In today’s world where emphasis is shifting towards self-reliance, a teen, in 9th grade, Claire Mica, is already dreaming big and charting an entrepreneurial path to financial freedom as expressed in this interview with Peter Uzoho
I read your recent interview in a national daily newspaper; that was quite inspiring from a girl your age. Tell me about Claire.
Claire is a 13 year-old girl 9th grader, who loves to see natural hair being taken care of she’s the only child of her parents but unfortunately she lost dad when she was two years old. But that notwithstanding, her “Supermom” as she always calls her has made sure to give her quality education and a comfortable life.
Now there are so many things that could possibly attract the interest of youngsters like you. So why Bonnets and Durags?
I love seeing hair look good and personally, hair is the first thing I look at before looking at someone so instead of looking I decided to help get things to retain moisture, lock waves and still make you look stylish while doing that
At 13, aren’t you too young to venture into business? What motivates you?
I always think “why didn’t I do this earlier” and to answer that question: in my business no age is too young, I get motivated when I think of myself five years from now, understanding how businesses evolve. Google at inception is not Google today, same as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. All these startups, if you follow how they grew to what they are today, you’d be inspired to remain committed and pursue your dreams.
Do you have a mentor and who inspires you?
Not to sound weird, but even though I need one, I must confess I don’t have a mentor. Now when I visualise myself 10 years from now, I’m fired up and it motivates me simply because, thinking about what could be possible in future if I work harder now just gets me off TikTok for a while.
Many small businesses fail even before they begin, how would you want to avoid that trap when you hit the top?
It’s all about my marketing strategies and perfection is my key word. I have already identified a unique product and would come up with new ways to create something that would make the Bonnets and Durags brand better than the rest. And let’s not forget the sky is big enough to accommodate new entrants.
One major challenge confronting startups is raising money to start the business, how are you sourcing yours?
For now the only financial help I’ve gotten is from my mom actually. However, I sincerely need support either from the banks or any interest investors to partner with us to make this possible. We need more money and it is very necessary because I would love to buy different fabrics to experiment with and I would also love to buy some machines, hire some staff, rent office space, showroom, so I could produce the quantity I desire to produce and maybe employ one or two persons to help make production faster
So who are you targeting in the market?
Everyone with hairs, short or long, you’re a potential customer as long as you want waves or a soft comfortable bonnet that retains moisture.
Why should someone patronise your Bonnet and Durags and not your competitor?
Well, it all depends on what you want. If you just want something to cover your head, then, the ones at the store got you, but I don’t advise buying a bonnet made with moisture absorbing fabric and I’m not sure I could emphasize this enough but….your hair needs moisture, so why not get a soft moisture absorbing bonnet from Clairelys that still looks beautiful and does its job *wink wink*
Where do you see Clairelys in next five years?
The future is quite pregnant and unpredictable, but I believe that with careful planning and the right strategy or business model, the sky would be our beginning. I believe strongly that our fire resides with the Nigerian market because of the people. As we aspire to build our company into a global brand, Nigeria would remain the centrepiece or pivot that would help crystallise our brand to a global company.
What advice do you have for your peers?
My advice to my peers is to Go for It!!! I want them to know
that little thing you like to do get to the drawing board and turn it to a business because….Why not?