‘People find it difficult to believe that i’m a farmer’

Chane Ezinne is the CEO of Chane Enterprises. A cosmetologist, fashion designer, interior decorator and farmer, she reveals how she’s been able to successfully run her businesses despite the challenging business environment.

Miss Ezinne Chane has her hands in many pies. She is a cosmetologist, fashion designer, interior decorator and farmer, not forgetting to mention that she has two Bachelor’s degrees; one in Sociology and the other in Nursing, of which she reminds us that she did put in a few years of practical experience before she quit the sciences to follow her heart in the world of business.

Under the umbrella of Chane Enterprises, she is Chief Executive Officer of Glam Goddess, a firm that manufactures cosmetics and does fashion and fashion designing business. There also is Style Secrets, which is the business of interior decoration, and her agricultural concern is handled by Chane Farms.

Agriculture, she stated, was a major pull to go into personal business when GuardianWoman met her for an interview in Lagos recently, adding that farming has been an area that she had always wanted to explore for a long time.

With a skin so fair and spotless, except for her kinky ethnic hair, one would have taken her for a Caucasian! Anyone meeting her for the first time would not believe that she ever stepped into the harsh rays of the sunshine that we experience everyday.

Are you a farmer? Are you truly a farmer? The Guardian queried. Her answer was a laugh so long one would have thought she was never going to answer that question. “People find it difficult to believe that I am a farmer. But I have my hands deep in Agriculture. Just like any other modern farmer understands that hard work which requires his presence is needed to carry out his labour, I go to farm, comes shine or rain.”

“We are into poultry and fish farming. We supply our farm products to about 70 per cent of the five star hotels in Lagos. We reach supermarkets and individual homes, too. We are growing vegetables, spinach at the moment.

How is one woman able to put three companies and make them function well? Her answer was that hard work helps.

“On my part, hard work and perseverance is the motto. I did not start the three companies in one go. I went into the next plan when I was sure that I was ready to pursue the next goal; this is important, too. Have a goal and it helps to keep everything in view.

“I started the Glam Goddess which is the cosmetic producing business 10 years ago. I was running it alongside the fashion design and dress making business.

“After establishing myself in the two businesses, I went into interior decoration; that was the time I formed Style Secrets to take on home decoration

“I became a farmer in 2014, until that year, I didn’t think that I was fully ready.”

Farming has been an amazing experience, Chane coos to us.

On what drives a woman like herself, she says: “I don’t like dependence. I don’t like seeking for help. I like to experiment with any ideas that come to me. I am adventurous.

“I think my parents have influenced me a great deal. They did not discriminate against any gender in the training of their children. All the children were given equal opportunities and challenges. They saw children who were equal as human beings and abhorred laziness in any way.”

How then does a woman’s business concern like Chane Enterprises function in the present economic climate?

“ I personally expect nothing from any government. In recent times, the empowerment of the female gender has been to an all time high; I think this is good for all of us. I believe therefore that the governments should continue to raise the status of women by supporting women in business.”

Speaking of Chane Farm’s experience since she muscled her way into agriculture, she reflects: “Everything has its good and bad side. It is not different with farming. Before I ventured into it, I asked a lot of questions to try to understand what I was undertaking. And believe me tales from the farm sector could be horrendous and most discouraging. How could you want to continue when some farmer warns you to expect that you could wake up one morning to discover that all the birds were dead, all dead one day or losing all your fish?”

“Another is the challenge of getting genuine farm hands that are serious and love what they do first and foremost not what they get out it. Another one is staff pilfering the stock. You counted 5000 chickens the day before but the following day, the number is short and there is no accounting for the loss?

“I decided to farm and it has been rewarding and my most rewarding moment comes, for example, when a hotel says that you are the only one who should supply all their fresh eggs.

“As an Interior decorator, presently, I am working on about five houses. That sector has its own challenges, too. You already know that there are other competitors, so you have to put in your best. On one occasion at least, I learned that you must always be prepared for the worst. I was expected to hand over a building on a Saturday. I had prepared to give them the best of Style Secrets. But by Wednesday, what I ordered from overseas did not come. After much anxiety, I decided to fall back on my talent to make use of what was available and I was pleased at the outcome although the materials came much later after the event.

“Glam Goddess is about looking good; the products we manufacture are beauty products. We make toners or skin lighteners. Our raw materials are mostly honey, sunflower, coconut oil and bark of treem tree. Some are sourced easily while some are seasonal. To avoid being out of scarcity, we buy and stock up when they are in season. I use our products”

Which makes them typical products for fair skinned people only, GuardianWoman concluded. “No I have customers who are very dark in complexion too. Glam Goddess is for the woman of taste. Glam Goddess is the woman who pampers and nourishes her skin to look good; she glows whether she is dark or fair. Our products are formulated with herbs without adding any chemicals,” she responded.

She added: “Young women should stop depending on people for their existence. You can succeed if you try. Choose a trade or vocation and work tirelessly, one day you will make it. I started small, from Lagos and United Kingdom. Admittedly, funding is tasking for most business start-ups, many people desire to be self-reliant but find getting the capital frustrating.

“But one should not fail to point out that the woman of today has done better that her forebear. She is more enterprising and wants to fend for herself. Her great grandmother was brought up to think that ambition was unwomanly and she dared not dream too high because she was brought to believe that success is a man’s exclusivity.”

Her parents still live in England; “They are retired now, having worked there. My mother is a hard worker; I believe that I have inherited her gene there. My father is happy with whatever I do but my mother is the one who is constantly pushing to do more.

“I am the last child who was pampered but was made to believe that I have to work hard to have the best things in life.”

What does Chane like about herself? “I am a goal getter who feels confident of what she can do. Chane dreams big and sets out to make it a reality,” she says.

She credits water of life as the preserver of her unbelievably supple and beautiful skin. “I drink lots of water and I sleep and rest fully at weekends. I love fruits.”

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