She is the pretty daughter of billionaire Deji Adeleke. She is also the elder sister to Afro pop music sensation, David Adeleke aka Davido.
Mention one of the top players in Nigeria’s hair and beauty business and the name, Rona, would pop up. Sharon Ademefun nee Adeleke, is one of the pioneers of wig-making in Nigeria and her love for hair extensions birthed the beauty brand, Rona Wigs.
Sharon is one of those who sit atop the Beauty, Luxury & Lifestyle sector of the economy. The brain behind Rona Group Limited, which comprises of Ronawigs (Wig Company) Rona Beauty (Beauty Products) Rona Beauty Center, Jesse’s Blessings (Her NGO Foundation) Body by Rona (Body Sculpturing Studio), she founded Ronawigs in 2014 which is a premium and beauty brand from her passion for hair and making women’s crown look more beautiful. Since then, the Rona Wig brand has become a renowned go-to brand for premium extensions. The brand has then since been spotted on A-list celebrities both locally and internationally such as Naomi Campbell, Bonang Matheba, Meg The Stallion, Toke Makinwa, Tiwa Savage, DJ Cuppy and many more. As a lady with the mind of Christ, who seeks equality and equal opportunities for women, she is passionate about showing the love of God through philanthropy. Sharon is passionate about educating youth, empowering women and poverty alleviation which birthed her non profit venture called Jesses Blessings. She talks more in this interview with Kemi Ashefon
Lovehaven: You earned a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations from Southern Adventist University and Masters of Arts in Advertising from University of Leeds, how did you get into wig making?
Ronawigs was founded in 2014, I got the idea for the business when I was on a bed rest with my first child and I needed to get my wigs done.My wig maker was not able to meet up with my order and so I decided to try and make one on my own, by watching a youtube video. Once I got the hang of it, my friends requested for me to make wigs for them and that’s how Ronawigs dream was born. Ronawigs started out of my own home first, before the business moved to and operated out of the Creche from May 2016 and then finally moved to the current Ronawigs Studio Located in Lekki Phase 1 in August 2016 till date.
LH: As a silverspoon kid, one would expect that you would manage a more corporate business, What was the motivating factor especially with the establishment of the Ronawigs?
Well I worked with my family business for a few years but it was not something I was passionate about, when I started to pick up more clientele from my hobby then I decided to take it more seriously. My motivating factor is that I don’t feel like I am working when I am at work, I love everything about making wigs from start to finish and its truly a passion that I have, I am thankful that I have been able to develop it into a business.
LH:Are Nigerians responding to buying made-in-Nigeria products?
I’m Pro #BuyNaija! They really are responding positively to our made in Nigeria products ; we are making a product that reflects international standards- in a shorter delivery time. I pride myself on impeccable customer service and attention to quality control, I want to change the narrative of poor quality and cheap things are made in Nigeria and the word is spreading as I now service clients all over the world and I am doing more in Jesus name.
Is it very lucrative? If you are training young people what would be the requirement to run this kind of business;
It is a very lucrative business if you really set up the business properly, I say this because in order to create a finished product it requires high quality expensive raw materials. So it takes a while for you to really establish your true cost of sale in order to price your unit/wigs at that right price. You may see a lot of money in your account but once you remove your expenses sometimes you are not as profitable as you originally expected.
My business in particular invests a lot in employee welfare and retention, we offer healthcare, pension, housing, reading and writing lessons, and each department participates in regular skills training for business development and wig making. Ronawigs also pays for the school fees of all employees children. All these are extras cost money and it comes right out of my profit, but its worth it- I love seeing them come in to their own and start to make a contribution to the company. I believe investing in your employees is the key to retaining them, I have a 95 per cent employee retention rate- my staff rarely leave because they know it will be hard to get the same benefits at another beauty company. Training people requires lots of patience, there is a lot of trial and error that comes with it. My best advice is to grow organically, start by doing as much as you can on your own before taking on a team, find as many things you can source locally, and keep your budget disciplined. Finally, decide who your target market is, hair market can go from very cheap to extremely expensive so you need to decide where you want to be in the market and who your customer is.
LH: Do you export?
Yes We do international shipping to African, United States, Asian and European Countries.
Managing business and a home could be tedious for a young woman, how do you cope?
I have a lot of help. I always say this, get help if you can. I have a team that works with me to ensure that I can keep things going. I set up my business so that it can run itself whether I am there or not, so even though I am there a lot I don’t have to be which makes it easier to be there for my family. I have a very very supportive husband that helps me when I need help at work or even with the kids, he encourages me to work hard and expand my businesses which I’m thankful for. I am extremely organized, I have a day-to-day schedule that I ensure I complete them. If I am not able to accomplish everything set for the day I make sure I set a date to ensure I get it done. I am big on finishing what I start.
LH: How supportive is your spouse? How you do juggle being an entrepreneur and still playing the role of a wife and mother?
I have 150 per cent supportive spouse, he is totally invested in my success and plays a huge role in helping me achieve my life-long goals. I often travel for conventions and training because the hair business is constantly evolving, and he always encourages me to go and holds things down while I am away. I am so grateful for that. I make it a point to either drop or pick my kids from school to catch up with them, I also try to be home on time so I can play with them before bed. I also don’t work on weekends so I get in some good quality time with them.
LH: Most young marriages experience hiccups, some can’t even manage it and suffer divorce. Kindly highlight how to manage a marriage in a ‘social media’ age like ours.
I keep my personal life off social media as much as possible. I believe when someone comes onto my Instagram page they should know what I do for a living, my marital status, and what my interests are. So in my case, everyone knows I make wigs, every now and then my husband makes an appearance on my Insta Story so they know I am married, and I am always posting my interests, anything more than that is no one’s business.
LH: Kindly talk briefly about your husband.
My husband is dope. He doesn’t like attention so lets leave it there.
LH: What is your definition of love? You have been tagged a born again Christian, who gives generously, can you talk about this side of you?
Love is complex, its a word that constantly changes and evolves for me. As a Christian I strive to behave like Christ as much as possible. The wisdom of the world say “treating people the way I would like to be treated,” but Christ pushes us to give love even if we don’t receive because the love we receive from Christ is so fulfilling – you don’t demand it of man, but instead have a grace for them when they can’t reciprocate. I try and carry that behavior with every person I meet, I want to represent Christ well.
LH: Where do you see your business in five years?
I don’t really like thinking too far ahead, not because I don’t have big goals but because I believe when you think too far ahead you don’t focus on what you can do today to grow your business, and when you don’t see major improvements its easy to feel like you are failing. I like setting goals every six months because they are attainable and its encouraging to see steady growth.My goal is to be the number one beauty brand in Africa. I will achieve this by setting realistic goals for three to six month goals at a time.
LH: Working during Covid-19, how have you coped? Has the pandemic affected your businesses?
We have coped really well, it has given us a lot of opportunities to set the brands in motion. Right now, we are focusing more on administration, restructuring to serve our customers better post-Covid. We are also pleased to announce we are launching and expanding our hair brand into a mid market line called Mass Prestige, and our “affordable” mass market line called Ade Hair. We are diversifying to make crowns (wigs) for every woman. Our number one priority as wig makers requires us to be client focused, and honestly the best thing we can do for our clients right now is to make sure they are safe by making wigs at the factory to dispatch or pick up. I have been doing a lot more tutorials/video content as a way to encourage women to try out new hair styles at home.
LH: Kindly advise entrepreneurs on the way forward in an economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic
Unfortunately, I can only tell you to take it one day at a time because we are all in this together. But if I have to give one piece of advice, Trust Gods love for you, if He gave you this business, He will give you resources to sustain it.