Zephia Ovia has an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economic and Political Science and a BSc in Politics and international Relations from the University of Manchester. She has a passion for social development in Nigeria and is on the board of Teach A Girl Nigeria, an NGO that promotes education for less privileged girls. She is building a career in Intelligence & Analysis for public and private sectors. Apart from her career, she is also an entrepreneur.
In 2015 she started a natural skin care line known as Makariah Scrubs. Zephia defines Makariah Scrubs as a social enterprise; It is an all natural and handmade cosmetic line that promotes development through recycling initiatives and empowerment of local traders and indigenous companies that act as a suppliers for Makariah Scrubs.
IBG: Why do you do what you do?
ZO: I started Makariah Scrubs because I’ve always been a skin care junkie. I would say most of my money goes to skin care products. It’s actually an obsession. Makariah Scrubs was conceived when I was on holiday and got the worst sunburn ever. I did the research and read online that the best way to cure sunburns was through natural remedies. I remember that my first hand made product was a body scrub and mask I used to treat the burn. Within a week, the scar faded and I just got into the habit of making natural remedies that could be used on the skin.
The idea that I had the ability to make something from natural ingredients, which could help people with skin concerns, was surreal. So, every time I make a body scrub I am motivated because I know my products are helping people to beautify their skin and be comfortable in it.
IBG: What motivates you?
ZO: I am motivated when I know that what I do is making an impact. My philosophy is that anything I do must have a positive impact on someone’s life, whether indirectly or directly. For example, when I get reviews that my products have worked on someone whose skin break-outs were quite bad, I am motivated to be consistent and improve in the ways I know how. Also, knowing that Makariah Scrubs is beyond just a skin care line but a business that seeks to empower local traders and other small businesses motivates me to reach my goal.
IBG: How do you define success?
ZO: Success to me is about self-fulfilment. My success tracker orientates around my goals. The question to ask yourself is, have you achieved the goals you have set for yourself within any given time frame? If the answer is yes, then welcome to success!
IBG: What keeps you grounded?
ZO: Honestly, Prayer and my mom. I may not be consistent with my faith but I never forget that I am where I am today because of the Grace of God and always having faith in Him, as cliché as this may sound. Prayer has always been a big part of my life growing up and as I got older I began to understand how real God actually is. Secondly, my mom plays a big role in my life; she is literally my counselor and is one of the few people that can actually get me to stay on course.
IBG: What has been your biggest entrepreneurial challenge and how did you surmount it?
ZO: Working a 9-5 job and running my own business. This is the life I currently live and a lot of people wonder why, when I could just focus on my business. The truth is that my business is just an aspect of my life and I will own many more, God willing. But my career lays the foundation for where I see myself in 10 years. Doing both has honestly been challenging, but being consistent has made me disciplined.
IBG: What do you consider to be your biggest success so far?
ZO: Going on National television to speak about my business and consistently meeting sales targets within hours at events I’m a vendor at.
ZO: I believe everyone has an entrepreneurial spirit. Some just happen to tap into it sooner than others. To the entrepreneurs in spirit who have ideas but haven’t executed their ideas- Stop procrastinating and just do it! There is never a perfect or ideal time to start your business, you just do it and run with it as it grows. To my fellow entrepreneurs who have already established their businesses, my advice is to stay consistent and relevant. It’s easier said than done, but I truly believe that consistency gets you anywhere to the point where you don’t even have to try. Your products begin to work for you.