Ezinne Reginald-Okonkwo studied Law at Madonna University, Okija, Anambra State and now runs Somre Foods, a healthy food and drink business. She talks to Joy Ehonwa about becoming an entrepreneur, doing business in Nigeria, and the power of faith.
CN: What’s the story behind Somre Foods?
After being called to bar, I started practicing law which went on for a few years. However, in 2016 I left my job and came to the juncture of what next I was going to do with myself. Deep down I knew I was not going back to law practice fully.
Then I took a posture of praying, talking back and forth with God on what the next step for me was. He directed my footsteps to healthy living through what you eat. It was precisely smoothies he laid in my heart. I was like, me that can eat “jagajaga” and drink fizzy drinks like water? Then I spoke to Omon (Instagram @beautycookstudio), she encouraged me with her words and encouraged me to go for it. Coincidentally I was running a self-discovery programme via Immerse Coaching run by Debola Deji-Kurunmi. I also spoke to her about it and from the perspective of a mentor, friend, and teacher she also encouraged me to do it as long as I was sure the mandate was from God. And in May 2016, Somre Foods came to be. It is actually our anniversary this month. Yes, we are one year old. Yayyyy!
CN: Give us a peek into your menu. What kinds of healthy treats do you offer?
At Somre Foods, we offer different blends of fresh smoothies, juice, zobo, tiger nut milk, salads, and healthy foods like sauces, sweet potatoes, yam etc. We cater to corporate and private events. We consult to know what fits a particular client.
Frankly speaking😎😎😎 @Regrann from @zisconcept – So GOOD FRIDAY is all about celebrating LOVE❤❤ There is no ❤❤greater than the LOVE Christ showed to us… He died to save us all😍😊😊 Speaking of ❤❤❤… I experienced great LOVE recently☺☺ ha! @somrefoods_official did it to me. She surprised me with this Awesome Goody pack😍😍😍 The Smoothie was so yum that I kept on mising it for 3days🙈🙈 (Don't blame me for speaking the truth…lol) & the very loaded salad? I shared with my team mates & it still remained😄😄😄 Ah Madam @somrefoods_official I never see this kind of LOVE before oo THANK YOU!. Oya! Lagos people @somrefoods_official is your one stop shop oo. Just order, relax & let her show you ❤❤❤! Okay oo… lemme go and sip the Smoothie again (it must not finish) – #regrann
CN: How did you raise capital to start the business?
Presently, our funding is from personal savings. However, as we expand, if need be we will work with financial institutions.
CN: How does Somre Foods work? Do customers pre-order and you prepare, or one can just ask for anything and get it right away?
Our services are based on a pre-order basis. This is to enable us to serve our clients the products fresh. We prefer that you pre-order a day before for large morning orders. Afternoon and evening orders can be made same day in the morning.
CN: What were your biggest challenges starting out?
Sincerely, the biggest challenge starting up was starting up. Haha. I say so because I have been in the food space for a long time. I have always had a passion for food related matters. Not that I have done any professional thing in the space, but I would follow the trends, know what was obtainable at every point in time, know the chefs, and generally be aware of what was happening. So I had to really talk myself into starting out as I had a whole lot of voices in my head. But hey, you have to start anyway and here we are today.
#throwbackthursday Then first baby steps we took in this dream. Scared, not sure, discouraged but did not give up. The struggle of getting good pictures chai not easy at all. We ain't there yet but we are better than yesterday. Whoever said it was easy😩. But his grace and those he put in our path has kept us alive. 😎😎 #fitfam #healthyisalifestyle #fresh #freshfruits #smoothies #salads #foodsinlagos #lagos #smallbusiness #madeinnigeria #proudlynigerian
CN: How have people responded to Somre Foods so far?
The response has been wonderful. Just like every startup, we are organically growing the business and giving it the best. For today, we cannot but say “Thank you Jesus”. Family and friends have been quite helpful in the evangelism of our brand.
CN: What are you relying on to help you maintain your market position; what’s your unique selling point?
We are relying on creativity and staying true to the brand to maintain our position in the market. When we say sugar and preservative free smoothies, then that is what the clients get.
CN: When it comes to women in business, who inspires you?
The women in business that inspire me are Ifedolapo Olayemi Okewole, CEO Hadassah Bridals for being a supportive woman in business. She has been of great help with mentoring us on issues relating to the running of a business. Then in the healthy food space, Nelly Agbogu of Healthy Nellies has been a rock, even from a distance. She is selfless with giving help to upcoming businesses with tips that worked for her. Listening to her live Instagram sessions does a lot of good. I just love her style. She is confident in her own skin and knows that the sky is big enough to take all of us. God bless her always.
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