by Eleanor Ayuketah
“So much of what is happening now was just a dream a few years back.” And for sure girl, it’s ten years now and still rolling!
Born some 28 years ago, Anyi Asonganyi is owner of Ozi International, a makeup, skincare and fashion company located at Nouvelle Route Grand Moulin – Deido in Douala, Cameroon.
Ozi International started in 2007 and now has as many as eight employees.
Anyi has always been an entrepreneur and that’s why she furthered her education in the domain and obtained a Chartered Institute of Marketing Diploma. But how did she come up with the idea of actually starting her own business? As early as nursery school, Anyi was always particular about looking beautiful. She would insist on colour combinations for her outfits and accessories and already possessed a great sense of style. Influenced by her father who was her biggest motivation and fan, Anyi was raised to carry herself as the ‘The Beautiful Anyi’ and to believe in herself over everyone else’s opinion. She learned that it was better to stand out, be confident and believe in her abilities.
At secondary school, Anyi extended her makeup and style talents to others. She would cater to her friends and classmates’ beauty needs and even dress them up for various events.
While in university, she was invited to act in a movie. On the movie set, she realized she wasn’t into acting and instead took it upon herself to cater to the other actresses’ make-up. This set off an alarm in her mind. When she got home that night, she went online to explore the world of makeup artistry.
With this new drive, hearing there was a fashion show in town, she decided to approach the organizer and requested to work on the show. The organizer granted her request and Anyi went ahead to gather all her personal makeup items. She then realized after working for the fashion show that she had great talent worth paying for.
After all these years, Anyi owns a make-up school called Ozi International Beauty Academy. She also runs a full time fashion and beauty business.
You certainly want to know about Anyi’s biggest challenge … well it is all around entrusting her work to staff because she is somewhat a perfectionist … “Before I used to take care of every facet of my business by myself and this was a big challenge in the face of the volume of the work. Now I have an entire management team that caters to my PR and business opportunities; a staff team that handles the day to day orders and a very efficient Personal Assistant. It’s much easier now to distribute tasks to the various teams, though I have to admit I still struggle with this as I’m a perfectionist and it is really hard to give total control of a task to someone else. This is mainly due to the fact that I usually have a very specific picture of the outcome in my mind. I have to give it to my team as they are truly amazing, which makes it much easier for me to relax and trust them entirely. They are a true blessing to my business and my personal life.”
After about ten years of entrepreneurship, Anyi is happy and proud of herself. “My greatest achievement to date has been coming this far. So much of what is happening now was just a dream a few years back. Now that it is actually happening, it feels surreal!”
In five years from now, Anyi sees herself defending the Ozi International brand worldwide. “I see Ozi International as a true household name; a brand so big that it cannot be contained by just one continent!”
“To upcoming beauty and fashion entrepreneurs I would say ‘you have to put in the work!’ People sometimes see the glitz and glamour but do not seem to understand the amount of work that has to go in to get those results. Things do not happen just because you dream about them or because it’s your passion. You truly have to work very hard. It may take a while … I started in 2007! So unless you are really passionate about what you are doing, you may give up or worse become really frustrated. If you are not passionate about something, dropout. Now!”
As for those involved in makeup, her advice is simple, “Practice, practice and practice some more till your wrists and elbows can relax! Keep up with new techniques and invest in various professional training programs that will help enhance your skill & your brand. I know what I’m about to say is cliché but it truly boils down to HARDWORK.”
Ozi International, Anyi emphasizes, is the creative force behind some of the most glamourous looks in scores of music videos, movies, corporate bill boards and fashion shows in Cameroon. She further indicates that Ozi International takes time to inspire a new generation of makeup artists through its Makeup Academy as well as sold out workshops held around the country. The company’s very unique pieces and stunning accessories are made with African prints.
Anyi Asonganyi hails from Fontem in the South West Region of Cameroon. She has three siblings and grew up in Essos, Yaounde with her parents. Her father died in 2016. The artistic hand behind Anyi’s great pictures is her younger brother, Nji Asonganyi, owner of Asonganyi Pictures … a family of fashion entrepreneurs!