#LadyBoss Interview: “My mission is to get the brand loved, I’d rather have 1000 people love the brand than have 2000 people know the brand” – Marie Ndow, Founder, MN Beauty.

Photo credit: Marie Ndow

Marie Ndow AKA Doseofafriqa, is a 25-year-old entrepreneur, mum & wife,  who was born in the Gambia but grew up in the UK. A graduate of the University of Bedfordshire with a Health & Socialcare degree. She started  MN Beauty Group about three years ago and by November 2019, her Celebrity Palette was nominated at the UK Beauty Awards with OK magazine and won the “highly recommended product” category. Here’s to every African woman and entrepreneur, read up and be inspired just as we are.

 

A brief Introduction on the person behind “MN beauty group and DoseofAfriqa”

My name is Marie Ndow AKA Doseofafriqa, a 25-year-old entrepreneur, mum & wife, I was born in the Gambia but grew up in the UK, I graduated from the University of Bedfordshire with a Health & Socialcare degree. I started a beauty brand almost three years ago, MN Beauty. In November 2019, my Celebrity Palette was nominated at the UK Beauty Awards with OK magazine and won the “highly recommended product” category, since then, the business has been great. I thank God!

The MN Beauty Group is a UK based brand, specialising in beauty products, currently, we have a wide range of beauty products, these include MN Beauty products, TrendMarc Lashes and will be introducing another game-changing product to be lunched soon! hopefully, after the current pandemic is over. I have an amazing team behind all this and I couldn’t have done this on my own without their tremendous hard work and support. I am the CEO “Marie Ndow” and the person behind DoseofAfriqa.

 

Background story and Inspiration to Founding ” MN Beauty & DoseofAfriqa” and what they are all about?

It has been such a magical story. About 5 years ago, I used to buy crayons from Poundland and use them to mix different colours In the cooking pot, I just had a baby then and I didn’t even know what I was doing, all I knew was it’s something I enjoyed, testing different colours out for my “future makeup brand”- just after that I started looking for investors on gumtree because I couldn’t afford to start anything on my own. I came across a potential investor but he was more interested in having a relationship with me than investing in my business ideas, so I stopped communicating with him. Fast-forward two years later, I came across another individual, he was like God sent to me, his name is Tendai (deceased) he was the CEO of English Rose Care, a care agency in the UK.

I applied for a receptionist role and he took me in, he said regardless of my qualifications, he wants me to work alongside him sometimes too when he’s going to care for some people, he never told me why, I never asked, because I didn’t want to lose the job, I accepted. That very first day we were going on our first call, he started asking me questions like what I want to be etc, I told him, a businesswoman. Tendai started guiding me and he wanted me to see the other side of life, people dying (they were all end of life) I didn’t understand why and I just kept going with him to work. Months later, Tendai said he wanted me to see that side of life because he wanted me to know that I have an opportunity in life, being young and being able to be on my feet, I can do anything I want, Tendai then gave me a startup capital to buy my first batch of products, they were private labelled and the MOQ’s (minimum order quantity) was always high, so it was a bit of money. I got the first batch and they sold out, some within weeks, others within months. Tendai continued guiding me and I was very excited about the business. I went back to the Gambia and officially launched the business. Two years later, we won the most recommended new eye product and he was so happy, I couldn’t contain my excitement and I was also grateful, for him.

Shortly after that, Tendai was fighting a battle I knew nothing about, cancer, and a few months ago, he peacefully passed away. May God bless his soul, Ameen. He was my guardian angel and he stood by me and helped me when I needed it most. He has always been there for me until I met my husband but shortly after I got married, his life was cut short because of Cancer. MN Beauty started because of him, The MN Beauty Group will go on in honour of him!

Doseofafriqa is just my social media name, it started when I did a photoshoot and it was pretty much like an African vibe shoot, someone commented “you are literally giving us a dose of africa” I fell in love with that statement and made it my new social media name!

Photo credit: Marie Ndow

What has been the Highlight for you since you founded your businesses and how would you describe work for you during the pandemic?

The highlight for me would definitely be being nominated at the UK Beauty Awards last year with Ok magazine, winning it was the biggest shock but the biggest moment.

Work during this pandemic hasn’t been any different, which is a bit strange because I had thought people won’t have time for makeup to be buying our products but I was wrong.

How do you handle running your business successfully in this social climate and what Is your mission?

Recently, I have understood instagram much more than I used to be, which is the platform I use more to promote the brand and engage with customers. Social media is powerful and it’s amazing the things that can be achieved with one click!

My mission is to get the brand loved, I’d rather have 1000 people love the brand than have 2000 people know the brand. To love the brand, you’re likely to come back, to know it alone, won’t be as beneficial. 

Photo credit: Marie Ndow

How do you stay innovative?

Through strategy innovation (organisational growth strategies, collaborations and networking)

Business model innovation (New ways of selling, pricing, and packaging products or services)

Product service innovation (new product designs)

Marketing innovation (Use of social media and other new marketing channels)

Organisational innovation (New forms of motivation, communication and teamwork)

Your Plans for “Dose of Afriqa & MN beauty group” In Five Years?

Doseofafriqa- I plan to be a very successful entrepreneur and be a role model for women all over.

MN Group- I want MN Beauty to be a huge name and a business to be proud of.

Photo credit: Marie Ndow

Challenges on your journey and Lessons…

It’s hard to start and run a business with all the competitions now a days but the biggest lesson I have learnt is that to be successful you have to fail several times.

 

Upcoming projects and what you hope to achieve

I was just about to launch a brandnew product for the MN Beauty Group, I’m excited about this one and I know it’ll be a game-changer.

Photo credit: Marie Ndow

Tips on how you handle when the going gets tough?

Always have faith, always believe in yourself and always believe that God wanted it to happen that way. Nothing good comes easy and nothing easy is as good. 

Final words to women in our community 

Believe in yourself, go for what you believe in, go for what you want and always know that you can achieve anything you want, speak it into existence, then into experience! You got this

 

The Lady Boss Series is a weekly interview series that highlights the achievements and entrepreneurial journeys of African female entrepreneurs. The idea is to showcase the Leading Ladies who are transforming Africa and the African narrative through enterprise and business.

It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes leadership, inclusion and diversity for women of African descent.

If you know any kick-ass women of African Descent doing phenomenal things in enterprise, email lead@leadingladiesafrica.org, and she could possibly be featured.

 

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