The Managing Director, G&G Organic Products and Investment Ltd., Mrs. Suzan Omobude, in this interview with JOHN OBA, says her products are meant to bridge the gap between chemically formulated products and purely natural products. She also raises concerns over the challenge NAFDAC registration procedures poses, saying it is de-motivating for entrepreneurs.
What motivated you to venture into manufacturing of organic products?
I discovered some roots, herbs, vegetables and fruits I had a desire to shut out the use of chemically modified products from my life and family. I wasn’t initially sure of the possibility of it working but I was very ready for an experiment.
My daughter had this skin irritation like ringworm for over a year. We tried all forms of creams and ointments on it but many of them did not work. A few worked temporarily! After a while, it will resurface again. It was tiring and worrying for me. No mother will want her beautiful daughter’s skin to be damaged. You know how it is! My son also had this recurring eczema on his legs. I was tired of all the temporary solutions here and there .I needed a lasting solution. I began to do some research and I discovered that organic products could meet my need. The next thing was what and what to combine.
I discovered some roots, herbs, vegetables and fruits that could do it. So I began to gather them. Some Essential and carrier oils were also needed. I decided to produce the oils myself and I did. Then I gathered the other ingredients and made the soap. I started using them and few days later, like magic my kids were free, totally free from the recurring ringworm and eczema. Their bodies came out fresh, glowing and their natural colors were restored. I used it myself and I saw it drying the pimples and rashes on my face. My husband used it and he came out glowing and free from bumps.
I gave out to a few friends and family and they all came back with diverse testimonies. The various testimonies made me to know the multiple healing, soothing and glowing effects of the soap. So I got highly motivated to continue producing the soap. Also for the Cream, Hair Oils& Hair Shampoo, I made them for my family and a few friends and as I got positive feedbacks on the potency of each of them, I decided to push it out.
Why organic in the first place and what should we expect in the near future?
Well, I decided to go organic because I wanted to bridge the wide gap between chemically formulated products and pure natural products. People tend to have so much belief in artificial things and very unfortunately, the idea keeps spreading from generation to generation. I am a very natural person, even my looks tell it all and I am determined to create more awareness on the potency of natural/organic products. There is an organic version of every artificial thing so in the future we hope to come out with more organic body care products as well as other organic products such as foods, fruits, vegetables, livestock, animal feeds, etc.
Is it capital intensive? How much have you committed into this and how do you source fund?
It is quite capital intensive but more labour intensive. It’s a lot of work getting those ingredients and blending them to get the desired end result. We started on a small scale and we are trusting God for expansion.
So what’s your profit like monthly?
Like I said we have just started, more so, my vision is the problem solving aspect of my products. I make small profit, yes but I am working on expanding so that anything that comes in as profit is diverted into the expansion work.
Any plan to improve on it?
Yes, we are improving on a daily basis. Every production comes with an improvement of some sort.
Have you commenced NAFDAC registration and numbering process?
Yes we are working on that. We are doing some enquiries and working on meeting some of their requirements.
Have you receive any government assistance and in which specific area would you prefer government supply?
I have not received any form of assistance from the government. I would want the government to intervene in the process of getting NAFDAC approval. Some of their demands are so tall and de-motivating for entrepreneurs. They should make their approval and certification process easy, affordable and encouraging. I can tell you there are many young people out there who have lofty entrepreneurial dreams and vision but their fear is NAFDAC, Standard Organization of Nigeria and the likes.
The government can also support in the area of funding. There should be an agency that is responsible for and committed to giving financial support to entrepreneurs at the initial stage then they monitor to see that the product not only meets needs but gives the much needed satisfaction, then they can offer to give loans with little or no interest at payback. This will encourage more local production. They can also help to sponsor media advert to sensitize Nigerians on the potency of locally produced products.
What are your challenges?
The main challenge is how to change the perception of people towards locally made products. That is to make people believe in Made In Nigeria products and then making people believe that organic products are more potent than chemically or genetically modified products. Notwithstanding, we are doing so much sensitization and we hope to do more as God helps us. The world is gradually going natural/organic so people should key into that.
What would you tell other entrepreneurs especially women?
To other entrepreneurs out there, be strong, be focused, be determined and keep at it. There are bound to be teething problems at the beginning but you will surely get by. Do not just focus on the monetary gains, also be concerned about rolling out products and services that will bridge gaps and meet the needs of users. Women, do not be deterred, you can do it!