Ameera Abraham is the CEO & Spa Director of The Nail Bar, a luxury nail spa and wellness centre and the founder of Nigeria’s premier professional nail care brand Amali Cosmetics. She is the author of “The Full Set” and also serves as the Director of Communications at the Spa and Wellness Association of Africa.
She is a qualified beauty therapist, holds a BA in Politics and International Relations and a CIBTAC Diploma in Spa Management.
Outside of her professional life, Ameera enjoys reading, yoga, volunteering and bonding with her children. She is an advocate of women and children’s rights & enlightening and empowering women in their various fields of life.
The Nail Bar and Amali Cosmetics was founded out of your passion & love for nail care and beauty — how did the journey start?
The Nail Bar was first born out of passion but also a gap in the market, there was no nail spa at the time and I was eager to start a spa that would bring a professional and unique nail spa experience to Abuja. Amali Cosmetics, on the other hand, was born as a tool for education – particularly for fellow nail technicians – but also a non-toxic line of nail care for women of colour. The market was littered with counterfeit brands of nail polish that were not only cheap but extremely harmful due to the toxic and unverifiable list of ingredients in them. I felt it was imperative to create a professional and high-quality local brand to counter those.
How did you know that this was what you wanted to do? That you wanted to make this level of impact?
I’ve always been passionate about beauty – particularly because I grew up around very beauty conscious women – but the turning point was in my first experience of grief from losing a very close relative. Spa days and self-care were a strong part of my healing process and I wanted to learn more about it after I realized how much better it made me feel. In regards to making this level of impact, I didn’t set out to do so initially, but being raised to always go the extra mile and put 110% into anything I am doing has inadvertently put me in a position of leadership in my industry and I am sincerely thankful for that.
Let’s backtrack a little bit — who is Ameera Abraham — and what makes her tick?
I’m a passionate and dedicated entrepreneur, a Political Scientist and Beauty Therapist. Being an introvert, I struggle to talk about myself outside of my business life. So if you’re looking for a bit more insight into who I am behind the scenes, grab a copy of my book, The Full Set!
We imagine that there’ve been highs and lows. What are the significant milestones and challenges you have encountered in your entrepreneurial journey?
The lowest point in business for me was when my safety was threatened 10 months into starting my business, I was attacked by four men at the close of business one evening. It was truly a make or break moment for me. I struggled emotionally and mentally after that ordeal and surviving that was the start of a new me and new Nail Bar! The highs have been so rewarding, being recognized as an industry expert on a continental level through my appointment as Director of Communications with the Spa and Wellness Association of Africa (SWAA), attaining 10 years in business as a young entrepreneur and fulfilling a dream I didn’t even know I had of being an author.
And what are the major lessons you’ve learned being an entrepreneur?
Passion, Resilience and Tenacity are key characteristics for survival in business, particularly in Nigeria! The peculiarities and uncertainties do not allow you to function as your counterparts around the world, ultimately setting you up for failure even before you can find your bearings.
Great! You recently authored a book titled “The Full Set”. What’s your motivation behind writing this book? And the key lessons shared in this book?
The Full Set is a book I wrote because it is the book I could not find during my business journey. I wrote this in the hopes to provide guidance and to help others in the business space in an impactful and positive way by sharing experiences and lessons learned.
Improving the standards not only in my industry but the Nigerian MSME environment, in general, will go a long way in creating financial freedom and minimize dependency on the government for jobs. Throughout the book I highlight the real challenges we face as business owners and the peculiarities of doing business in Nigeria, I also hope it encourages the government to create an enabling business environment for us to thrive.
Name 3 women that you admire and look up to.
I think we’re all a work in progress so I really just try to be the best version of myself I can be. However, if I had to choose someone to admire, it would be my mother, Aisha Abraham.
Now for some more personal stuff — what books are you reading now, and what movie do you binge-watch?
I’m currently reading “Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich” by Lois P. I’m more of a reader so I’m not as keen on movies, but I did jump on the “Bridgerton” series a few months ago.
If you had an all-expense-paid trip to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I’ve always wanted to tour Asia…Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore to be precise. I’d love to indulge in the food, tour the cities and experience the spa resorts!
What is your outlook for 2021?
To continue to grow into better versions of myself, to fulfil my God-given purpose and continue to touch lives and impact them positively within my sphere of influence.
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 offshoot 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 email@example.com, and she could possibly be featured.