So if your anything like me whenever you need a local service or are interested in a certain product you may find yourself searching that product and or service through Instagram's Vault of hashtags. I've been suffering breakouts that I attribute to nothing but adult acne that I've been facing almost my entire life, but as I get older it's getting old too. Lately, I've been on this wave of healthy eating, and an overall more natural-based lifestyle. I just had run out of my favorite facial cleanser which use to be my holy grail but with me seeing no real change in the texture or appearance of my skin's clarity, I thought okay let's try something new. I ran to Instagram on my pursuit to find #blackownedskincare and I was quite impressed with all the options that were being thrown at me it was hard to choose which is a good problem to have, I like to think anyway. Through my pursuit I came across a few brands I was interested in trying out and thought why not reach out to the owners of these brands to see if they would be interested in an interview. I was able to connect with four of these brand owners and I would like to share their stories in a four-part blog post series titled #BlackOwnedSkincare.
I found AFOKOSKIN through the hashtag #blackownedskincare. If your reading this and you are a business owner or beauty influencer hashtags work you should use them to gain visibility. Anyhow, I was sucked into a trance with the brand's overall aesthetic. So bold yet, definitely still highlighting that minimalist feel that we all have grown to love when it comes to skincare. AFOKOSKIN branding is out of this world from the time you encounter their social feed, the transition to through their website to making your purchase up until the time you receive your actual package. I felt that my customer experience was truly enhanced by the congruency of their branding efforts. I reached out to the brand owner Afokor to see if she would be interested in interviewing with me for our Behind The Brand interview series thankfully she agreed.
Behind The Brand Meaning of #AFOKOSKIN
A brand's name speaks a lot of power into what your customers can grow to love through the products and service your brand offers. Plus it's the first introduction most supporters have with a brand entity. I was super intrigued to find out that the meaning of AFOKOSKIN was in relation to the owner herself stating "The name of my company comes from a misspelling of my first name, which is Aforkor." Over time, I think "Afoko" just became a sort of lifestyle brand for me that encompasses all of the things I love" So naturally when I was working on the initial stages of my skincare line, I thought "AFOKOSKIN" was the perfect fit." I love how Aforkor took the negative connotation of having her name commonly mispronounced and turning that into a positive, incorporating into her brand name, it just speaks so much humility about her character that we all can take away from.
Follow Your Passion Not The Crowd
When it comes to business ownership not every entrepreneur behind the brand has that inclination of entrepreneur hood sometimes we are born, other times we are made. So many times in life we go after what is stable and what is guaranteed as a means to a comfortable lifestyle. Although through the current global pandemic of COVID-19, more of us have come to realize that nothing in life is "stable" and nothing in life, not even life itself is "guaranteed". Aforkor expressed how her job loss due to COVID-19 gave her the push she needed stating "I was motivated to start my business because I suddenly lost my job due to COVID-19 and I decided that I would dedicate my time to a goal of mine that I'd had a very long time. So even though I was planning and researching for years, I was kind of thrown into it in the end. But thank God I was!"
Just Have Faith.
Faith means complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Faith is what leads me every single day through life and entrepreneurship. Although as human beings we are very data-based, relying on analytics, graphs, and percentages to all show a forecast of what to expect. But could anyone predict COVID-19? Or the eventfulness of 2020? I'll wait... Faith is led by the unseen based on what YOU believe. Faith should be a sound doctrine in any business plan, because if you don't believe why should your supporters? Waking up and being very intentional about each day is what brings you closer and closer to your goals. Afokor practices a very similar morning routine as myself stating "Now, I spend about 20 minutes in the morning every day in prayer and meditation, where I talk to God about the stresses that may be concerning me or the problems that the business is up against". And then I make up my mind that I am not going to be upset, but I'm going to start the day off being proactive and get things done." Yes, I couldn't agree with Aforkor more as coined by Jessica Dupart Owner of Kaleidoscope Hair Products "Pray Through The Process".
When You Win, We Win!
When you win we all win, I truly believe that. Support is so vital to the success of any business and at times entrepreneurship can feel like a lonely path to walk. However, that's not true there are thousands and heck even millions of people who don't know you that want to support you. Afokor has experienced this support along with many other business owners mentioning " My family, friends, and even strangers have gone out of their way to support my business and I have really seen how important that is to the success of my business. I feel so thankful. To those who may not feel a lot of support from those around you, keep working on your passions anyway. When you create something really amazing, you won't have to keep asking for support- people will want to be a part of what you're doing". Please try not to look at someone else's plate amidst your entrepreneurial pursuit celebrate their wins and look to those who inspire you as encouragement, not as competition, and keep in mind that you can also do it too as Aforkor says "Comparison is the thief of joy. You never know the journey they went through to get to where they are!".
Branding Like A Boss!
Branding is just as important if not more, than your brand's name. Branding can be something as small as a font size used on a business card, a specific color scheme on a website, or even product packaging and design. Successful branding is when your supporters know that your brand is being represented in a publication or product post without your brand's name being attached. Branding is a visual concept and focuses on your overall brand image. AFOKOSKIN has this down packed as I stated previously, her brand represents congruency that made my shopping experience that much more enhanced. She stated "Developing a unique image for your brand and marketing in a creative way is vital to establishing yourself as a brand if you want long term success. You don't build a name for yourself by doing what everyone else is doing." That is straight facts, something I struggled with when first starting DEEP Beauty Cosmetics was making sure I was bringing a certain type of humanness to my brand hence why I started this blog Behind The Beauty. I want my supporters to know that I see you because I am you. Don't be too serious have fun and if something doesn't work switch it up your supporters are humans, not robots they understand there are real people operating behind the brand.
I'm so grateful to have received the perspective from the CEO of another black woman-owned beauty business. I hope you all learned as much as I did it was truly a pleasure to collaborate with Aforkor on this blog series. Please be sure to follow AFOKOSkin @AFOKOSKIN on Instagram and show your support at www.Afokoskin.com.