Founder of Mobaby Care, Maryam Adebola-Salami is a resilient entrepreneur. In a recent chat with Ayodeji Ake, she went down memory lane on her journey as a female entrepreneur and how she triumphed against all odds
Maryam Adebola-Salami is an entrepreneur and an innovative enthusiast with over seven years of management and leadership experience working in the information technology firm, fashion and manufacturing industries. She holds a first degree in Zoology, and is a certified skin scientist and an organic formulator expert, yet, one of Nigeria’s most successful entrepreneur. She is currently the Founder and Lead Formulator at Mobaby Care Nigeria, a baby and child specific, all-natural skin and hair care Solutions Company.
As the first of five children, she had always wanted to be the first in all she does. Damning the shame of being mocked as a street hawker while in school, she sold her excess wares to her friends who wanted more. In her first three years as an undergraduate, she moved goods from Lagos to Ilorin for sale.
“I always tell my story, always. Telling my story has brought me more success than my actual knowledge or businesses. I am the first child of a family of five, whose both parents are also first of their family. So the pressure to always succeed and come out first has always been on me and these experiences moulded me into who I am today. I have done loads of work from hawking on the streets of Mushin to managing Time Stores and even doing dropships.
“My first three years in the undergraduate school saw me moving goods from Lagos to Ilorin every weekend to make ends meet, You see why I do better on the road? I actually, do not see these experiences as struggles rather as roadmaps to success. They have made me strong through life challenges and also made me street smart,” she reminisced.
She is also very passionate about women and children contributing to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, hence, she created ‘The Made Woman Initiative to help women create and live a sustainable life.
The Rough Journey
In her conversation with THISDAY, she said being a woman entrepreneur wasn’t as smooth as any woman will think of but she persisted on being successful regardless of gender as she got more intoxicated in entrepreneurship to be one of the celebrated successful women in Nigeria.
“Being an entrepreneur is tough, being an entrepreneur in Nigeria is tougher and then being a woman entrepreneur in Nigeria is almost unachievable but we have countable women who have broken rules and made history which is what constantly motivates me to be better and strive harder to break new walls.
So far, with the support of other women entrepreneurs and numerous available trainings and mentorships, women entrepreneurs such as myself have been set up for greatness and always ready to recognise and grab opportunities” she said.
As a serial entrepreneur who quickly gets attached to any striving business that brings money, Adebola-Salami got the business innovative idea of Mobaby Care, one of the leading baby and child specific, all-natural skin and hair care solutions company in 2016 when her baby suffered from substandard synthetic oil.
“In 2016, when I had my daughter I was unfortunate to get a synthetic oil as my child’s first cleansing oil and this left us with a terrible experience. I couldn’t just phantom why anyone would make fake baby care products or substandard ones at that. I mean these are babies, they do not deserve it. So, I started my business from a pain point of having to watch my child go through lots of pain due to this heartless act. I began to use my undergraduate knowledge to research possible solutions. They didn’t come easy to find and testing wasn’t cheap.
“I was running another business at the time which became the funding rock of Mobaby Care after two years of fine-tuned research and studies we decided to launch out in 2018 and so far it’s been one growth or the other” she said.
When asked how she was able to grow her business without a loan from a financial institution, she said: “We have never approached any facility for loan but have been exposed to seed investments such as the #biodunandibikunle foundation, AGS TRIBE, Redefine Africa Foundation, and Enterprise Development Centre. Most of which came inform of priceless education, training and networking programs.
“What I can say also I guess I am just a typical Nigerian, smiling through the hurdles and always hoping for the best. For us at Mobaby Care Nigeria we are fueled by our passion for the SDG 3: good health and wellbeing of women and children. And we achieve this with our ‘I Can’ spirit. So regardless of where we find ourselves our driving force is beyond any external force.
“Our vision at Mobaby Care Nigeria is to be the go to, innovative, sustainable and eco-friendly baby care brand in Nigeria and Africa At large. While continually striving to provide holistic approach to solving skin and hair care problems using natural, safe, healthy and effective solutions with absolute care and nuture. So watch out for production plant and numerous distribution channels accross all African countries” she said.
Giving Back to Society
Adebola-Salami through her ‘The Made Woman Initiative’, has been able to give to the society by empowering and mentoring women on work and life balance.
“I run a women empowerment platform ‘The Made Woman Initiative’ where I teach women about work and life balance and integration, application for opportunities and business development and management. In 2019 alone, I have been able to help develop over 20 businesses from the idea stage to market entry level.
“I also organise a networking platform #chillandsip for women to have fun, relax and not having to worry about their children for the day as they are being catered for by professionals. I hope to do more of this year as women are exposed to so much work and do not get to let their guards down and soon as they marry or begin to have children. I am also a member of Young African Leaders Initiative which provides a platform for an entrepreneur like myself to train and mentor other start-ups” she said.
Charge to Government
She charged the government to create flexible policies to enable a business-striving environment.
“The government needs to create flexible policies and tax windows for MSMEs , its already difficult to have to deal with bad roads during logistics and distribution of our finished products and having to run on fuel to sustain our production timelines. The Micro businesses are the future of the industrialisation in Nigeria, we need to be nutured and provided for through transparent and impartial seed invests, grants and even standardising our laws to make exports easy and encouraging” she urged.
Mobaby Care is an all natural baby and child skin and hair care solutions company that uses natural resources, plant extracts that are nutrient dense to help soothe and nurture the African child’s skin and hair while protecting it from free radicals.
“Baby care industry is worth over six billion dollars, so it is sad to see that indigenous brands are not up to 20 per cent and that is why our babies are exposed to toxic chemicals and products that are not fine tuned to the African and Nigerian skin.
“At Mobaby Care Nigeria, our products are made in Nigeria by Nigeiran moms who understand the absolute importance of child care and we follow the good manufacturing practices to the highest standard. We currently have a user community of over 7,000 parent and care givers.
Our products are accessible, affordable and effective. We hope more parents move towards Green and choose safe options like the Mobaby Care products such as our moisturisers, cleansers and even enhancers inform of the mosquitoes repellant to help curb the malaria menace and much more.