Earlier in the month, we were privileged to have a discourse with Ms. Levinne Oluwaloseyifunmi who is setting the pace in Nigerian’s Scent-space.
As Public Relations enthusiasts, we questioned her on her brand, Best Perf Deals, a Lekki-based online Perfume store. She spoke at length and below lies an Exclusive;
Q: What’s your name and the brand’s?
A: I’m Levinne Oluwaloseyifunmi Armstrong (long I know). The brand is Best Perf Deals. Online we’re called @bestperfdealsng.
Q: What’s your Job role?
A: I’m the founder. Somehow I like to dodge the title CEO.
Q: When did the business start?
A: I started this business under a brand I registered in 2010. Way back in Uni.
Q: Why was this business created?
A: It was solely meant for jewelry sale( I used to import jewelry to sell to bulk buyers ). Along the line I started selling perfumes too to bulk buyers. Fast forward 2015, I stopped selling jewelry and focused on selling perfumes in bulk. However, I decided to launch the perfume brand as an online shop two months ago. So although we do bulk still, we have an online shop for customers who have always wanted to buy just a few pieces. ( I was tired of turning these customers down).
Q: What incident ignited the spark to start the business?
A: I grew up exposed to perfumes. At 10, I was inquisitive about pleasant smells. In my teens, I started exploring different scents and notes and I was passionate so it was only right to start helping people discover their signature scents. This is why I saw the University environment as the perfect place to explore my passion. The online store on Instagram and Twitter started September 2 while we are still working on the website.
Q: For your company culture, is it better to be perfect(e.g packaging) and late on a task, let’s say, a product delivery or imperfect and be on time?
A: I wouldn’t call myself a perfectionist but I pay great attention to details. This is why I’d rather have mind blowing package plus prompt delivery. ( I don’t see why I can’t have both).
Q: What’s your Unique Selling Proposition?
A: We have the lowest prices and we want our price to be the yardstick when you’re trying to decide if a perfume you’re about to buy is pricey or not. This is Nigeria and many people are getting original perfumes/or would do anything to get original products. Now the point is, is it affordable? When I relocated to Nigeria and wanted to shop for perfumes, I’d go to one of the big stores and buy (although on the high side). In the US or Canada, many people don’t pay full price for perfumes anymore. I bought from online shops and noticed a huge difference. Why is it so expensive in Nigeria then? After doing my survey, I realized people wanted quality perfumes at low prices but many stores weren’t doing that. Now, I’m giving them quality from the biggest brands at nothing close to the full price of the perfume.
Q: What do you look for in an employee and how does it fit into your company culture?
A: I love to add happy people to my team. That’s the first thing I look at. Perfumes make people happy. It changes the mood of a person. I want my team to be like that smell that changes your day and lingers in your memory.
Q: How many employees form the team and what are their respective roles?
A: 12. Two people in Tech. 3 dispatch. Two social media managers. 3 Apprentices. 2 Sales Reps.
However I work with everyone. If the tech guys or social media guys don’t show up, the business won’t suffer because I can do their jobs well. Plus I trained most of them. This is not me trying to downplay their roles. I love them and they make this business a success. They put in so much work, day and night and I appreciate that. I outsource legal and accounting roles.
Q: What’s your brand’s marketing strategy and what has been the most successful form of marketing?
A: I have a digital marketing company that I run. Best Perf Deals is our baby here. I have not launched it officially but I do professional jobs already. Social media has played a huge role in driving sales for Best Perf Deals. We do WhatsApp, Snapchat, Facebook (not big), Instagram and Twitter (the biggest lead). We post 3-4 times a week and receive orders via DM. We’re really social with our strategy and since we sell celebrity designer scents too, it’s easy to fuse celebrity business into our strategy. For instance, we started a WCW scent trend where we post a crush and her line of perfumes and the price. We also share Perfume longevity tips. We engage our customers with questions on perfume use and they respond(this helps us have an idea of what to write about next). The blog would be out soon but meanwhile, we do a thread of let’s say, wedding day scents, where you can find fragrances that suit or would wear well on your wedding day. After each post or tip session, we get customers trooping in to buy.
We do power couple deal of the week, weekend deals etc so people can always stay glued to our page and grab them as they drop.
We also give one Arabian scent for every 10 people you refer to us. We have giveaways occasionally as well. In a few weeks, we’d be doing corporate gifts. We have a lot up our sleeves. We’d unfold gradually and everyone will be happy. We still have a special package for wholesale though. Wholesale gave birth to this and it’d always be with us.
Q: With this strategy, is there any major competitor(s)?
A: On competition, I see only one. But I already found a way to beat them. They reached out and we’re friends now. We’re barely two months old and they’re older and all. But we’re friends now.
Q: What has been the business’ most satisfying moment?
A: The referrals and positive feedback are the height of satisfaction for me.
Q: What has been your major business setback and what did you learn from the experience?
A: Setbacks… let’s see…. outsourcing jobs can be hard especially when you have to deliver ASAP and the outsourced company does not know your culture. Now we just order the jobs ahead of time and that’s a risk but eventually we sell so it’s nothing.
I’m talking of services like courier outside Lagos or Nigeria, printing jobs for bulk packaging etc
Sometimes a customer doesn’t want to pay for express shipping. But we can’t just send out bulk or even a few without insuring. So we help them bear some of the cost and they like that. This way we won’t have problems with delivery outside Lagos or package loss in transit.
Q: What are the top 3 skills needed to be successful in this line of business?
A: You need patience. You need to be too happy that a silly remark can’t ruin your day. Because you’d meet weird people (I’m sorry ). You need to know the trends and read/learn basic perfume notes. Anyone can sell perfumes but what’s so special about you that makes people wanna come back? You need to be able to help people that have no idea how to choose a perfume.
Q: Excluding yours, what company/business do you admire?
A: I love Essenza (I think he has over 50 physical stores now if I’m not exaggerating). He did this without social media and that’s impressive. Essenza is a big perfume house in Nigeria. That’s dope.
Q: Where do you see the business in 5, 10 years?
A: In 5-10yrs. I want to be the first brand that comes to anyone’s mind when you think about perfumes, or need data about perfumes. I’m not really about physical stores but I want the blog to sell the brand well and everyone in and outside Nigeria should have this brand on their lips( this is big and scary but we’d work hard and achieve it).