Nimah Ali: Redefining Beauty With Le Hammam
Nimah Ali is the Founder/CEO of Le Hammam, an exclusive female beauty, fitness and wellness centre, located in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The alumnus of the University of Ilorin has over the years gained a wealth of experience by holding key positions with different organisations in five different sectors in Nigeria.
In this chat with The Guardian Life, the chartered accountant turned beauty entrepreneur talks about her venture into the beauty business and Le Hammam.
Accounting and beauty are on two sides of the career spectrum. What motivated this career change?
I am still in love with accounting but fashion is something that I have always had an interest in. I discovered the true art of Hammam (bath) during one of my travels. There was this particular one I visited. It was, coincidentally, a one-stop spa dedicated to women only with a range of different beauty services offered all under one roof (a place you can come to in your nightwear and leave red carpet ready). This was the first point of inspiration for the spa business and the eventual move into the industry. My interest was fuelled by the realisation that there weren’t many female-only spas around Abuja.
Based on my engagement with many women (especially Muslim women who wear the hijab), I realised that they struggle with conventional unisex hair salons where men could be customers or stylists. For an even broader group of women, the thought of using unisex spas was unfathomable because they just will not feel at ease. Therefore, it was paramount to create a sanctuary for women to enjoy, relax and let their hair down.
What challenges did you encounter when you ventured into the beauty industry and how did you overcome them?
I am passionate about different bits of the beauty industry thus making the challenges all bearable. I believe that challenges are a spectrum of issues or obstacles any business owner will face no matter the size of the business.
Some of these are finding trustworthy staff, finding investors to trust me enough to make commitments, theft, sourcing of female-only staff, and above all tax levies as well as municipal charges.
To overcome them, there are no hard or fast rules to tackle and overcome these challenges. The real key is open-mindedness and entrepreneurship. These two assets allow you as a business owner to find creative ways of overcoming these challenges.
What inspired the name, Le Hammam for your beauty business?
The name Le Hammam is literally translated to “the bath.” Hammam is a common beauty service offered in Arabian speaking countries and it has made its way into our society so it is logical to choose a name that will easily resonate with client familiar with the service.
Since the establishment of Le Hammam, what has the journey been like?
Le Hammam was established legally in 2017 but commenced operations this year. During this time [since it’s establishment], it has been filled with great and not-so-great moments.
It is clear that Le Hammam targets just women. Are there plans to include a male clientele at some point?
Interestingly, right from the time when the building was undergoing construction, male contractors would comment about how men need a space dedicated to them as well. There is a possibility that we would be provided for male clientele in the nearest future. However, that will have to be a different site for reasons mentioned earlier.
Are there exclusive services that Le Hammam currently offers that other rival beauty houses don’t?
As a new entrant into the industry, we offer a range specialised facial treatments with the state-of-the-art facial machine, as well as laser treatment machine to deliver treatments such as microdermabrasion, warts removal, anti-aging facial, brightening facial, acne facial, laser hair removal, spot removal, skin tightening, cosmetic teeth whitening and loads more.
What do you think can be done to further enhance the growth of the beauty industry?
First, serious standardisation of the processes and procedures as well as sincere and transparent regulatory services to help the industry grow. Also, there is a need for the government to not see companies in the industry as easy revenue sources with multiple taxations, municipal charges and lots more.
What is the go-to beauty regimen that you would recommend to anyone at any given point?
I’m heavily centred on natural and organic products. No one will go wrong with organic products to take care of their skin. I recommend beauty products and brands that are natural as well as organic.
Where do you see Le Hammam in the next five years?
In the short-term, I see Le Hammam breaking new grounds in the provision of services we offer by providing up-to-date technology to aid our procedures and processes. I hope we grow in strength, become a household name in the industry, open up branches across the country, and expand outside the shores of Nigeria.