Kehinde Okoroafor is a woman with many titles. A graduate of Economics, she is the CEO of Next Level Hair Manufacturer, a company that has made its mark in Nigeria’s booming hair industry. But that’s not all; she’s also a humanitarian, a mother, and the founder of two foundations, the Make Mee Elegant Foundation, and the Young Widows Mite. Her passion for helping and empowering women has taken her to 12 countries, where she has impacted the lives of countless women and young girls.
Next Level Hair Manufacturer, the company that Okoroafor founded 15 years ago, has grown to become a household name in Nigeria’s hair industry. In an industry dominated by Asian companies that supply synthetic and real human hair for everything from wigs to weaving, Next Level stands out for its high-quality hair products, consistency, and creativity. But it wasn’t always this way.
When Okoroafor started the business, it was just a passion. She wanted to do something unique that would catch people’s attention. At the time, Nigeria’s hair industry was lucrative, and her business was moving. However, the game changed when Chinese companies entered the market, bringing in cheap hair products and intense competition. Despite this, Next Level Hair Manufacturer has not only survived but also thrived in this highly competitive market.
The journey hasn’t been easy for Okoroafor, who has had to navigate the challenges of running a manufacturing business in Nigeria. She attests that it is a human-intensive and capital-intensive business. Manufacturing in Nigeria is physically and mentally draining, and there were times when she had to run on a generator for a whole year, which consumed all her profit. But she didn’t give up, and today, Next Level Hair Manufacturer is a testament to her resilience.
Beyond her business success, Okoroafor is an inspiration to many young women in Nigeria and beyond. She founded the Make Mee Elegant Foundation nine years ago, with the goal of empowering women and young girls. Through the foundation, she has been able to provide moral and financial support to young widows and empower over 8000 young women.
Four years ago, she founded the Young Widows Mite Foundation, inspired by Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija. The foundation has been a source of hope and support for young widows in Nigeria, providing them with the financial and emotional support they need to start over.
For Okoroafor, empowering women is not just a passion; it is a dream. She wants to see all women become independent and bosses in their own right. Her foundations have been able to give loans to women to start businesses and become their own bosses. She believes that by empowering women, she is building a better future for Nigeria.
Despite the challenges facing the manufacturing sector in Nigeria, Okoroafor remains optimistic. She believes that there are opportunities in the hair industry, and anyone with the will and ambition can make it big. She sees the hair and beauty industry as a challenging but rewarding field, where professionals can change lives and boost confidence by making people look and feel great.
Okoroafor’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. She recently received the recognition as a worthy champion of Nigerian women award from the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen. For Okoroafor, this award is not just a recognition of her achievements; it is also an affirmation of her belief that women can be the change they want to see in the world.
In a country where the manufacturing sector is facing significant challenges, Kehinde Okoroafor stands out as a beacon of hope. She has shown that with passion.