She needs little or no introduction in the herbal business. The pioneer Secretary General for the Association of Traditional medicine in Nigeria, Quincy Ayodele is also an adviser for the development of African traditional medicine to the World Health Organization (WHO). Her outfit, Quincy Herbal Slimmers has been an authority in traditional medicine not only in Nigeria, but globall, for over 20 years. In this interview, she opens up on how she has been able to transform her business to a global brand and the role of her children in the business.
When you started this business about 20 years ago, not many people wanted to identify with you because they felt you were fetish. How were you able to change that perception?
I don’t know, who will look at all these products and think there is anything fetish about it? Anybody who still thinks that I’m a fetish herbal practitioner is just deceiving himself/herself because as far as I am concerned, I am a medical herbal practitioner. I know the herbs and the science of the herbs including the dosage and the medication and what to treat with the herbs. It has nothing to do with Ifa , it is pure medicine.
You have grown from using plastic containers to sell your herbal medicines to now packaging them scientifically. Does this have anything to do with the change in perception?
Well, one of my daughters, Tobi studied biochemistry in school and after school, she joined the business and infused what she learnt in school to improve the business. She advised me to stop pounding the herbs in our usual local way and showed me how the products can be decently packaged without it losing its natural potency. That has always been my problem, not packaging my products all these years because I didn’t want to package something that will not work properly thereafter or reduce its potency or no longer have the natural formula. It was like a tug of war because I wondered how pawpaw or slimming garri could be packaged. I insisted that, it’s either they do everything natural or they just leave my products the way they are. But she assured me that it could be done using scientific methods. So, I gave her the go ahead. She spoke with some manufacturers in developed countries to see how it can be done. So now, everything is naturally made now to the extent that, in products where we have to put orange, it has to be orange and not orange flavour. The slimming garri, tommy blasting tea, skin care products, though very well packaged, still retain their natural potency.
How did your clients receive the newly packaged products?
It was a welcome development. They like it so much that I feel so embarrassed for having stuck with using plastic containers for so long. I wondered why they didn’t tell me all these years that we have been using mortar to grind leaves. Some of them were like, “Are you sure this is Quincy?” So, they like it and they’re proud to take it abroad because its looks nice and all that. It is well developed.
Now that we have re branded, are you ready for large scale demand?
Right now, we’re still doing it on service basis. Of course the products are here and the formulas are still in my brain. So, anytime we decided to go commercial, we won’t have a problem with large scale demands. But we can only go commercial as soon as we complete our dialogue with necessary authorities. For now, we use it for service because I want to remain practitioner. I want to remain in the healing industry using herbal medicine but of course, I’m going to be open to other people that want the product for commercial basis. We would contract it out for those that will do it for us. So that it can be in other countries like America and Nigerians can even buy it from internet because right now, we have approval to sell it on Amazon website. And for Amazon.com to approve any product on health and beauty segment, the product must 100% herbal medicine. And all our products have been approved by Amazon.
Are your products NAFDAC compliant?
That is why I said we’re still talking to the necessary authorities. As soon as we finish all our paper work, it will be in the market. However, they have gone through several tests to prove that it’s safe for human consumption. It has already been approved to be sold in the United States of America.
It must have cost a fortune to achieve this level of re branding and packaging. Does it mean that Quincy products will now be more expensive than what it used to be?
At Quincy, we’re not really expensive. We’re not particular about money because we believe money will come later. Since I started this business, it has always been Quincy and slimming. Everybody in the country knows that if you desire to get slim, then Quincy is the best place to be. If I was particular about money, no one would still be patronizing me till date and the name would have gone into extinction. The reason for this business is to create generational wealth. By the time the money will start coming, all these products would have been everywhere, round the globe.
When the money starts coming like you said, will you also be selling a franchise of it?
When that times come because if you look at KFC (eatery), they didn’t start selling their franchise until after 30years.For now, we can’t but when the time comes and there is a need for it, most likely. I have since discovered that, those that create good products that endure the test of time don’t use five years to perfect the product or service. Our vision is to keep developing our products in other to build confidence in people.
As a member of the World Health Organisation (WHO), has the body been intimated about your products?
As a WHO expert on development of African Traditional medicine, I’m proud to say that I’m one of the herbal medicine practitioners that WHO is proud of when it comes to invention, innovation, treatment and even the environment that Quincy Herbal Slimmer has for the clinical management of obesity. They are really proud of me and they are aware of the development of some of our formulas.
How were you able to sell your vision to your children such that they are now part of the business?
I told my children from day that even if they go to school to study to become lawyers, engineers or doctors, they will still come and join me in this business. And that was what happened .
You look good for your age and as a grandmother. What’s the secret of your youthful look?
I’m a practitioner for anything natural. Don’t forget that I am a herbal medicine practitioner. I use most of my product. Of course I take a lot of slimming garri every day. I use my products because it has anti-aging and anti-wrinkle properties, it contains shea butter, has sun block and it brightens the skin. The concept of skin brightening is not bleaching the skin but exfoliating dead skin cells and exposing the new skin. Once you are able to do that naturally, you’re not going to look bleached or damage your skin. That is the concept of the cream that we use and that is what I use. I can tell when I see some of our clients who use our products judiciously. They look radiant, glowing and youthful looking without dark knuckles or stretch marks.
How do you maintain your figure?
Like I said, I’m a natural person to the core, I’m attracted to natural things. I eat a lot of vegetable and take a lot of selected fruits because it is not all fruits that should be ingested. But vegetable should be taken all the time. Also, I am very active because I still do my house work with my house girl. When I have the time, I exercise. I eat healthy and I don’t buy food from eateries. Thank God I have my daughter with me, she doesn’t allow me to eat off guard. She’s a natural person as well, even more than I am. She make sure everything I eat is healthy and she makes sure we drink lots of water at stipulated times. In our house, we must finish at least eight bottles of water whether you like it or not. And we have all gotten used to it.
Obesity is on the increase and as someone who has been in the business for long, how can it be curbed?
Most of the food we buy from eateries cause obesity also, living a sedentary lifestyle. People no longer walk to their work places. You can’t find people on the street walking. And people eat too much in Nigeria. Some people eat late because they get home late from work. Most people reach home by 10pm and that’s when they remember they have not eaten all day and they settle for a bowl of pounded yam or Eba which is very wrong. How can you be eating Eba at 10pm?And some people think eating big pieces of meat or chicken is a sign of good living not knowing that they are killing themselves. We always tell people that, meat, fish, chicken or anything that is taken from animal are formally alive as such when you eat them, it shouldn’t be more than the size of an ATM card. And your serving should not be more than your palm.
You’ve been in the business for so long aren’t you thinking of retiring?
I have no intention of retiring. My intention is to bring up my children and support them to the level where they cannot be scared of anything in the world. If they now want me to retire, they will b the one to tell me but right now, I am not retiring.