Written by David Silverberg
It's a good problem to have, at first: In July 2018, Goddess Girl, the cosmetics company founded by 16-year-old Funmi Oyapero, sold out of the lip gloss tubes they were known for among Canadian teens. “I wasn't monitoring how many tubes we had left,” she says in an interview. “But now I'm ready for a lot of sales, because I realize how important it is it to plan ahead.”
Goddess Girl sells four main products: lip gloss, mink 3D lashes, highlight palettes and makeup brushes. Its lip-gloss container differentiates from the competition by featuring a “futuristic feel,” as Oyapero describes it, and includes a mirror on the back to help users with applying the gloss.
So why focus on lip gloss? “I don't go anywhere without my lip gloss, and since grade 9 I've always had at least 40 different types,” she recalls. “So when I wanted to have my business idea be on one thing, that's what came to mind, since I'm so passionate about that product.”
Oyapero remembers being nervous during the interview to apply to get into the Summer Company Program, which offers hands-on mentorship and funding for young entrepreneurs. She was later thrilled she got to fine-tune her business skills during those inspiring months.
“I like that I'm able to start my own business, and I feel confident now,” she says.
She credits her friends and sisters for supporting her vision, thanks to several conversations she had with lip-gloss lovers on what they would be looking for in a new product line-up.
With high school soaking up her days and a business to run 24/7, Oyapero is not like the typical teen. She starts her day by checking her phone to see if she needs to reply any order or emails. “During the day I focus on school work except for the occasional customers who call me during class time which I have now gotten used to,” she says. “Right after school if I have any orders that need to be delivered I head to the post office to drop them off. If not, I head home at around 4. I usually use the first half of the afternoon to do my homework, and starting at around 7:30, I use that time for Goddess Girl, whether it is creating new customer orders, booking events, tweaking the website, or making new social media posts.”
Her biggest takeaway from the Summer Company Program circles back to that challenging July she faced when Goddess Girl came up short on orders. “Planning is a major part of the business I wish I had taken more seriously earlier on. But now I know how to plan ahead.”
On what advice she would offer to fellow teens hungry to start their own company, she says, “Just go for it! Apply to the Summer Company Program and don't worry if your product will sell. What I find fulfilling about running Goddess Girl is a chance to be independent from my parents and running something that I could call my own.”
Photo credit Zlatko Cetinic, Images Made Real