Saturday, June 17, 2017

Andrea Ichite: Aini Organix

Andrea Ichite Aini Organix Botanical Skin Conditioner

Beautiful Skin Equals Happiness

As a woman of Nigerian descent, I understand how amazing black soap and shea butter can be for a person’s skin. Andrea Ichite is the CEO and founder of Aini OrganixAini Organix is a natural skin care line that uses various ingredients (including black soap and shea butter) to create flawless skin. It was great to interview Ichite and learn more about this unique brand.
KAY KAY: How would you describe your skin care routine?
Ichite: Simple! I cleanse, tone, and moisturizer daily. I also exfoliate, mask, and do a full body scrub weekly. I also get my fair share of sunbathing in to supplement my Aini glow. The cleaner and simpler, the better!
KAY KAY: How would you describe Aini Organix?
Ichite: Aini Organix is a natural skin care line with a heavy African influence. Every product has at least one authentic ingredient from the continent of Africa such as shea butter, black soap, Moroccan roses, and argan oil. The brand celebrates the opulence of Africa and the bounty of natural resources pouring from the earth.
KAY KAY: What was your background before you opened Aini Organix?
Ichite: I have a bachelor of science in Nutrition/Exercise Science from Florida State University and a Master’s degree in Women’s Health from the University of South Florida. I have always been very passionate about health and living as clean as possible.
KAY KAY: What made you want to launch Aini Organix
Ichite: I had been making natural skin products for myself, family, and friends. As I continued to receive compliments from people about my skin and positive feedbacks from those who had used the products, I came up with the idea of making my products into a brand.
KAY KAY: What was the hardest part about launching Aini Organix?
Ichite: Since I did not have any investors and/or loans, funding was definitely the biggest challenge.  I definitely wanted to do everything organically and on my own. The initial running capital was out of pocket. This led to me working two jobs to make ends meet. Time was another challenge. I had to work two jobs, generate the inventory, design marketing plans and balance the accounts all by myself.
KAY KAY: Where do you see yourself and Aini Organix in the next five years?
Ichite:  I am debating whether I want to expand into the haircare world. It is such a foreign territory for me, but I do have a lot of interest in hair care and a lot of great ideas! I have four products now but within the next month, I am adding about ten more. Obviously, more skin care but I have also been dabbling in bath and body. My five-year goal is one-hundred products, but God is faithful so I am sure I will carry one-hundred products before then.  I would also like to have my products available in multiple outlets. Right now, we are strictly online but I intend to make Aini Organix available in department stores and conventions. Most importantly, my heart desire would be to create initiatives focused on helping girls and women around the world start their own businesses.
KAY KAY: What do you love the most about Aini Organix?
Ichite:   I love the fact that the products are natural, straight from the earth, and very effective in making people feel and look beautiful. I love that it allows me to be creative, innovative, and share all my creations with people.
KAY KAY: How did you get started launching Aini Organix?
Ichite:  As mentioned earlier, I started making the products for myself, family, and friends.  When the decision was made to brand the products, I gave away one-hundred free samples online. I improved the products based on the feedback I received from customers who had tried the samples. Finally, I launched the Aini Organix website in December 2016 and since then I have been pushing my four signature products.
KAY KAY:  What are the benefits of black soap?
Ichite:  Black soap is extremely beneficial for the skin. It removes oil, dries out blackheads, and reduces the appearance of acne scars and other blemishes (to name the least). It is made from ashes. These ashes have detoxifying properties that literally drag oil and dirt from your pores.
KAY KAY: What advice would you give to future entrepreneurs?
Ichite: Self-motivation is key! No one else has to believe in you. You just need to believe in you! Also, no one else will care as much as you care. When starting a business there will be a lot of ups and downs. It is up to you to ensure that those downs do not turn into down and outs. You have to bear the burden of constantly coming up with new sources of inspiration. You also have to wear multiple hats and you have to be your biggest (or only) cheerleader!
My top two tips are:
  • Set goals and count every step toward those goals as a WIN!
  • Do not be afraid to briefly step away from your business to refresh your mind and renew your energy. You will be surprised at how much clarity you will gain by taking a break. You will also be very productive when you direct your energy back to your business
KAY KAY: How did you come up with the name Aini Organix?
Ichite:  I knew that I wanted the name of my business to be a reflection of my products. Aini is an Arabic word meaning spring, flower, or source. Organic, or in this case Organix, means derived from living matter, naturally. Aini Organix means deriving from a natural source and our ingredients do just that — all natural and deriving naturally from various parts of Africa!

Photo of Ichite: Property of Ichite
Photo of the merchandise: Andramada Films

Friday, June 9, 2017

Interviewing with Kay Kay: Kelechi Okafor

Kelechi Okafor is simply amazing! She is funny, real, and ....REAL! She is the owner of the Kelechnekoff and Twerk Werkz (located in London). It was an honor to interview her and when I am in London you BESTA BELIEVE that I am stopping in her studio to get my TWERK ON!!!

Kay Kay’s Way: How would you describe your dance style? 

Okafor: My dance style is very much about feeling. It's very much about being in the moment and being all of you within that moment.

Kay Kay’s Way: How would you describe Kelechnekoff and its brainchild, Twerk Werkz?

Okafor: Kelechnekoff is fun, vibrant, and overall loving. Twerk Werkz is an extension of that. It is a class that's meant to bring joy, ownership, and reclamation to our bodies as women (most especially as black women).

Kay Kay’s Way: What was your background before you started Kelechnekoff?

Okafor: My background before opening my studio was in fitness, theater arts, and performing arts. I had taken part in athletics during my school years. After trying to get jobs as an actress, I realized that I should pursue something else that I cared about just as much. I cared about fitness just as much so I became a personal trainer and I spent many years training various clients.

Kay Kay’s Way: What made you want to launch Kelechnekoff?

Okafor: I launched my studio because I wanted to create a space where I could teach in a way that I felt was missing in the fitness industry. Training with kindness!

Kay Kay’s Way: How did you get started launching your business and what was the hardest part about launching Kelechnekoff?

Okafor: The Main challenge was financing. Studio cost quite a bit and getting finances together wasn't easy even with crowdfunding.

Kay Kay’s Way: Where do you see yourself and Kelechnekoff in the next five years?

Okafor: In the next five years, I see myself and my studio on another stage of this journey. Happiness is my main focus… no matter what happens.

Kay Kay’s Way: What do you love the most about Kelechnekoff?

Okafor: I love that the studio encourages people to be at ease and enjoy their bodies. It is great that people who attend, sense the supportive environment.

Kay Kay’s Way: What advice would you give to future entrepreneurs? 

Okafor: Just do it! It is ok to be afraid but it's not ok to let the fear stop you.

Okafor: The name is like the gun Kalashnikov!

Kay Kay’s Way: You recently were a contestant on the Ultimate Hell Week. How was that????!!!!!

Okafor: Ultimate hell week was just that… hell!!! However, it was also the best experience I've ever had. I think had I not gone to South Africa to take part in the show, I wouldn't be where I am now in terms of having my own studio. The show made me realize that I had strengths that I didn't even know were there. That realization made a huge impact on my confidence and my ambitions.

Photo of Okafor: Property of Okafor