Welcome to LiveWell Week!

Wellness has been a buzzword for the past few years, and this burgeoning industry valued at over $3.7 trillion globally, has spawned several brands home and abroad committed to helping us, in millenial speak – live our very best lives. This juggernaut industry covers not only the typical areas like fitness, nutrition and beauty, it’s evolving more and more to include mindfulness, mental health and well-being in our careers and at home.

In this series, we explore wellness on the continent, not only tapping into this trend but speaking to various individuals and brands about what wellness and self-care means to them and spanning different aspects of the industry from  wellness tourism , alternative medicine, workplace wellness, beauty and anti ageing as well as the reactive and proactive elements in wellness and self-care.

Meet Oh So Nutrition,  a whole foods and healthy beverage company, based out of Lagos, Nigeria. Originally founded in 2014 by two friends who turned a much needed lifestyle change into a full fledged business.

Our specific focus is especially those people who have food allergies and intolerances, and health issues.  We also have a shared desire to elevate ‘Made in Nigeria’ food products to global standards.

Why did you start?

We’ve both had individual personal health challenges and these were very much related to diet. Therefore, we desperately needed healthier and easily accessible beverage and snack options to support our lifestyle goals and to address health concerns.

At the time it was difficult to find readily options in Lagos that we could trust. This led us to start testing and adapting alternative recipes at home to address wellness needs.  After testing out creations with family and friends, and making tweaks we were encouraged to commercialise our creations.

We turned our personal challenges into a business model, this goes against one key concept we both learnt in Business School  – never think that your personal needs are what the market needs! We did our research, studied the global food and wellness trends, wrote our business plan, conducted additional product testing. It was at this point that it became clear that the Nigerian market was ready for healthy and convenient food options.

You see we’re both in this business because of our shared passion for creating improved food choices for those that need them.

Our specific focus is especially those people who have food allergies and intolerances, and health issues.  We also have a shared desire to elevate ‘Made in Nigeria’ food products to global standards.

The Challenges & Rewards of Running Oh So Nutrition?

Our biggest challenge has been running a business whilst both being in full time employment, which means we work almost 24/7. But working on Oh So generally does not feel like work. Running an SME in Nigeria is in itself challenging, add to that the fact that both our jobs require that we travel extensively makes it even more challenging. We believe that the business could have grown faster if at least one of us was working at it full time. We are fully dedicated to both our “day jobs” and our “passion” and have learnt never to sacrifice one for the other – hard to do but very doable. Our day jobs help us in investing in our business at our own pace whilst maintaining our ethos and without being swayed by external influences.

Our partnership is the dream team, we work very well as a team as we are both able to utilise our unique skills to ensure that neither sides of our lives suffers. On the flip side, we have no regrets in the way in which we have grown, it is rewarding, mentoring a young, enthusiastic and dedicated team who see our vision, understand our mission and are able to execute these perfectly.

It also means that we are kept on our toes constantly researching, not dwelling on issues and making sure we deal swiftly with any issue that we come across.  Finding solutions is our number one priority – we are constantly learning, researching, taking courses, attending conferences and innovating to ensure that we keep abreast of global trends and products.

Founder Responsibilities ?

One thing we did early on in our business is to ensure that we established “who was to do what” by drawing up roles and responsibilities– this has been a lifesaver as we have avoided conflicts and have drawn on our respective strengths to ensure that the business runs smoothly.

One of us is known by our team as Chief Recipe Officer or Mama Bear in the Kitchen – over the years, she has taken courses and is now a professionally trained Raw and Plant based Chef. You know what they say about too many cooks in the kitchen? So we have learnt to take that literally; all things that pertain to Marketing and Product Development are her baby. The second co-founder runs the Business and People Operations and is known as Chief Amazement Officer aka Mummy Oh So. She is the go to person in ensuring that everything runs smoothly and our team remains motivated and happy.

On Criticism & Staying Focused

We have learnt to receive feedback and criticism with humility. We are constantly speaking with our customers and learning from them.

For example, when we first introduced our Ofada Chops, customers were a bit taken aback by the taste as they expected the typical spicy dish they were used to. It was meant to be a rice based salad using our home grown Ofada rice. After a lot of feedback, we reinvented it by adding an Ugu stir fry and made it spicier.

There are other examples of how we have tweaked our products over the years to ensure that our customers know that we will always put them first. That being said, also receiving feedback has helped us to firmly establish one thing in our minds “Not everyone is our customer and we are fine with that”. This has helped us to stay focused and to stay firmly in our lane as we cannot please and serve everyone, but those that we serve we ensure that we serve very well and they are pleased with both our products and services.


Running an SME in Nigeria is in itself challenging, add to that the fact that both our jobs require that we travel extensively makes it even more challenging

On Growing An Audience on Social Media

People are intrigued by our branding and packaging, and we have been accused of not looking “Nigerian enough” (whatever that means!), because for us being Nigerian is what our brand represents.  That was encouraging for us as one of our initial goal was to elevate the standards that we saw in the healthy food sector.  We want our products to be proudly Nigerian and of global standards being able to stand on any shelf anywhere in the World.

It is also our belief that Nigerian customers deserve great products.  Therefore, we ensure that we engage our customers on social media and educate them about food and making healthy food choices. We also ensure all our products are primarily based on Nigerian ingredients, with a twist. Our posts are fun and interesting, but our aim is to always bring it back to the benefits of embracing a healthier lifestyle. How our products can help you in that journey is something we regularly communicate.

For example, our own take on the definitions of popular Nigerian phrases and words such as Wawu, Koboko and Shakara have proven very popular and relatable. We believe that our social media pages should be about our products and not about us.

We decided earlier on to focus on our products and not on us. This we believe has made it harder to grow our followership as we have seen pages that have “faces” grow exponentially, but we are determined to stick to the route that we have chosen and perhaps in the future do a founders’ feature so that people can see and understand how our products have impacted our own lives and, learn a bit more about our very different healthy lifestyle journeys.

One thing we don’t do is to impose our views on other people. Each of us does what works best for our lives and bodies,and encourage the same for our Customers. Our Chief Recipe Officer is Vegan and our Chief Amazement Officer is what you call a Flexitarian, essentially follows a plant based diet, but occasional adds some meat into the mix.

[Our] audience has grown and keeps growing steadily. We would rather have engaged and quality followership than a huge base that doesn’t understand what we stand for.

A Typical Day At Oh So Nutrition

Every day is not the same for both of us as we are sometimes waking up in different time zones, but no matter where we are in the world, the business is setup such that we are fully on top of our operations. We run a totally online business which helps.

As long as we have our devices and a dedicated team, the business runs. As for Team Oh So, the day starts off with a quick team meeting. We have two core teams –  Operations and Production. The Operations team goes through all outstanding orders and strategies for the day, as well as inventory.

The Production team starts prepping for orders that had been placed the day before or early in the morning. The Operations team supports them by ensuring that they have the correct order information so that they can be delivered by our dispatch riders. The Operations team then follows up with Customers for standing, pending and new orders. All of our products are freshly made to order so this is a typical cycle for every single order that we receive and this could be as many as 20 orders in an hour. We have fully utilised technology to ensure that we are both abreast of every single order from creation to delivery. “Mummy Oh So” will typically end the day by reconciling all the orders and touching base with the team to go through the day’s issues/wins and planning for the next day.

One Thing You Wish You Had Known When You Started

We wish that we had discovered the wonderful local ingredients that we are currently using much earlier. Our first year costs would have been much lower if we had used a lot of the local ingredients that we are now using.

The downturn in the economy forced us to look inwards and we have formed strategic partnerships that have delivered ingredients that have been a dream to use to invent dishes and tweak our recipes. Nigeria is truly blessed with fabulous ingredients and produce and we look forward to introducing more products using them.

The Oh So Nutrition Mission

Our mission is to make embracing a healthy lifestyle convenient for those who are living life on the go. There is a general misconception that because we live in Africa we are eating whole and natural foods, an increase in urbanisation has resulted in a rise in consumption of processed foods. Our lives have become increasingly hectic and stressful. The average Nigerian has become much more health conscious and is demanding higher quality food and beverage products. Most Nigerians prefer local dishes over foreign dishes. People want to know what they are eating, ingredient lists and calories. People are proactively cutting out dairy, wheat, added sugars and processed foods. There has been a growth in bootcamps, fitness and weight loss coaches. We offer a range of products that are made with natural, non GMO, whole and healthy fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts.  90% of our ingredients is locally grown, our products are preservatives free, refined sugar free, dairy free and gluten free. We embrace local flavors and use seasonal products. We also cater to people who suffer from food allergies and intolerances. But, overall, we want to help make eating healthy more accessible. We will achieve this by making healthy foods that cater to the Nigerian palette, by being open with our Customers so that they know exactly what goes into our products, by constantly innovating and by making our products more easily accessible.

What does self care mean to you?

Life in Lagos can be stressful so we ensure that we do all we can to maintain our physical, emotional and mental health. A healthy lifestyle should be a fun and an enjoyable experience, and not seen as punishment.

We lead a relatively balanced life, for us healthy is not a diet it is a lifestyle and self care is top priority for both of us especially because our lives are activity packed and very busy. Self care means we take time out for ourselves.

It means sometimes we just tune out everything, switch off by going to a spa, by reading, by journaling and reflecting and weekends off doing nothing but relaxing. We both love to exercise and ensure that we maintain an exercise routine. Being in a partnership allows us to take turns in switching off, de-stressing and making sure that we are truly relaxed.  Before our business partnership, we were and are friends first and ensure that every once in a while we actually do something fun together. We have travelled around a few countries  in Asia together and we hope to take more of these fun trips in the coming year.

What daily, weekly or monthly rituals do you have to make sure you are taking care of yourself in an intentional way?

For our Chief Recipe Officer, meditating, exercising, and creating recipes for herself vs. for work and playing with her pets are key. However, the highlight is decompressing at the spa.

For our Chief Amazement Officer, reading her bible, meditating and praying daily is what makes her feel whole emotionally. Weekly catch up on Criminal and Medical TV dramas is a great stress release outlet and her monthly spa visits are vital!

What  does wellness and self-care mean to you? Do you think it’s important ? We’d love to hear from you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments

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