The Business(man) of Beauty

If you thought that running a beauty business was a woman’s game, Simeon Saidi is set to prove you wrong. With a keen eye for business, and a commitment to developing others, Simeon is proof that hard work and passion can make dreams come true.

You have a degree in Mechanical Engineering; how did you make the transition to Oriflame?
In Nigeria, you tend to choose your university subject based on what your family expects of you, for example: a doctor, a lawyer or an engineer. Although I studied engineering, I wasn’t really cut out for it. I’m very outgoing, like meeting new people and taking part in new things. Starting my business with Oriflame, I felt like a fish in water – it’s instinctual and comes naturally to me.

How did you first discover Oriflame?
It’s a very exciting story! A friend of mine invited me to his office and showed me a catalogue; I loved the packaging and the razzmatazz of it. He talked me through the compensation plan and it blew my mind; that’s when he introduced me to the Managing Director at Oriflame in Nigeria and he asked me a simple question: “How much money do you want to make and how far do you want to go?” My dream, from day one, was to get to the top.

“With Oriflame, I feel like a fish in water – it’s instinctive and comes naturally to me...”

As a man, is it a challenge to sell beauty products?
Personally, when reaching out to people, I prefer to focus on the compensation plan rather than the products. The Nigerian economy isn’t doing very well; our oil prices are down and the exchange rate is high versus the (American) dollar; I find that the business aspect is very attractive to people.

How do you reach out to people?
During my first year with Oriflame, I focused on meeting people face-to-face rather than through social media – I did have a Facebook account but I barely used it. Nowadays I’m more online than offline. I use Google and Facebook advertising to capture people’s attention, but then I invite people into the office to see the product range and find out about the business in person – that’s when people get really excited.

What’s your best piece of business advice?
The rejection rate can be high, so I always tell people that you need to bill more and increase your recruitment rate. You may receive a lot of rejections at first, but these rejections will only make you stronger. It’s all about building a team and supporting others, so my advice would be to try and see the bigger picture. Think less about sales and immediate profit and focus more on building a business through recruitment.

In just little over a year you’ve reached Diamond Director status – what’s been your highlight? What are you most proud of?
Without a doubt, the Gold Conference in Valencia, Spain - I’ve never experienced anything like that in my life. The icing on the cake was the recognition part, when I was called up to receive the Diamond Award; there were even fireworks! It honestly was mind-blowing. I’d like to relive that experience again and again.

How would you describe an Oriflame conference to someone?
I’d tell them that it’s five-star treatment, all the way through. You get treated like royalty, from start to finish. When people heard that I was a Diamond Director they wanted to take pictures of me and get my autograph; I felt like a star! Trust me, once you’ve attended your first conference you’ll want to go to the next one and the one after that!

You brought someone you selected from your network to the Diamond Conference – how did it feel to give him that opportunity?
The moment that I was informed that I had an extra ticket for the Diamond Conference, I ran a competition within my team. A young guy who had worked really hard qualified to come – and wow, did he ever make the most of his trip! He’s inspired a lot of people back home; that felt really nice.

In 5 years from now, where do you hope to be?
Number one in the world - Diamond President Director!

Words by: Photographs by: Yomi Dawodu