When Valerie Obaze became a mother she knew that she, just like any mother, wanted the best for her child. Her search for gentle skincare products brought about the foundation for her beauty brand, committed to the highest quality of the purest natural ingredients.
1. What was your mission at the outset of founding R&R Luxury in 2010?
When you become a mother for the first time a lot changes, and as most parents do I wanted the best for my newborn baby. I was determined to find a natural product gentle enough to use on her skin that was accessible, affordable, and didn’t have to be imported. After a chance encounter with a massage therapist, who only used natural oils for treatments, I started to look into natural ingredients that were grown locally to me in west Africa.
It was then that I was introduced to the amazing healing properties and various uses of shea butter, which is grown in northern Ghana and is available in abundance. I continued my research and found that as well as the butter format, in which I experienced shea as a child, shea was also available in a liquid/ oil consistency. After being introduced to shea oil myself and witnessing the amazing results it was providing for my daughter’s skin, my husband’s skin and my own skin, the idea for R&R Luxury was born as I wanted to share the ‘Liquid Gold’ with everyone!
The current mission of R&R Luxury is to bring beautiful top-quality skincare and lifestyle products to its esteemed customers in a way that is accessible, elegant, simple, and sustainable.
2. How did you come up with the name for your company?
It was simple for me. I started R&R just after the birth of my first daughter and I wanted to use only natural products on her skin. She was the inspiration for creating the brand, so it made sense to name it after her. R&R is named after my daughter and first child, Rebecca Rose.
3. As an award-winning pioneer in the luxury beauty industry, what advice would you give to others wanting to get into this line of business?
Start with research and find a niche in the market that you can base your company idea around. Believe in yourself and take the step you want to and know you can. Start by writing it down, make sure you have a plan and slowly start to implement it – you may have to balance a full-time job along with your new business and start by self-financing at the beginning but always have the end goal in sight and work towards it step by step. Being an entrepreneur forces you outside of your comfort zone and you will make mistakes and fail from time to time but be confident in your idea, in your plan, and in yourself!
4. What has been your proudest moment so far in the business?
It’s very hard to choose just one moment! Getting invited to speak on ‘success’ panels at events never gets old, it is always encouraging when people consider R&R as a successful brand. Last year we won an international award for ‘the Best Ethnic Product’ at the Pure Beauty Awards in London. And being heralded by Forbes as an ‘African Skincare Trailblazer’ is certainly one of my greatest accolades.
5. What are the future trends you see happening in the luxury beauty skincare space in the coming year or two?
My vision was to make natural beauty products for everyone, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, and location. This year I expect the Clean Beauty movement to continue to grow and gain more popularity. I also think there will be a growth of brands offering inclusive beauty – no longer having set products for women and others for men, but amazing products for everyone.
6. As a leading business in luxury beauty, what advice would you give to others looking to start business in Africa? And what do you love most about doing business in Africa?
Do your research, network as much as possible, and find your niche! What I personally love about doing business in Africa is the ability to empower hundreds of women with jobs and opportunities. We work with many women in the rural north of Ghana, providing them with work, fair salaries, and skills training.
I hope R&R turns into a completely global business sharing nature’s gift to Africa with the rest of the world and opens doors for other small beauty brands out of Africa, because “there is no success without successors”.
7. How did you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
Most of the ingredients we use in R&R product formulations are made from 100% natural ingredients, sourced from within west Africa. From raw shea butter to pure coconut oil and baobab oil, every ingredient has its own immense benefit for the skin, body, and hair too. Each R&R product formulation is heavily researched, tried, tested, and hand produced. From our Liquid Black Soap (which has shea butter for extra moisture) to our unique blend of essential oils, which provide our customers with the perfect scent to unwind for some aromatherapy and relaxation.
Many brands incorporate the same natural ingredients into their formulations, but few of them are actually based in Africa. Our whole operation is based in Africa, we source and manufacture here, ensuring jobs throughout the entire supply chain.
8. Do you plan to expand into more African countries alongside Nigeria, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire and South Africa?
Absolutely! We are always looking for stockists in new territories and would love to have a larger presence throughout Africa. Watch this space as we are working on taking R&R to a number of new countries this year!
9. Who/what has been your biggest inspiration during the business journey to date?
My family are my main inspiration and also my biggest supporters! Everyday I’m inspired by the strong rural women in northern Ghana who process all of the shea butter R&R uses in our product formulations. These beautiful women work from sunrise to sunset processing the raw ingredients by hand and stop at nothing to ensure that they can provide their children with an education and a good start in life.
10. Where are R&R Luxury products currently stocked?
R&R products are currently available in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Ivory Coast, UK, USA and Canada. You can find out where to purchase R&R products here: www.randrluxury.com
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