pick up the phone, greet the client and ask them to kindly send me a message on Whatsapp. That way, I have better control over what I say and how I react. And no matter how difficult a client is, I make sure I calm them down and help them to the best of my ability.
How do you build relationships with customers?
I interact with each client like a friend. I joke with them, advice them on both skin issues and other life problems. And I also encourage them in regards to their own personal lives. I call up clients randomly to ask about their progress. Great customer service after a client purchases my products is more important than when they want to buy.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Customer service. You come across different types of people in this business. Different temperaments. So you have to exercise excessive amount of patience irrespective of how difficult any client tries to be. You have to always apologise and serve them. Irrespective of your mood or challenges.
What self-marketing tips do you have for cosmetologists?
Customer service is everything. Customer service after a client purchases your products is more important than before they purchase. You should make sure it works. Even if it means sending them more products for free. Advertisement is also very important. And you are your own competition. It is either your products are great and you receive more positive FEEDBACK than negative or you work on improving your products. If 8 out of 10 clients are satisfied, then you are on the right path.
How do you handle troublesome clients?
I try to breathe deeply. My husband is my greatest support system. So I call him and vent. He calms me. And I go back to the client with a smile and apologise, serve them and make sure they calm down. Depending on why they are being difficult, I will make sure I stay in touch with them until we become friends. They don’t have a choice.
How did you first get into making body products?
Well, my first DIY was my Arabian Oud Scented body and face scrub. It didn’t go well. The sea salt melted completely after a day. But with patience and persistence, it is now one of my best sellers.
What was your very first DIY and how did that go?
Consistence. Though I have my ratio and measurements of mixing everything, sometimes the raw materials you find turn out adulterated. So I make a huge batch of a certain product that I will have to end up throwing away. And then sometimes the workers become careless during production so I have to stand right there and make sure every single batch is done right.
You just bought a multi-million naira home. Was that from this business?
Actually, Alhamdulillah, I am now the owner of two multi-million naira houses in the same estate. And yes, the business is extremely lucrative. Yes, I bought it 100 percent from my skincare business.