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.
Today, meet Nellies.ng, a healthy snack and food company specialising in delicious gluten free products.
PS: They are opening a store this weekend!
What inspired me to start my journey is a series of life lessons. First it was all about me trying to lose weight and having a healthy alternative until I discovered one of my children could only eat gluten free products, so I started researching how to create a gluten free snack for my baby in nursery school.
[Cognizant] of the fact that I could not sustain importing gluten free snacks, I took to Google/YouTube (again) to see how I could create his snacks. I remember back then I would post pictures on my BBM handle and a lot of people would want it. So I started thinking this may be an untapped market. I did some research, and realized there were a handful of healthy stores but nothing really in healthy snacks especially gluten free [snacks]. So I decided I would just start and see how I would make the business scalable.
First, it was all about me trying to lose weight and having a healthy alternative until I discovered one of my children could only eat gluten free products, so I started researching how to create a gluten free snack for my baby in nursery school.
My biggest challenge initially was being able to identify if the business was worth doing full time. I was working at the time I started and focused on next day deliveries but as the business began to grow, I knew I had to develop a strategy.
So I started by dropping my products off in stores, and since my products were preservative free, I had to ensure that I sold out or they would all go bad. Now this was a challenge as I did not own the store so I could not upsell or cross sell customers., what I did was to take to social media to create a buzz to direct my customers to stores where my products were stocked.
The quit-your-job plan I set myself for one year, I hit my goals in 6 months so I knew it was time to start looking for my store of my own. The most rewarding part of it all to see my innovation and creativity being appreciated.
We gave out samples at first to new customers since our products were unique and very different, now we get a lot of referrals on our products and with the help of social media and the buzz we are creating, business has started to become more rewarding.
Further down the line, I had an even bigger challenge – NAFDAC certification, May 2017 was the lowest point in my business, I was shutdown by NAFDAC for 12 days and also locked up for 48hrs. The most rewarding was rising above it and ensuring we do right by the law.
So far, we were able to finish inspection last year and we are waiting for the next step in getting our numbers and pushing our products all over Nigeria.
The most rewarding part of it all to see my innovation and creativity being appreciated.
At first, dealing with criticism was a lot to swallow but as time went on, I realized that people who criticized me were doing so from a place of love, they wanted to see Nellies as a brand grow beyond what it is, they were passionate as we are about our vision and any little way to could help they did. By understanding that, we at Nellies have been able to make changes where we can and be a work in progress where we should.
My followers grew when they realized that they not only relate to my story, but they can trust our brand. We continuously have a huge word of mouth marketing which stems of from people either loving my creativity, innovation, audacity or story. Social media has been a huge helper in our business in ways we never expected.
My followers grew steadily, just like I have projections and forecast for my business, I did the same for my social media page, Every month, I will calculate how many followers I gained, I monitored what they loved to see on my page, and what they ask a lot about and just replicated it. I also gave myself social media targets, if I had 500 new followers this month, I will target to have 700 next month, as my popularity increased, so did my social media goals.
A Typical Day At Nellies HQ
Hmmm …. I don’t think its pretty (Laughs out loud) I go to sleep between 12 & 1am and wake up at 5am to ensure I get the kids ready for school. I don’t drive (that’s a good thing) so I sleep in traffic. By 6:28am I must make my first post on IG for our daily menu because I have understood our customers so well that I know they love to drop the orders and focus on more important stuff. Then I take pictures and post more on Instagram on other specific times of the day but most of the posting is done between 10am and 2pm because at this time, people make their decisions on who to buy from, we need to ensure we are constantly on their minds to enable us increase sales.
At 2pm I pick up my kids and at10pm I start my other job NAIJABRANDCHICK where I do a live video educating people on the importance of Instagram. I prep for the next day, read a book or watch a movie then close for the day at 1am.
One Thing You Wish You Had Known When You Started
Oh! I wished I knew that entrepreneur life isn’t better than a 9-5. I remember trying to convince my husband then why I wanted to resign and take this business full time, I told him that it will make me more time for the family …. My Lord! What was I thinking!
I’m happy I married a very understanding husband, so whenever I tell him I need to leave for work, he is glad to take care of the kids. He still teases me though, especially how I tried so hard to preach to him that the entrepreneur life would be easier.
Our mission at Nellies is to continuously and consistently employing innovation through the production and delivery of healthy food and snacks in Africa. Our plan for achieving this is through our processes and expansion. We have been self-funded but recently became a beneficiary of TEF2017 which has greatly helped us push our business.
Selfcare to me means: BE GOOD TO YOURSELF.
- Off work once in a week
- Detox 5 days a month
- Dance 3x a week
- Mummy time
- Family time
- Sleep early (okay still a work in progress)
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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