Twenty-one years ago, foremost herbal slimming expert, Quincy Ayodele, opened her shop to add value to humanity. Over the years, she has taken some steps to step up her game, one of which was launching the products in the international market. Although the journey was full of ups and downs, today, Quincy has a good testimony to back up her story. The beautiful boss of Quincy Herbal shares the story of her rise to fame with Bayo Adeoye
You are looking very young, how do you feel at 60?
I feel great and highly blessed. Above all, I feel healthy. I thank God every day for his mercies. Well, I think I have always looked a bit younger due to my petite frame, and I used to hate it when I was younger. I later realised it was a gift when I gained a lot of weight in my thirties and began to look much older. After losing the weight with natural herbs and diet and taking off about the 10 years off my age, I realised you can actually age backward based on your lifestyle. I take a lot of leafy vegetables daily and drink plenty of water. I get in some brief exercise for heart exercise, but diet is more important – You are what you eat.
Where did you spend your formative years?
I spent my formative years in Olorunsogo Village via Abeokuta, Ogun State with my late paternal grandmother, while my parents were away in England. My father went to pursue a legal education there. They returned to Nigeria 14 years later. It was wonderful growing up there in terms of the tranquility, the invented games children from outside, listening to tales by my grandfather after dinner, going to the farm, etc.
It was also fraught with illness – I was a sickly child – I spent more time indoors, being treated with nothing but agbo (natural herbs) because there was no hospital in my village even up till now.
How did your background shape your life?
I believe it was absolutely fundamental to who I am today. The regimen of waking up early, excellent work ethic, that Yoruba respect for elders, humility, the use of preventative and naturopathic medicine for treatment, are things I stand for today.
Tell us about your parents
My parents are Mrs. and Chief Amos Oluwole Sodimu of Olorunsogo Village in Ogun State. My dad was a lawyer; educated in England. He is late now. I was a Daddy’s girl. I love my daddy so much and I miss him every day.
What was the best gift you remember receiving as a child?
When my father came back from England, he took us on a walk around the Marina and we climbed for the very first time the escalator in Kingsway Marina. Mind you, here I was this village girl, and my dad this distinguished British lawyer. I was in awe. He told us that that was how people behaved in London and then we ate tomato sandwiches (which now I think are the worst thing ever, but then they tasted like heaven to me). As an adult, I have been given so many gifts but my best gift is the salvation of my soul by our Lord Jesus Christ.
How old were you when you got married? How did it happen?
I was 23 years old when I got married. I had met my husband, Engr. John Oladipo Ayodele in my town, Abeokuta. He was a brilliant young engineer who had come for a project in my town, and he had become friendly with my dad, one of the influential Chiefs in the community. He used to see me outside of my home, washing clothes. One day I was ill, and he offered to take me to the hospital, and the rest is history.
What was the most difficult thing that ever happened to you in all your years and how did you overcome it?
The biggest difficulty was, as Christian and a believer, the fetish name I was labelled when I first started talking about the efficacy of natural herbs in the 90s. But with persistence and the support of the Almighty God of nature Himself, I was able to overcome all the difficulties. But I won’t tell lies; it was sometimes quite dejecting for me as someone who was a married woman and a believer to have to read some of the things written about me. Luckily, my husband, who is a very strong and independent person, always reassured me that it was normal and actually a sign of achievement. I eventually developed a thick skin and started educating Nigerians about the efficacy of medicinal herbs. With my involvement with World Health Organisation (WHO) as an Expert Committee member on Development of African Traditional Medicine, we advocated for the development of medicinal plants and today, nearly everyone has embraced the use of medicinal herbs. To the glory of God, I live my life without worry or fear.
What do you consider the biggest mistake you have ever made?
Not starting Quincy Herbals sooner. Fear and self-doubt held me back for a while. I was almost 40 when I started. But I started and I thank God for seeing me through till today. That’s why I tell people, it’s never too late.
What are some of your indelible high points in life?
It was meeting President Olusegun Obasanjo in Aso Rock after I was appointed the pioneer Secretary General of National Association of Nigerian Traditional Medicine Practitioners. I am forever grateful to his administration- that was the positive turning point for my natural health industry – the federal government recognised the efficacy of traditional/naturopathic medicine in Nigeria and began setting us up on a trajectory for our medicinal herbs to be recognised globally like in China. That was a dream come true; something I had been fighting for all of my career years even up to WHO level. The Chinese are proud of their herbs and not ashamed, so why shouldn’t we?
What is your biggest fear in life?
My biggest fear is poverty and I hope that my children and generations will not experience poverty again. Not just poverty of pocket, but the poverty of spirit. It is very important to have peace of mind above all else.
Are there still things you desire?
Of course dear; don’t we all? To whom much is given, much is expected. I have many people relying on me. My desire is to be able positively to impact more on those people and more, and then have them also be able to impact others. This might be funny, but those close to me know that I have always desired to learn how to do professional makeup. So if anyone wants to teach me, I have some spare time now (laughs).
What are some of the lessons life has taught you?
As a woman in business, I think the most important thing is to be vocal – stand firm and let people know you can hold your own. Be humble – the more you learn, the more you know that you don’t know. Life is short – so find your purpose fast and do it. Show love regardless.
You are a forerunner in your kind of business, what gives you the edge?
Well, it’s not easy but I think the two most important things are knowledge and passion. You’ve got to know your stuff. It’s a very technical and skills-based industry, so it’s not enough to just dazzle people on quackery, you’ve got to know your stuff, love it, and stay on top of industry trends.
Can you take us back on Quincy herbal story started?
Well, I have always been into natural beauty therapy and was already used to natural remedies to combat ailments, but the idea of combining the two was because of a personal journey I undertook. I had terrible eating habits and had become overweight, and I also suffered from high blood pressure and obesity-related problems. I was always rushing to the hospital and I was sick of it. I started researching and always gravitated towards natural herbs for treatment. Using the herbs and an altered diet, I lost the weight and my beauty salon clients wanted to know my secret. That was how it started.
Do you feel fulfilled so far in this journey?
I certainly feel fulfilled; never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that God would take it this far. To God be the glory.
You seem to have stepped aside from the main business and handed over to your children. Are you satisfied with their works so far?
Well, I think one of Nigeria’s biggest problems in businesses is lack of succession. My business is now 22 years old to the Glory of God, and I absolutely positively know that my children were monumental to it still standing. They revamped the products, placed them in capsules and world-standard packaging and made them more edible; introduced our brand to social media, and placed the products on international platforms like Amazon and the Oscars. They are currently expanding our products to include weight-friendly grains and foods for export, and so much more. I simply watch in awe these days, and I proffer guidance where needed. I am excited to see where next the brand is headed, and I am grateful to God for the journey.