THE HAIR CONNOISSEUR – FOUNDER OF DIAMOND HAIR UK IMMANUELLA OKUNUBI SHARES HER ADVICE ON RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS.
Immanuella Okunubi is a music journalism undergraduate from South East London who runs a business called Diamond Hair UK. The business started in 2011 and at the time there seemed to only be a few companies offering affordable Virgin Hair. Immanuella wanted to make sure that every woman had the opportunity to purchase affordable quality hair, and so with this goal in mind, she decided to set up her own company.
We caught up with Immanuella last month to find out how it all began, and the day-to-day errands of a commercial company owner:
So how did it all begin Immanuella?
“In April 2011 my cousin and I went to the company Love Hair’s Mega Sale and at that time Love Hair was the only company doing them. If you weren’t a well earning or working woman you couldn’t afford to buy hair because most Hair companies were selling at like £400-£500. But then you had a company like Love Hair who were selling at extremely low prices that everybody could afford and I was so fascinated by it.
I was 17 and in college; and I would literally save the money I would get from EMA to buy the hair. It was at that time when my interest in perhaps creating a company of my own started to grow. I felt like everybody, students, working women and older women, everyone should have the chance to be able to afford such good quality hair and it’s something I have to look into.”
After being led in the right direction by a Pharmacist and her mum’s friend, Immanuella began to do her research, looking for that reliable source that would provide her with the best quality hair. She only told 3 people at first and everyone was really supportive; particularly her mum who supports her in anything she does.
“It’s amazing to have so much support. Diamond Hair UK is solely run by me but whenever I am doing a photo-shoot, Christmas or Summer sale or a campaign, I always have a group of people who come together to help me. When it comes to day-to-day things on the other hand its all me. I think running everything on my own is convenient for now; but I do hope that one day I will have a team of my own because sometimes the work load is a lot to handle.”
What would you say is the hardest thing about running your own business?
“I think one of the hardest things when running a business is being able to maintain a healthy balance, in all the other different aspects of life. You can’t let your education, social life, relationships and even your walk with God suffer just because you are running a business. There has to be a balance for you to stay sane and a well rounded person; and each day I try to get there and find that balance.”
“Another thing I also find hard is when some people see your passion and how desperate you are to push your business out there, they try and take advantage. It upsets me; and sometimes you are willing to do the most just to see the growth of your business and for it to do well. That’s why you have to get to a certain stage where you are so confident in your brand that you’re not paying attention to what people are saying or doing to discourage you.”
Even through the tests and trials, Immanuella remains focused because she always keeps in mind the purpose behind it all. Her job is to provide a service to women, supply them with good quality hair and make them happy.
“Diamond Hair UK is all about the customers and making them feel beautiful, it’s not about me. The company would be nothing without them and that is why I work so hard; and I’m motivated to keep going. A lot of people don’t see or know how much I give to my company. I go all out for my customers and treat every one of them as if they were my only customer. I sacrifice a lot for them and if someone has a complaint and I am able to meet them I do.”
Who would say your biggest inspiration is and why?
“My mum is actually my biggest inspiration as cliche as it sounds, I want to be just like her when I get to her age. She’s just a very hardworking, God-fearing, very driven and loving woman. I’m also inspired by all the UK hair companies that managed to make a name for themselves, companies like Good Hair, Love Hair, Edee Beau. These were the companies that I looked at when I wanted to start and said ‘Wow they are doing so well, I want to sell hair too.’ I also look up to the Virgin Hair Fantasy company in America, they are amazing and everything they do is fantastic.”
With 4 successful years of experience in the business world, we asked Immanuella on her advice to those who may have similar aspirations to hers. Here’s what she had to say:
“Prayer is so important and in any business you have to put God first or else you won’t succeed for long. Secondly, you can’t compare yourself to other people because God’s plans for each of us is different. It’s okay to look up to people who are doing what you want to do for motivation; but you can’t use where they are as a way of measuring your own success. You have to focus on yourself and focus on doing what you are doing for your own purpose.”
“Another thing I would say is that you should never look to start a business with money being your driving force. If you are in it just for the money then you are more likely to give up easily. Make sure you are passionate about anything you want to get into. When you are doing what you love when you are tired and fed up, there will still be a drive inside of you pushing you to go on.”
(The interview continues further below)
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What is the future for Diamond Hair UK?
“I plan to see Diamond Hair UK endure and really take off in 5 years time by the grace of God. I want the company to expand into other things. We have a hair and body care product line launching this year which I am really excited about. There are a lot of things I want to do including more campaigns and magazine features; I definitely want to work with a lot more different talented people.”
What do you want to be remembered by?
“I want to be remembered as the person who didn’t let any obstacles get in the way or stop me. A person who as soon as they had an idea chased after it. I want to be remembered as the person who achieved much more than people thought I would. Diamond Hair UK is my dream, it’s my baby and I want it to be remembered as the brand that provided quality in everything that they did.”
For more on Diamond Hair UK visit their website here.
To connect with Immanuella please see below: