How a high-risk pregnancy inspired Zuwaira Isah-Ikharo to venture into the $24B baby care industry

Abu Mubarik July 07, 2023
Zuwaira's first products included a moisturizing cream, soothing shea oil, a bubbly bath wash, and an African black bar soap, which were instant best-sellers. Photo credit: Forbes Africa

Born into a family of entrepreneurs, Zuwaira Isah-Ikharo, a Nigerian entrepreneur and founder of baby care brand, Amal Botanicals, always knew that owning a business was a sure and natural way to go.

Her mother worked as a lecturer, while her dad worked as an immigration controller; nonetheless, they each had their side gigs. Her mother operated a provision shop, while her dad co-authored a best-selling book on small business and food processing.

Prior to launching her company, Zuwaira worked as a chartered accountant for multiple institutions, including the Federal Inland Revenue Service in Nigeria. Her vision was to rise through the ranks of the IRS and eventually retire.

However, her plans changed when she discovered she was pregnant with her first triplets and her maternal, protective instincts for her unborn children kicked in. She had a high-risk pregnancy and was advised to stay away from certain products and cosmetics.

“I had my triplets in 2013 and that is when my entrepreneurial career started. My children were born premature and, even when I was pregnant, I had a high-risk pregnancy and I was told to stay away from some products and cosmetics, Zuwaira told Forbes Africa.

“All the products I had bought for my children, which were conventional baby care products, were not suitable for them. I needed something more natural and toxic-free to use on them because they were in the incubator and they were still receiving therapy.”

Struggling to find the right baby care products on the Nigerian market, Zuwaira decided to do some research and eventually developed experimental products, which later proved useful and effective. This stirred up her confidence and influenced her decision to share her new invention on her personal Instagram page; explaining how the experimental products had helped her to take care of her triplets.

Several women facing similar challenges as Zuwaira made further inquiries about her remedy, pouring in multiple requests from various countries.

“I was getting response[s] from people asking me what I was using and this was coming from all over Africa. I also discovered that there were other mothers on my page and they needed to hear more from me.”

To standardize her product, she took a course with a cosmetic science formulation company in London, with a special focus on children. She started creating her own unique formulation after her certification.

“They kept demanding it and I needed to put a price on it to help restock my raw materials because I was giving it [away] for free for a while. And that is how Amal Botanicals actually started,” said Zuwaira.

According to Forbes Africa, her first products included a moisturizing cream, soothing shea oil, a bubbly bath wash, and an African black bar soap, which were instant best-sellers. Today, her products are sold in all 36 states, including neighboring Ghana.

According to GlobeNewswire, the global baby care products market is projected to hit $26.84 billion by 2030. In Nigeria, the sector is expected to grow annually by 19.15% (CAGR 2023–2027).

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: July 7, 2023

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