Before the lockdown started in Lagos, Tobi Kukoyi – who identifies herself as a “beauty and sex therapist” and founded Mydsiac in 2018, selling Kayan Mata to women – used to have at least 50 one-on-one enquiries with clients on a slow business day. But when the coronavirus forced the world to shelter in place, many with loved ones, business went over the roof. “I make women Queens in their homes and their relationships,” she says.
It was about love. Societal pressure will not allow women the breathing space to find love on their own terms if ever they are interested. And so when these Instagram women started their accounts, preparing and delivering to doorsteps, Kayan Mata which promises to “make Oga propose in two weeks” or “make Oga buy you that new Benz”, Nigerians got interested.
In a world in which sex therapist and author of Sex Without Stress, Jessa Zimmerman says that 20 percent of married couples are in sexless marriage, with another 25 percent having sex less than once a week, and a Best Life article with the headline “There’s a Good Chance You’ve Been Dumped for This Reason” highlights a recent survey carried out by OnePoll for sex tech company Lora DiCarlo, that discovered that 70 percent of the time bad sex is a deal breaker, these Kayan Mata mixers of Instagram very quickly found their niche reviving sex once again to many who might have lost the zeal.
“I never had issues with my sexuality until 2012, after I had my first child,” Kukoyi says about her first encounter with natural aphrodisiacs. “I started conducting research on my issue and found out about some fruits and vegetables that I could mix to help my sexual problems. I started mixing and drinking and got my groove back.” But her relationship with Kayan Mata had only begun. She started with her friends, mixing aphrodisiacs for the ones who suffered similar plights and then one day she had the thought. “I was home, I was doing nothing, and I just thought, ‘this is actually something to do.’”
Before it became this open call to all lovers of men to lay claim to the men of their dreams, Kayan Mata had for centuries been prepared for northern young brides. It is supposed to be a mixture of roots and herbs traditional to northern Nigeria, prepared for these new wives to make sexual intercourse more pleasurable for their male partners. Except these Instagram vendors with thousands of followers offer more than pleasure-filled sex. They lay at your feet whatever type of man you want – a boyfriend, a husband and at very “affordable prices” as well.
One of the fast-rising Kayan Mata Instagram vendors is Deborah Erioluwapo Ajayi who runs Omoshola’s Place Empire with a steady rising following of more than half a million. Her clientele includes A-list celebrities, which she offers “private consultations’’ to and sells products priced between 15,000 to 350,000 Naira. Attraction Oil, the least expensive, goes for 15,000 Naira.
“Marriage and Love Kit” a whopping 200,000. “Supreme Curse Breaker’’ going for 75,000. The list goes on. Different packages for different needs. And if your need is not on the menu, there is something for you called “the Special Package.”
“People ask, ‘Kayan Mata is aphrodisiac, so why are you doing business favour [the curse breaker]?’ We try to focus on the favours…so when you start making money and you use the aphrodisiac, then you are good,” Kukoyi says. “We solve one problem to solve another.”
But how do women end up with the men of their dreams with these products? “You have to be intentional. You use it to places where you are sure you catch the fish [men] that you desire,” Kukoyi says. “The tiger eye [a pheromone] is what attracts good things.”
While many of the Instagram mixers have refused to make public actual data of what their revenue is like, Nairametrics reported that Hauwa Muhammad who owns Jaruma Empire, disclosed that she has consultations with at least 30 women a week for 50,000 Naira per session, which will make her rake in at least 72 million Naira a year from consultations only.
Despite exponential growths in the industry, doubters on social media have called the Instagram vendors everything from “fraud” to “Satan.” In a fiery Instagram post in July last year, the actress Tonto Dikeh blasted the vendors, saying that “there is more to life than 24/7 plotting to hook a man.” But even this hasn’t stopped the growth that the industry currently enjoys.
This increase in sales is not entirely evidence of a bright future for the industry. The narrative that Kayan Mata is fetish still soldiers on in the country. For Kukoyi’s new story to gain ground, there is a whole lot more PR and rebranding work to be done. “I am on NAFDAC now,” she says. “All of these things are changing, that’s why we are repackaging these things so they will be acceptable… It is a goldmine that’s not fully tapped.”
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