Dr. Iheatu Obioha, the founder and President of Bluefield Associates, Inc
This week we profile Dr. Iheatu Obioha, the founder and President of Bluefield Associates, Inc. Dr Iheatu Obioha is the man behind Clear Essence Cosmetics USA Inc, the manufacturers of Clear Essence, Adure and Chimere skin care products.
“One shoe fits all” appears to have been the governing notion in the marketing of cosmetics in Africa. Products advertized for white skin flooded the African market where the users had a very different skin color. The businessmen of the US cosmetic market saw the increasing population of people of color from the US and from Africa and immediately sensed a niche market and started producing products meant for the black skin or for people of color. A whole range of these products sometimes called “ethnic products” emerged. A Nigerian who had just graduated from the University of Maryland with an MBA, shied away from the many job opportunities that were available to holders of the then very much sought-after MBA degree to become an entrepreneur and start his own business. It was at this point that the young graduate Iheatu Obiaha saw the opening that has now made him a giant in the market of ethnic cosmetic products. According to Nairaland Forum,
“In the early 1970s, African nations were developing huge appetites for ethnic hair care products made in America by companies such as SoftSheen, Pro-Line, Luster, etc. These products were difficult to buy in most Sub-Saharan African countries, as the U.S. based companies did not have distribution outlets. Dr. Obioha started his career as a trader taking suitcases of these products to countries such as Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon. As his sales increased in these countries, so did his knowledge of doing business in Africa and local market needs. He eventually had his “Aha” moment with his interaction with the local cosmetic distributors. He discovered a huge void for skin care products that address the problems of people of African descent.”
The brand Clear Essence is specifically formulated to treat skin care issues of men and women of African descent Clear Essence Products are manufactured in a US based, FDA certified factory in Ontario, California and exported and distributed to over 20 countries in Africa.
Today the company has market shares in over 20 African countries, 7 European countries, and 500 beauty supply stores in North America. Currently, the bulk of their business in done via physical shipping of products from the Ontario, California plant to the distributors around the world with 70 percent of the sales realized within the African continent as the brand. Other services provided by their all FDA approved faculty includes, private label manufacturing services for ethnic skin, hair, botanical and OTC products.
As the ethnic populations increase in the countries of the North as well as Canada and the US. There is a new commercial reality requires adaptation to the demand. This reality has moved the needle in cosmetics, gastronomy, the entertainment industry as well as the textile and garment industry. The US 4 years after the end of the 8-year Presidency of an American of African origin is poised to elect the first woman and the first woman of color as Vice President. The times are changing, and the world is indeed becoming a global village.
In this context to fail to recognize the pioneer spirit and the accomplishments of Dr, Iheatu Obioha would have been unforgivable. Dr’ Obioha’s journey is inspirational to aspiring entrepreneurs. The horizon now appearing in the manufacture and commercialization of all manner of ethnic product now knows no bounds. So, awake people, you might just be the next Obioha!