Pleasures Magazine features the innovative fashion and beauty entrepreneur, Haleema Hamisu Bello, on the cover of its March 2019 issue.
Haleema Hamisu Bello is a traditional Nigerian Muslim woman from the Nassarawa state. She is a rare breed, a creative and innovative entrepreneur, philanthropist and a passionate advocate for the development of women in Nigeria and Africa. Happily married and blessed with all that a happy marriage requires, Haleema is ardently committed to transforming the entrepreneurial world and creating opportunities for the youths, especially Muslim female youths of Nigeria and Africa, to explore and add value to themselves, their families and the society at large. Haleema is the founder and CEO of Yaayi by Haleema, a fashion entrepreneur and maker of a special perfume branded as ‘Whiff by Haleema’, a special brand of elite class perfume, as well as the founder of the NGO named ‘Halima Initiative for Women Development’.
Speaking on the link between her childhood experience and what she is today with the magazine, Haleema recounted that she seriously wanted to be a medical doctor. However, she has been an organized person right from her childhood. She loves fashion and likes to see that things are well organized in the house. Again, she is a kind of person who loves to talk people out of their problems or convince them to do certain things that she believed were worth it and they would, because she would make them see reasons why they should, and in the end, they would be thankful that they did.
On how she started her brand of perfume: ‘Whiff by Haleema’, the innovative and ingenious entrepreneur narrated that she used to like wearing perfume a lot when she was growing up. She said also that her mother used to scold her about this, citing their religion, Islam, as being against women wearing strong – scented perfume as that could attract undue attention to them from men.
However, Haleema’s passion for strong – scented perfumes defied her mother’s scolding. With that passion, she developed an even stronger desire to come up with something spectacular. So, she started by getting a number of different perfumes and experimenting with them by mixing different scenting collections together and giving to her friends to wear and give her their opinion. She always got positive feedback. Hence, she decided to create her own brand, @whiffbyhaleema to give perfume-loving Nigerians an international standard at affordable prices.
It wasn’t easy at the beginning, Haleema admitted, because for one to create a standard designers brand of perfumes, one may have to break her bank. It is really expensive. Amidst all the challenges, however, Haleema’s passion and desire to succeed in her dream kept her going.
Haleema also revealed to Pleasures Magazine that her primary focus is to create jobs and business opportunities for the youths. For instance, she could sell a designer perfume that would ordinarily go for like N25, 000 to her friends and anybody that wishes to take the advantage for as low as N18, 000 which they would sell and keep the difference as profits. Suffice it to say a couple of youths, especially students of higher institutions, are already making some good money to fend for themselves in school by selling ‘Whiff by Haleema’.
Reacting to what the sales have been like for her products, especially her brand perfumes, Haleema said it’s been good so far. However, she plans to expand the market of her products by collaborating with some popular superstores around the country where she would stock her products to create more awareness and increase sales. She added that students of institutions of higher learning are also invited to take advantage of the opportunity to market her special brand perfumes and make good fortunes for themselves. She hinted that she will give her perfumes to distributors and students who want to buy and sell in their schools at just N18,000 for them to sell at N25,000, thereby making a whopping N7,000 profit from each pack or bottle that they sell.
Haleema is also a philanthropist who is positively making an impact in the northern part of the country through her NGO, Halima Initiative for Women Development. Haleema said it’s all about women’s enlightenment and empowerment. The NGO, she expanded, will educate women about things they need to know. For instance, many women are staying put in abusive marriages from sheer fear of the stigma that they would face if they walk out of the relationship. Their minds are trapped by ancient traditions and cultures that posit that a woman has to worship her husband. That is the reason many men, especially here in the north, abuse their wives with impunity but the woman would be afraid to walk out of the marriage. Many men rape their wives simply because they don’t know the difference between consent and rape. The women too, don’t know this. ‘So, they need someone to tell them what they need to know, and that is what I am offering myself to do for northern Muslim women. I want to make myself available for them to talk to when they need counseling and help.
Also featured, a media entrepreneur and UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, she spoke on Digital Revolution and its Role in Traditional and Social Media’. Barrister Zainab Abubakar, daughter of General Buba Marwa (Rtd), discusses pushing the country’s women to a prosperous future through her ‘Aspire Women Initiative” foundation. This edition also focuses on insights and best practices in the fashion industry and the view of Abuja based leadership expert, Rev Godwin Abba on startups, marriage, and faith.