Natalie Okotie-eboh, Ann Marie Okotie-eboh and Hilary Okotie-eboh are the founders of Mama Dora Food and Spices.
In this interview with Oyinlola Sale, Natalie Okotie – eboh reveals a lot about their success story and what it took to set up their company.See excerpts below.
As a Co-Founder of Mama Dora Food and Spices, tell us how you managed to build an outstanding brand?
We try as much as possible to ensure that our value proposition is family, traditions, and innovation. Those are our keywords, a mantra, and values we live by. They have helped us in growing our brand. We are constantly innovating new recipes while staying through to our grandmother’s cooking directions.
The Food Industry in Nigeria has become innovative, it is more about the creativity infused with good taste. What inspires your creativity?
We really can’t pinpoint it to one thing, it’s a whole lot of random things. Just recently we were inspired by Essie Spicy and the vast amount of creativity her brand is known for. We try as much as possible to research trends from different parts of the world and we find a way to infuse those trends into our brand.
In this economy where prices of goods are drastically increasing by the day, how do you manage to draw the line to know how to put a price on your services?
When we started, we were buying straight from the market women making the cost of production more expensive. We had to take a step back and cut the middle man and go straight to the source making it at least affordable for our customers. We also realized that the spices and other ingredients were fresher because they came straight from the farmers, and there was no middle man involved.
The Food Industry sees a daily increase in the number of players. In what ways does ignite Mama Dora Food and Spices stand out?
The quality of our products and the flavor and the combination of recipes. We try as much as possible to modernize traditional and well-known spices and ingredients by creatively jamming our cultural elements with western flavors. Who would have thought that zobo will make a great component for a jam or orange and Chinchin will flow seamlessly together?
The Food Industry is capital intensive. How did you manage to finance this business in its early days?
it wasn’t easy at the start and it’s still isn’t easy to finance a start-up business, I can’t even start telling you how much of our savings have gone into this dream and we are so lucky that Mama Dora has become a community where family and friends are ready to invest their time and money in making our dream a reality and most importantly, they see the potential of the brand and they know how good the products are, so they are willing to invest
What should we expect from Mama Dora Food and Spices in the next 5 years?
In the next 5 years, we hope to have produced more flavors that would-be in every home and supermarket.