Success in business requires training and discipline and hard work. But if you’re not frightened by these things, the opportunities are just as great today as they ever were. CEO and Lead marketer for the brand ICE Spice Mrs Itajobi Oyindamola is a beautiful, strong, intelligent woman who gave job opportunities to unemployed youths during the covid-19 pandemic in the agro-food business.
The Onitsha based entrepreneur during an online interview recently with Zivang team talks about what motivated her to start up agro-food business during the covid-19 pandemic, her campaign on Living a healthy Lifestyle, challenges she faced as an entrepreneur.
Can you briefly introduce yourself?
Itajobi Oyindamola is my name, a wife, mother and entrepreneur, from Ado Odo Ota, Ogun State, studied Mass communication from the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Ogun state, with over 5 years experience in Corporate human/customer relations. I am the CEO and Lead marketer for the brand ICE Spice, a range of healthy organic spices for some of the most preferred dishes, including soups and sauces to mention but a few.
What motivated you to start up this agro- food business during the Covid-19 pandemic?
The pandemic came unexpected and sent many people into fear and isolation. Food prices skyrocketed and a number of people could barely afford quality meals especially going in and out of the lock down, with this in mind and being a lover of natural alternatives, whether in form of edibles or skincare options, I started ICE Spice. I realized that a healthy outside begins from the inside, in other words, a person’s outlook is often influenced by what he or she takes in.
I started with deliberate research on the Spice market and attended a couple of trainings on how to make homemade Spices with natural ingredients. I also expanded my research to discovering the benefits of using organic ingredients in making healthy meals.This discovery alongside the brand’s mission statement which aims to ensure that every household eats healthy serves as the rationale for starting ICE Spice.
During the Covid-19 Pandemic, people lost their jobs, how have you been able to create employment opportunities?
The pandemic came with its challenges that a lot of us are still coping with, it feels like a new order of things and we can only but adjust. Loss of jobs comes as just one of the many negatives of the pandemic, regardless we have been able to create few jobs in the area of production, Marketing and logistics. We have trusted hard and smart working persons with job roles and responsibilities, we are hopeful that they will help grow the brand.
What are the nutritional benefits to adding spice to their foods?
During every pandemic, much emphasis is placed on strong immune systems.At Ice Spice we are leveraging natural ingredients that would improve the health and immune systems of customers. There are so many nutritional benefits of our spices and ingredients , I will mention a few, one of such is the fenugreek seed, which has shown to improve the functions of insulin, leading to significant reductions in blood sugar level.
Another is Tumeric, which contains curcumin that possesses anti inflammatory properties. Research shows that having curcumin in your diet is an effective way to lose belly fat as it helps achieve a healthy metabolism.
As an entrepreneur, what keeps you going in these trying times?
Commitment to standard at all times and the realization that every household deserves healthy meals regardless of prevailing circumstances has kept me going.
What inspired the brand name ICE Spice?
Hmmm that name. (Smiles) I actually coined the brand name from the names of my kids, both of whom I love so dearly.
Is it affordable for an average Nigerian?
Yes it is affordable, our desire is to bridge the gap, between the rich and poor by keeping our price at a reasonable range, it might interest you to note that, you can get a unit of your desired ICE Spice, some for as low as 500 Naira.
What challenges have you faced over time?
As mentioned earlier, I am a wife, mother and still employed, so it is quite challenging jostling all roles together. Another challenge is getting people to accept the product since it is relatively new and some persons are used to processed spices. But I can assure you that the acceptance has been gradual and I’m certain it’s only a matter of time before we achieve our desired top of mind awareness.
Any plans to unveil new products?
Most definitely, we are unveiling our Banga extract, fish spices and some others soon to expand our range.
Advice to SMEs like yourself?
Never be distracted about prevailing challenges and circumstances. The road to success has so many thorns, pray, believe and act while you walk on it.