Nailed it! Paint­ing your suc­cess

CityPress - - t# - Pre­cious.mavuso@city­press.co.za

Barely a year af­ter start­ing nail pol­ish busi­ness Malia Nail Care, Mphela Lebo is al­ready a good few steps up the lad­der of suc­cess. The 25-year-old, based in Pre­to­ria, had al­ways dreamt of start­ing her own nail care brand.

“The busi­ness came about when I re­alised that I wanted some­thing I could call my own. Some­thing I could cre­ate and grow with, from the bot­tom up. With pas­sion ob­vi­ously be­ing the driv­ing force,” she says.

Soon af­ter the cre­ation of the brand in her mother’s kitchen, Lebo got her prod­uct into goodie bags at the South African Mu­sic Awards – so celebri­ties will be wear­ing Malia prod­ucts.

Start­ing a nail care range in South Africa means com­pet­ing with in­ter­na­tional brands. Lebo was aware of the chal­lenges of dis­tri­bu­tion, break­ing into mar­kets loyal to other brands and build­ing aware­ness for a new prod­uct. Us­ing pri­vate fund­ing, sav­ings and the ad­vice of dif­fer­ent men­tors, she man­aged to get the busi­ness go­ing.

Mak­ing nail pol­ish re­quires sus­pen­sion base, clear nail pol­ish and nail pig­ments for the colours. She says she worked with amaz­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers who in­cluded her in the process, such as for colour con­cep­tu­al­i­sa­tion.

Her prod­uct dif­fers from other brands. Be­side be­ing glossy, rich in colour and long-last­ing, it makes use of a “3-Free for­mula”, so it does not con­tain three toxic chem­i­cals of­ten used in nail pol­ish.

In terms of the nail in­dus­try and mar­ket in South Africa, Lebo says: “Nail pol­ish is one of those prod­ucts that will for­ever be well re­ceived. Women love what it does. There’s a ther­a­peu­tic el­e­ment that comes with hav­ing a great nail colour. In South Africa specif­i­cally, it’s a field that has a large mar­ket. This is ev­i­dent by the amount of com­pe­ti­tion there is in the nail in­dus­try. In­ter­na­tional brands are still lead­ing. We need to see more in­ter­est and sup­port for lo­cal beauty brands.”

She adds: “I’d love to have a fac­tory to cre­ate a va­ri­ety of other prod­ucts and ex­pand into em­ploy­ing peo­ple.”

Malia nail pol­ish is sold in col­lec­tions of four (R200) or six (R280) pol­ishes, and or­ders are done on­line on her web­site, malianail­care.com (go­ing live later this month), where cus­tomers will see the colours and se­lect their favourites for their nail pol­ish wardrobe.

Malia Nail Care also has a pur­pose. Part of the sale pro­ceeds and do­na­tions go to its One Shade at a Time ini­tia­tive, pro­vid­ing san­i­tary prod­ucts for girls in un­der­priv­i­leged ar­eas. Fol­low the brand on Twit­ter

@MaliaNail­Care

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