Jamie Hill is the Managing Director, of Beauty West Africa (BWA). He spoke with The Guardian on expectations from the exhibition held in Lagos.
What is going to be special about this year’s event?
This year’s edition is our biggest edition to date, covering three halls for the first time ever, and has lots of exciting activities happening onsite.
We are delighted to have renewed our partnership with Beauty in Lagos for a compelling and powerful conference. It will cover important subjects such as ‘How to grow an exportable African brand’ and ‘What it takes to be a successful beauty entrepreneur in Africa.’
Furthermore, for the first time in over five years, we have partnered with Nectar Beauty to host ‘Africa Nail Art Competition,’ which will see 20 nail technicians battling it out to win the competition on site.
As always, we will have the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Zone, which enables smaller Nigerian brands to rub shoulders with the big players with an exhibiting presence. The SME zone is the biggest with over 20 companies present, which is a great representation of the resilience of Nigerian SMEs, who continue to push forward regardless of difficult market conditions both in Nigeria and across the world.
How do you rate the contribution of the beauty industry to the economy?
The Nigerian cosmetics industry grew by 15 per cent last year, totalling N1.034 trillion, according to the Society of Cosmetic Scientists in Nigeria. It is an industry, which is really important in terms of health and wellbeing, while our focus at the conference would be on how we can improve the safety, and quality of products and treatments.
Are there challenges within the industry that the exhibition will help to address?
Every industry has its challenges and the beauty sector is no different. Those challenges are brought about by power struggles or the depreciation of the naira, making the importation of ingredients and machinery needed to manufacture locally very expensive.
However, as a United Kingdom national, who spends a lot of time in Nigeria, one thing that is always prevalent, to me, is the resilience of the Nigerian people and their ability to keep going, keep striving and keep smiling regardless of what is happening across the region.
The Beauty West Africa conference will certainly be tackling the industry challenges, not just from a business angle but from a health and safety point of view. A very important topic that will be addressed is the dangerous trend of skin bleaching, featuring a panel of speakers, including Lola OJ, lawyer and author, Beverly Naya (Award-winning actress), Tenny Coco (Intl Make up artist), Olabisi Olaogun (Medical Doctor) and Omotoke Sikaiye (Aesthetician).
How will international exhibitors benefit from local industry experts and Nigeria as a whole?
Generally, at international exhibitions, the whole focus is on networking, forging new partnerships, and sharing experiences and knowledge. Beauty West Africa is no different. We have industry-leading exhibitors present from across five continents.
Our aim with the international exhibitors is to enable them to find partners in Nigeria, who can eventually facilitate local manufacturing and the setting up of new companies to contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
In a short term, the international exhibitors will be bringing new products to the show, some of which will be on African soil for the first time ever. This will enable local consumers to experience new products, new services and new trends.
We all know the importance of looking and feeling good, and we hope that Beauty West Africa will enable numerous new brands to enter the market and become consumer favourites.
What are your projections for the next five years of BWA?
If the last three years have taught us anything, it is that we do not know what is around the corner. Due to this, our focus presently is to ensure a business conducive environment at the event that will be enjoyed by all.
We want to continue to build international partnerships and bring new companies to Nigeria, who will set up shop and continue to drive the industry forward.
As long as Beauty West Africa can continue to make its attendees happy, and continue to grow in an organic way by creating positive experiences for those who attend, then, I will be a very happy man.