Zikel Cosmetic is gradually taking over the make up industry, with their high standard and very affordable products. The brand came into existence two years ago, and they are currently rated one of the best brands in Nigeria. Most Nollywood stars now use their products, with a pretty Nollywood actress as their Brand Ambassador. In this chat with the extremely busy C.E.O of Zikel Cosmetics, Mr. Kelvin Ezekiel, he talked about how he started the business, what makes the products different from others, and what it requires to be a distributor.
What makes Zikel Cosmetics different from other brands?
Zikel is actually the best brand in Nigeria presently, what makes us stand out, is the fact that we have been able to provide a very good and high standard cosmetics at very affordable prices. Our products can compete with any of those highly expensive products, and also give them a run for their money. You need to buy Mark Foundation for 15 thousand naira, or Maybe or Blackup for 20 thousand naira to look good, you can just buy Zikel for 2 thousand, five hundred naira, and still get the desired result and effect you are looking for. That is one of our selling points, and we have not only been maintaining our standard but also improving on them.
Would you say producing your products in Nigeria can help reduce the prices more?
I think producing the product here in Nigeria will actually help to reduce the price of the products more, and it will also help with unemployment rates because lots of youths will be gainfully employed in a situation like that. We make some of our products in the U.S. China, U.K.
But if they are being produced here, there won’t be a need to start paying for clearing duties and lots of other charges. Really it will be nice. If it can be produced here, even though it has its advantages and disadvantage but for now, we can’t achieve that here and the environment is not right in terms of the manufacturing aspect and we will have to incur lots of expense if the products are produced here.
Since you started the business, what has the reception been like?
The followership has been so massive, we have been able to go from zero to 40 thousand on our Instagram page. 30 thousand likes on Facebook. The usage also has been massive. Due to the situation of the economy, lots of ladies still want to look good but can afford the products like Mark, Blackup, and knowing fully well, they will still get the same result, they patronize Zikel. So we have been able to provide a solution for lots of ladies out there, who can not afford expensive makeup, but yet they want to look good. Zikel has given them the edge. With Zikel, you can still get that desired look, you have always wanted and don’t need to rob a bank.
They can now get their desired, powder, foundation, contact lenses and every other beauty product.
How many branches do you have now?
We are actually expanding our network, we are presently at the trade fair, we are in Lekki, Maryland, Ikeja, that is for Lagos.
We also have our franchise platform. We already have someone in Port Harcourt. So when you talk about Network, we are not doing badly, but there’s room for improvement.
So what does it take to be a distribute with Zikel Cosmetic?
Usually, to be our distributor, you are expected to register on our website, then buy products, worth at least 50 thousand naira, you will be the one to choose the products you want, with that money, we give out all the materials needed as a distributor. We do delivery nationwide, but to make things easier for our distributors we channel most of our customers to them. If the order is from the same area. But at times, because, they want their exact colour of foundation, customers will want to visit the office to test if it is their perfect undertone. So that is all. Most brand collects registration fees, for you to be a distributor but with Zikel, we don’t, all you need to do, is just to register with us, then we can start from there. Just with 50 thousand naira, you become one of our distributors, but if you still desire to buy goods with more than that, then, it is fine. And I promise you, with 50 thousand naira, after sales, you will surely make double that money.
The turnover is very high and fast because it is now the big thing in Africa.
How do you intend tackling the issue of imitation?
Yes, we know, it is very common, and we are working on that, we are already pursuing our registration with Nafdac, to have our NAFDAC number, then most of our products coming in, will have sport seal, that people can check to differentiate from the original and the fake, we also work with some other agencies, that will also checkmate that. So everything will be put in place.
We have also registered with some piracy agencies, who look into issues like that too.
How long have you been doing this business?
I have been doing this for 2 years now.
What inspired you to go into the makeup business?
I used to be a makeup artistes, same applies to my wife too. She buys a lot of products, and most times, as a salary earner, half of my salary goes into buying makeup for my wife, I knew she likes make-up a lot, likewise me, so when I traveled out of the country, I just told myself, that, why should I be spending so much on makeup, when I can actually go into the production. So, I tried it, and it was highly accepted, and that was how I started the business.
So what challenges have you experienced since you started this business?
As a beginner, we face a lot of challenges like financial constraints, no banks were ready to give us a loan, so we depended on our families and friends to help us out financially. The networking too, we were not going as fast as we desired, we are now in Lagos, and we still have another 35 states to cover, by God’s grace we are working on it, hopefully, and with God on our side, we will get there.
Lots of people want to know more about the brain behind Zikel Cosmetic?
My name is Kelvin, a graduate of Business Administration from Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma Edo State. I used to be a Banker before I started this business. I’m a very simple and regular Nigerian guy but a hustler.
How did you come about the name Zikel?
Zikel is actually my name, the ‘zi’ is from my surname Ezekiel, then the “Kel’ is also from my first name Kelvin. So I formed Zikel, from the two names.
What is your plan for Zikel, and where do you hope to see yourself in the next 5 yrs?
In the next 3 to 5 years, we hope by God’s grace to be a dominant force in the make up industry. We want to compete, not just in Nigeria, but in the international market.