Lola OJ as she is popularly called is British born Nigerian entrepreneur music girl, vlogger, beauty enthusiast and MD/CEO Blinx Lashes – she has successfully launched her range of natural-look faux lashes. Being a Law graduate from Hertfordshire University, the vibrant beauty has gone all out in pursuing her passion as an entrepreneur in the beauty industry. In this exclusive interview, she talks mainly about business and we’re totally blown away by her work ethic and enthusiasm for making a difference in the industry.
When did you begin Blinx Lashes?
I started few months before I moved back to Nigeria. It started in the UK then I brought it to Nigeria. For the past year we’ve had a downtime because I’m re-branding but it should be back in the market towards the end of this year.
What’s the new product going to be like?
You guys are going to have to wait and see. But the products are going to be new; advertising will be quite innovative and fun. I see where the brand should be and even though it did really well, I was not 100% happy with where it was. My vision of it is where I’m taking it to right now.
Are they produced in Nigeria?
No they’re not.
Do you have any challenges bringing them into the country?
No I don’t.
So business is smooth-sailing?
Business is not always smooth-sailing. But in terms of bringing it to Nigeria, I haven’t had any challenges. God forbid, I may experience a challenge during this new batch but I get over every challenge/obstacle. So if my stuff does get held or whatever, there’s always a way to get around it.
What makes Blinx Lashes different from every other lash out there?
The difference is I’m actually passionate and I have a lot of knowledge about beauty and the industry. So for me it’s not just about business; what people don’t understand is that a lot of these international brands are not necessarily run in a way that someone passionate about beauty is behind them. A lot of these brands are owned by men and it is not a problem because they employ people who know a lot about beauty so you will not necessarily know. But for me I’m passionate about the business and also a consumer. I use lashes as much as I make them for people; so there’s nothing I will put out to the public that I don’t use myself. I have an actual relationship with my brand and the products and every single product comes to me, is designed by me and tested by me for a period of time before I release it to the public. So I guess the attention to details, the fact that I’m not only the owner but I’m also the consumer is what makes it different.
What prompted you to start beauty vlogging? Was it in an attempt to correct an ill in the industry?
What actually pushed me into beauty vlogging was people; it was the public. If you know me from when I moved back to Nigeria I never wanted to be out there (in the public eye). I’ve worked in music for a while and I like to work on the corporate side of things. But every time I’m in a corporate environment people will always get drawn to me, make comments about my hair, makeup and stuff. I guess everyone kept directing me towards it, saying you need to start taking this thing seriously and start testing it out. I suppressed that for a while until my brother said just start recording some YouTube videos and see how it goes because initially I was reluctant to do videos. Everyone as well, on Instagram and stuff wanted other platforms to see me and have a feel of what I’m about and you can’t do that from just pictures. That’s where it came from and I only started vlogging at the beginning of last year. For me I was more worried about consistency; I’m big on consistency and because I work and I actually do a lot of other things, I was wondering if I’ll be able to keep this up because I don’t want to start something and not be able to finish it. For me that’s one thing I had to make sure of; that I can actually be able to churn out videos.
Prior to the start of this interview you said “Ready” will be your first and last videos appearance. Why is that?
The reason I was in that video was because I love his music and he’s a friend of mine. Normally I would say no but I was like “why not?” For me I never wanted to do videos because I’m not a model, I’m never going to be a model, and I don’t have a passion for being in videos. I wouldn’t say it’s an experience I enjoy; I don’t enjoy being on set for 10 hours. I’ve turned down lots of video/cameo appearances but when Adekunle Gold’s opportunity came up it was like if I’m ever going to do a video this is the only kind of video I can do because of the type or artist that he is. He’s very clean, he’s not controversial, things he sings about are more of love and they’re not sexual or vulgar. The video itself was more of acting than dancing and I love the song; the video is amazing as well.
Apart from lashes do you have other products you’re going to release?
Yes, but I want everyone to know I’m not going into the skincare side of beauty or producing foundations and stuff. But if that is what everyone is expecting, it’s not that I’m not listening; it’s just that I know my strengths, things I’m passionate about and things that I know the market needs. So I’m going to try and cater to that well rather than trying to do everything at once. If it grows to that place then that’s fine but I’m going to keep it lashes and brows and eyeliners and stuff like that.
What’s the story behind your piercings?
I’ve got a YouTube video on my piercings but there’s not much to talk about. My piercings are a part of me, a form of expression. I’m from the UK, its common in the UK to have piercings. It’s not like everyone has piercings but at the same time it’s not something someone will see and say “wow” because there’s more access to things like that there. Over there it was never a topic of discussion but here in Nigeria it’s like something they have not seen before. I’m not used to that reaction because I come from a place where it is normal. I don’t really like to talk about it that much because most times people misunderstand or misinterpret the reason behind the piercing or what they are. I did make a video on it because a lot of times people are like if you’re trying to be corporate or trying to do business you can’t have piercings. But that has not stopped me from working or getting jobs. I’ve done things that people wearing suit and tie have not done. But my piercings are just a reflection of me; same with my makeup and hair and I’m not going to change that. I am who I am in any setting.
Are you ever going to use your Law degree?
I have plans for that but you guys are going to have to wait and see. I don’t like to talk too much, I like to do. So I would rather people see results than say I’m going to do this or open that. I know my plans but they’re personal to me though. I have to make sure I actually execute those plans so I prefer doing and letting people see then talk about it after. That’s why I’ll talk about things that I’ve done and I don’t like to say what I’m about to do because you can say one thing and it may not happen that way.
Finally, what message will you like to pass across to females who look to you for inspiration?
I definitely will say be sincere because I think that’s one thing that helped me in my life. I didn’t really predict where I am, I don’t know what the future holds in the sense that I’ve just been focused on business and academic and wanting to be a Lawyer. I never really thought I will be in a space of entertainment or beauty as being a brand myself. So what I would say is be sincere in a way that when you’re onto something you can actually be quite strategic with it and try and think of the business side of it. The moment I realized Lola OJ herself is becoming a brand, I had to sit down as a business woman and plan myself as a brand of business.