Freda Francis: Never Give Up Trying to Build the World You Can See Even If Others Can’t See It 

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Freda Francis, founder of Oasis MedSpa, Lagos, is a medical aesthetician/laser technician. Her award-winning skincare clinic and luxury spa has been enjoying unprecedented patronage since it was opened 10 years ago. Freda, who spent her formative years in Warri and Port Harcourt, says she had the best experience growing up. She was the only child of her parents for almost 10 years, which resulted in the special care she got from her parents and relatives while growing up. She shares the story of her formative years and skin care business/spa with Azuka Ogujiuba

My formative years

My formative years were in Warri and Port Harcourt. Childhood is a fun-filled stage of life for every human being. I had the best experience growing up. I was the only child of my parents for almost 10 years. I was mostly surrounded with older people at home. I was very close to my late grandma as my parents were always working. My formative years in Warri and Port Harcourt exposed me to different cultures and tribes. There used to be many immigrant kids from Europe and America who also lived in my neighbourhood whose parents were expatriates with the oil companies. It exposed me to mixed cultures across the world. We read a lot of Enid Blyton books, and Archie/Buster/Blondie comics. Reading books was like a reward after completing chores at home. Back then, TV stations resume broadcasting at 4pm and they begin with the National Anthem. For higher education, I attended Delta State University and also hold a post graduate diploma in luxury goods and product brand management from the University of London.  

I wasn’t born with a silver spoon

Looking back, I realise I wasn’t born with a silver spoon but my parents painted my spoon into silver by making sure we never lacked anything. 

How background shaped my life

 My background made me fight to follow my dreams to be a successful woman.

Best gift received as a child

The best gift I received as a child will be unconditional love from my parents.

My most difficult situation

Everyone goes through difficult challenges in life. Sometimes through various circumstances, our very self-belief gets knocked in a big way. One of my most difficult situations in life would be starting up the brand, Oasis Medspa with no partners. I initially tried to get an international Medspa franchise from the US and UK, the franchise fees were above $200,000. It was the most confusing stage in my life. I had the property (demolished bungalow) in Ikoyi that needed to be renovated to an international medspa standard, state of art equipment had to be purchased and shipped to Nigeria. I mean I had a budget in my business plan and six years ago, that was a lot of money. I needed to re-strategise after speaking to one of my mentors, who convinced me I could build my own brand and needed no franchise. So, I started to renovate and supervise the building of the project for six to eight months, working with artisans daily and while at it, I met Bruce Nwachie, a medical aesthetician, who was planning to relocate to Lagos from Los Angeles. However, to end on a positive note, I should say that we humans are in fact very resilient and sometimes it proves difficult but we all certainly have it in our power to overcome the most challenging dynamics that life throws at us.

My biggest mistake ever 

I wouldn’t say it’s the biggest mistake. I’d say my most common mistake is meeting certain kind of personalities, recognising their flaws and thinking I can handle it. I always get burnt but I guess it is part of living.

Indelible high points in my life

Being a mother to my son has helped me to see another perspective of life. Business related, establishing my first company, Orchard global services in 2009 and building the brand Oasis Medspa in 2014, have been a dream come true. Lastly, waking up and being healthy can’t be taken for granted.

Biggest fear in life

My biggest fear in life is ‘failure.’

 Things I still desire

In a world dominated by men, making that big jump is not enough to build a brand. It takes more than an idea, a capital, and a prayer to be a successful female entrepreneur. Balancing my needs/desires for flexibility while making enough money and having the benefits I want are very important. I’ve researched work-life balance extensively, and believe that it’s doable only under one condition: that you understand clearly what your top life priorities are. I also desire for a more conducive work environment for female entrepreneurs in Nigeria with structure and security.

 Lessons life has taught me

I’ve found that I’ve been lucky enough to learn a lot of great life lessons and every time I’ve played it forward, I’ve found it to be one of the most rewarding experiences. I have been pessimistic and optimistic – some would say to a fault. Never give up trying to build the world you can see, even if others can’t see it. Listen to your drum and your drum only. It’s the one that makes the sweetest sound. Everyone has their own timeline and journey. Don’t worry about what other people are doing – just focus on what’s right for you. Life has also taught me to be positive, to protect myself and trust no one but God. 

What is ThermiVa?

ThermiVa is a non-surgical procedure for labia and vaginal tightening and rejuvenation. More after the break. ThermiVa is a form of energy medicine that uses heat therapy delivered via radio frequency (RF) waves to promote collagen synthesis, shrinkage and tightening of female tissues. Most women suffer from incontinence, orgasmic dysfunction, prolapse, vaginal laxity, and/or vaginal dryness as a result of childbirth or a change in hormone status. They seek and want an intelligent comfortable choice for their female needs. ThermiVa is the first non-surgical and thermal-controlled radio frequency procedure to relieve symptoms associated with female gynecological conditions.

Understanding ThermiVa

ThermiVa is one of our areas of specialty here at the clinic. ThermiVa tightens the vagina at the opening of the full length of the vagina reducing laxity that is noticeable to patient and partner. ThermiVa will tighten the external labial tissues and reduce sagging or lax skin. It results in noticeably softer and smoother skin. Patients experience more comfort in tight clothing and less self-consciousness in yoga pants and bikinis. ThermiVa adds collagen and elasticity, which results in softer and thicker skin and normalises moisture both internally and externally. For those experiencing Vaginal/Vulvar Dryness or Atrophic Vaginitis, ThermiVa makes daily life and sexual intercourse more comfortable. Patients experience reduced accidents and leakage and even urge symptoms after treatment with ThermiVa. Women diagnosed with mild to moderate stress incontinence (Stage II) may benefit from the procedure and avoid the need for surgical options. Another one is increased sexual satisfaction. Patients can expect increased vaginal sensitivity, more coordinated and stronger muscular contractions, and ability to achieve stronger orgasms in a shorter time period.

How ThermiVa works

ThermiVa non-surgical vaginal rejuvenation delivers controlled thermal energy to the desired areas – external (labia) and/or internal (vagina). Applying heat to tissue has become the standard for promoting collagen remodeling, which helps strengthen the structural support columns and improve the integrity of the skin. ThermiVa encourages new, tighter collagen production and improved coordination of muscle activity and strength. The ThermiVa procedure takes approximately 30-40 minutes. 20 minutes internally and 20 minutes externally.

Cost of procedure

It’s actually N600,000 only but we would slash the price by half for a few weeks to encourage our patients. Many may say the amount is on the high side, but what is your marriage worth for instance? We’ve come to realise how much stressed couples become when sex is no longer pleasurable. After childbirth, most men complain they no longer enjoy sex. 

Wouldn’t you rather save your marriage with a N600,000 procedure? Is your marriage not worth a lot more? When you go for surgery for virginal tightening, how much do you think you’re going to spend? This saves marriages because when you’re not satisfied at home, you’d seek an affair outside. No side effect. It’s non-invasive.

Our world class facility

By the grace of God, we’ve brought in doctors from the United States and when they got here, they marveled at what they saw. The ambiance was what they couldn’t believe to be from this part of the world. Ours is a premium skincare clinic and a luxury spa. This is because we also do other services like massages, IV vitamin drips, laser hair removal and we also do consultations here for plastic surgery. So, we fly in plastic surgeons once every two months. They do face-lift, breast augmentation and so on.