Commerce the company world for ardour • Story by Janet Sunkwa-Mills
Ms. Janet Sunkwa-Mills, CEO of AFRIBIZ Group Limited
Ms. Janet Sunkwa-Mills is the Chief Executive Officer of AFRIBIZ Group Limited, a consortium of companies providing advisory services in the field of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) marketing. She is also the CEO of Jane ‘M Salon and Spa.
Ms. Sunkwa-Mills has more than 22 years of professional experience in various senior management positions in the FMCG industry in several African countries. Her FMCG career began at Nestlé Ghana in 1994 and moved to various local and international positions. In April 2008, Janet was one of the few women to take on the position of Business Executive Manager (BEM) at Nestlé. As BEM for Culinary, she was responsible for 21 countries in Nestlé’s Equatorial Africa region in Nairobi, Kenya.
She then worked at GB Foods – a leading Spanish FMCG company as Marketing Director for Africa / Middle East and also as a member of the Regional Management Team for 23 countries.
Ms. Sunkwa-Mills is an executive member of the Executives Women Network.
While attending the ‘Engine Room’ series on the Springboard Your Virtual University, she guided the audience through her corporate life, which inspired her to start a salon, and also gave some marketing tips.
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Source of inspiration
About what inspires her, she said she had so many sources of inspiration, but the reason she was who she was now was mainly because of how she grew up.
Growing up, she said that one of the things that made her happy was that things and people around her looked beautiful.
“I liked playing with my dolls and making things look nice. Those who know me will tell you that they are not surprised that I am starting Jane’M Salon. I was the one who will polish my friends hair, makeup, and nails.
“I personally believe that God created each of us with a purpose and to bring his own personal legend to life. I was created for a reason and I think it’s easy to match your purpose in life with your talent and drive, ”she explained.
How individuals can perceive their talents, she said, “If you want to find out what your passion and talent is, ask yourself when I wake up in the morning what naturally comes to mind and what piques my interest.”
“If you follow your personal legend and what defines you, it is very easy to survive in difficult situations,” she said.
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Make people smile and feel confident
Ms. Sunkwa-Mills emphasized that in her childhood she always wanted the people around her to look beautiful, smile and feel confident.
“In my early teens I was taken to boarding school very early and there was this old lady in boarding school and people say it was difficult to find this old lady. So I used to go and braid this old lady’s hair and she was so touched and usually gave me fruit. She told me one day that I was a talent and that I should pursue it.
“I didn’t take it seriously at the time, but I had the same experience with one of my bosses in Kenya. I was in the office and he looked at me and said I was in the wrong line of business. He said to me, “You know how to sit together and you should probably help others sit together,” she said.
She said one of her mentors, who was taking her personal picture photography, asked her to come and help, and told her that she had a personal knack for putting things together.
“When I quit the company job, I said to myself, this is it, and I love it. I just love it when something I do makes people smile and feel confident, ”she said.
Ms. Sunkwa-Mills noted that her main interest was in providing customers who visited her salon with a good experience that would be remembered forever.
“When I have clients in my salon, I am more interested in what their experiences have been like, and that’s because your heart remembers what your mind never forgets.
“When you connect to your consumer’s heart and emotions, it is connected to the brain and the brain registers it, especially when it is a pleasant experience,” she said.
She pointed out that a person in marketing can only make an impact and convince if they meet the needs of the customer.
“What makes you come to my salon isn’t just the hair, because some salons might do the hair too. So what makes the difference is how the person connects with you, ”she said.
Role of appearance
Ms. Sunkwa-Mills, who is a marketing consultant, also pointed out that packaging and appearance are very important in marketing.
“Whether you are providing a service or selling a product, it has to have an appealing factor. And I think God made the eyes for a very good reason, He made them because that’s our first port of call.
“So the packaging of a product can appeal to you mentally or emotionally, and if you’re a very good marketing strategist, try to address the emotions first. If you get it right and the experience of the product or service is in tune with the packaging, you are a winner, ”she noted.
She said that individual appearance is also very important in marketing.
“The way you look says a lot about you, and if you fill it up with a smile, you’ll win before you start talking. And when you compare it with the brain, it works like magic, ”she said.