The scent of home is a comforting one. With Yerwa Secrets, these fragrances become a fusion of select smells that leaves you emanating success.
What is your favourite smell? The earth’s soil after a rainy day? Freshly baked bread? Or maybe it’s the scent of home?
One that leaves you warm and reminds you that you’re safe.
For Fatima Babakura, the aroma of home is what inspired her to launch Yerwa Secrets, a range of incense, body fragrances, and hair mists.
Yerwa is the local name given to the capital city of Babakura’s home state, Maiduguri, located in Borno, North Eastern Nigeria. The name of her brand directly translates to ‘secrets from home’.
“I started the brand to share my culture with the world in a way that people will easily understand, which is through scent because everybody knows what smells good.”
A MODERN SENSE OF SMELL
Launching a business that plays on the sense of smell was not part of Babakura’s initial plans, as she was originally focused on growing her handbag and shoe business. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced her to place these plans on hold. During her forced sabbatical, Babakura would spend her time engaging in her family’s tradition of burning incense. Over time, visitors to her home would remark on the aromatic scents.
These remarks soon encouraged Babakura to launch a business that would tantalize our strongest sense, and so in 2021, Yerwa Secrets was born.
A FRESH SCENT
We all know what smells good, but how Babakura selects the scents of Yerwa Secrets all comes down to one thing: curiosity.
“A lot of my inspiration comes from how I feel and my curiosity is what inspires me to play with different scents before creating a specific fragrance.”
The brand only provides products that have been heavily researched and tested to not only smell good, but to also be safe on the skin and hair.
Unlike other local perfume, popularly known as Khumrah, that are packaged in dropper bottles, Yerwa Secrets packages their perfumes in spray bottles, making the act of smelling great that much more convenient.
Additionally, Yerwa Secrets has set out to revolutionize the way incense smells, with their products having scents that go beyond the traditional woody scents associated with incense.
“We’ve made incense that smells like vanilla” shares Babakura.
While there may not be a set method when it comes to incense production in Northern Nigeria, Babakura has faced push-back on production and manufacturing,
“I work with local people and they’re used to doing things a certain way, so it takes a while for them to adapt and understand what you’re trying to achieve.”
While this back and forth has often result- ed in a few mistakes, Babakura has managed to convince the locals about how adapting and evolving can facilitate both personal and professional growth.
Yerwa Secrets isn’t only focused on platforming local scents, but they also believe in using products to protect and build up the community.
In regards to packaging, Babakura and her humble team stay clear of plastic, and rather opt for glass, with consumers receiving discounts when they return the bottles for refills.
This is only part of Yerwa Secrets’ sustainable efforts, as choosing to do everything in-house, sans shipping, allows for them to also pour back into the community.
“Sustainability for us is about how we build our community, as one sale means there’s food on the table for families.”
For instance, Babakura took in a 17-year-old boy to help at the store and the boy grew from handling package deliveries to DHL to being part of the production process and even watching over the business in his employer’s absence.
With plans to launch a physical store in Abuja, Nigeria, where consumers can come and enjoy the different scents that Yerwa Secrets offers, it’s clear the success of the brand will linger just as long as the savoury fragrances that it offers the world.
DISCLAIMER: Brand Voice is a paid program. Articles appearing in this section have been commercially supported.