Health & Lifestyle
Salma Aisha Lawal takes perfume making to another level
Two years ago, a 23-year-old graduate of the University of Professional Studies(UPSA), Salma Aisha Lawal, who was on national service at Sanlam Insurance, posted a picture of a room diffuser she had bought on her snapchat.
Little did she know that the post would be the key to open the door to her full time self-employment after the service.Follow @Graphicgh
When she posted the picture, she had many enquiries as to where she bought the diffuser .
In a chat with The Mirror in Accra on Wednesday, Salma said, “I saw an opportunity to do business. I asked myself, why should I show them where I bought it when I could buy and sell to them?”.
That became her little side business during her service and she added the sale of different wigs as well. As Muslims, her mother , Madam Adiza Bukari was not too happy about the sale of the wigs.
After her national service when there was no vacancy for her to be employed permanently at the company, Salma decided to concentrate full time on her sales.
So she took orders and delivered with the help of dispatch riders.
Salma said her customers then asked for perfume oils, deodorants, pomade and lotion. She listened and sourced the perfume oils from a supplier in Nigeria she got in touch with online.
On her birthday when her mother, a business woman and former head teacher asked what she wanted, Salma asked for GH₵3,000. She told her mother she would stop selling the wigs and sell more perfumes.
She had also seen a shop in her neighbourhood at Sakumono which she wanted to rent. Her mother was convinced and gave the money to her. With only eight shelves, Salma moved her business to a different level.
In came COVID-19 and her supplier of the perfume oils in Nigeria could not get the product across to her because the borders were closed.
Miss Lawal realised that Emirates Airlines was still in business and therefore went online to find another supplier in Dubai. That move became successful in a manner which allowed her to explore different bottles and scents for her business.
Her supplier also frequently gave her lessons on perfumes because he was an expert.
In no time, Salma’s customers started asking for perfumes because they had issues with the oils staining their clothes. Even though she explained that it was because they were not applying them at the appropriate places, she decided to go into the manufacture of perfumes to meet their demand.
Salma took an online certificate course in perfumery and ventured into that field.
Today, she makes and sells different perfumes to suit different tastes. She is able to custom make some from 100 scents she has available.Follow @Graphicgh
Asked what made her products unique, Salma said, ”I am able to make very expensive perfumes for cheaper prices. For instance, I can manufacture a high-end perfume which costs about GH₵2,400, at the price of GH₵ 500. You get same scent, and it lasts same duration. One can hardly tell the difference. Because of copyright issues, I am very careful though”.
Salma says she took another GH₵10,000 as loan from her mother for the business which she paid back, and has taken another GH₵20,000.
“You know, my mother will only give me the loan once she is convinced I can pay back”, she said smiling.
Now Salma has added on the importation of supplies from France as well to make her perfumes, and her products, being sold under the brand name Odore, is doing well, she says.
Asked why Odore, Miss Lawal said the name was Spanish . She took it from a material she was reading and she loves it.
saCurrently, the shelves in her shop have increased and orders have increased and she has employed a shop attendant to help out.
On challenges, Salma said she was working hard to improve her packaging.
“It is difficult to get such materials on the Ghanaian market. Buying outside too is about money so I am working hard to find a way”, she hoped.
Asked what her future plans were, Salma said she wanted to do advance courses in perfumery but had a challenge because she needed a background in Chemistry but she did Business at Aburi Senior High School and continued to the University of Professional Studies (UPSA) as advised by her late father, Musah Muhammad Lawal, who was an accountant and a lecturer at the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ghana(ICAG) .
Her sister, Sherifa, also pursued a course at the same university and is now a full-time trader in clothes, bags and shoes which she buys from the United States of America, United Kingdom and other countries.
Salma has another sister, Rayann, who is in primary school and two brothers, Basit and Jaleel.
Without the background in Chemistry, Salma believes that Allah would open a way for her to study perfumery in France or another country. She is still researching on this as she trusts God to make a way.
Miss Lawal expressed gratitude to her parents for their love, care and guidance. She is also happy that she didn’t add up to the army of unemployed youth
As she prepared an order, Salma looked up and told this journalist that she was also making packages for sale this Valentine’s day.
“I am grateful to social media for the advantages it provides me to do good business. My whole life is work. From morning till evening. I know I will improve. I am working hard. I know”.
Writer’s E-mail: doreen.hammond @graphic.com.gh/