New kids on the block

The nat­u­ral hair busi­ness is the fastest­grow­ing mar­ket around. Meet the savvy en­trepreneurs who are con­tribut­ing to this lu­cra­tive in­dus­try.

True Love Hair - - CONTENTS - By LER­ATO SEUOE

NAME: TSHADI MOKOENA

BUSI­NESS: Nalane ea Afrika

Please tell us more about your­self. I’m Mantshadi Ler­ato Mokoena, known as Tshadi. I’m the mid­dle child, and one of my sib­lings, Nalane, is my busi­ness part­ner. In 2007, I moved from my home­town of Bloemfontein, in the Free State, to Joburg to com­plete my my BSc IT de­gree at the Univer­sity of Jo­han­nes­burg. I’ve worked in the cor­po­rate sec­tor for the past 10 years. Be­sides my in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy de­gree, I hold a busi­ness an­a­lyst diploma and I’m a cer­ti­fied TOGAF En­ter­prise Ar­chi­tect. Re­cently, I com­pleted a Bach­e­lor of Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion de­gree from the Univer­sity of South Africa.

Where does your en­tre­pre­neur­ial sprit come from?

When my sib­lings and I were chil­dren, our par­ents en­cour­aged us to be en­trepreneurs. Our fa­ther used to buy us birth­day presents and en­cour­aged us to use them for ex­tra pocket money. For ex­am­ple, I got a cam­era and used to take pic­tures at kid­dies’ birth­day par­ties. I also used to paint and make cush­ion cov­ers to sell.

What in­spired you to start your busi­ness? I had nat­u­ral hair in high school and be­cause of lim­ited prod­ucts at the time, I strug­gled to grow my hair with­out chem­i­cally pro­cess­ing it. I wanted to see what my hair looked like in its nat­u­ral state. So in 2013, I started re­search­ing ways to look af­ter my hair and re­alised that there was a lack of suit­able prod­ucts. I got in­spired to start my own thing. I started mix­ing and ex­per­i­ment­ing with a few in­gre­di­ents at home un­til I found a for­mula that worked. I got my sis­ter Karabo, our cousin Ma­pula and other fam­ily mem­bers in­volved in get­ting the idea off the ground.

How long has your busi­ness been in ex­is­tence for?

We’ve been op­er­at­ing since 2014. What sets your prod­ucts apart? We use 100% in­dige­nous African plant oils and but­ters. Our range is for­mu­lated on the LOC method, which is an ab­bre­vi­a­tion for Leave-in con­di­tioner, Oil and Cream. We de­signed the prod­ucts this way be­cause we no­ticed that African hair doesn’t re­tain a lot of mois­ture. Our prod­ucts are safe to use for all mem­bers of the fam­ily, es­pe­cially kids.

What’s your vi­sion for your brand go­ing for­ward?

I want Nalane ea Afrika to be a house­hold name across Africa. We’ve also started stock­ing Nalane prod­ucts at beauty sa­lons, so all nat­u­ral hair en­thu­si­asts are catered for. We want to open our own sa­lon.

NAME: NONZUZO MKHWANAZI

BUSI­NESS: Afrilove Hair and Skin­care

Please tell us who Nonzuzo is.

I’m the mother to a beau­ti­ful 10-month-old baby girl. I’m also a nat­u­ral hair en­thu­si­ast, and have been this way for more than four years.

What in­spired you to start Afrilove?

When I re­turned to my nat­u­ral hair state, there were tons of off-the-shelf prod­ucts, but only a few lived up to their prom­ises. And I was not too pleased with the in­gre­di­ents that they con­tained. Re­turn­ing to my nat­u­ral hair in­spired me to be more mind­ful of what I put on my hair, skin and body. Un­for­tu­nately, at the time, there were not that many holis­tic so­lu­tions for hair that also matched my pocket.

How long has your busi­ness been in ex­is­tence for?

It’s been a lit­tle over two years and the re­sponses from the pub­lic have been amaz­ing.

What sets your hair prod­ucts apart?

Not only are they hand­made us­ing pre­mium qual­ity plant­based in­gre­di­ents, but a lot of love and pas­sion also goes into mak­ing Afrilove. Afrilove prod­ucts are de­signed so that ev­ery­one can af­ford them.

What is your vi­sion for your brand go­ing for­ward?

The big­ger plan is to em­power and ed­u­cate peo­ple about nat­u­ral prod­ucts. I re­cently launched the Nat­u­ral Hair Made Easy ser­vice, which pro­vides on-lo­ca­tion hair ser­vices for nat­u­ral­is­tas in Dur­ban. We will be host­ing ed­u­ca­tional beauty ses­sions to ful­fil our mis­sion.

NAME: PHINDI MTYINGIZANE

BUSI­NESS: O’Nat­u­ral Wigs

Who is Phindi?

I was born and raised in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape by my amaz­ing mother, Sindiswa Jor­dan. I have three sis­ters and I stud­ied Ar­chi­tec­tural Tech­nol­ogy at the Dur­ban Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy. I worked as an ar­chi­tec­tural de­signer for almost 10 years. I’m now mar­ried to my high school sweet­heart, Avela Mtyingizane, and we have two beau­ti­ful kids.

What in­spired you to start your busi­ness?

It was never meant to be a busi­ness. I made a wig for my­self and posted it on social media. Peo­ple started ask­ing where I got it from. I then cre­ated a sep­a­rate In­sta­gram page and di­rected them to it. Be­fore I knew it, peo­ple were plac­ing or­ders, and that’s how it all started.

How long has your busi­ness been in ex­is­tence for?

We have been op­er­at­ing for almost two years now.

What sets your prod­ucts apart?

I be­lieve I’m mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in my clients’ lives. Some peo­ple drive long dis­tances to get the wigs and when I meet them, they ex­press their grat­i­tude for what the wigs do for them and their con­fi­dence. We also do­nate wigs to women with hair loss is­sues.

What is your vi­sion for your brand go­ing for­ward?

I’d love to have the wigs in re­tail stores, where my clients and other women will have easy ac­cess to them. And my mis­sion is to wig up the na­tion one client at a time.

NAME: NOKUTHULA ZWANE

BUSI­NESS: Pur­pul Hair

Who is Nokuthula?

I’m a 27-year-old woman from Dur­ban, KwaZulu-Na­tal. I came to Joburg to pur­sue a ca­reer in the avi­a­tion in­dus­try.

What in­spired Pur­pul Hair?

It ac­tu­ally started as a hobby. I used to en­joy do­ing peo­ple’s hair for ex­tra money. As I got older, my pas­sion shifted to­wards the pro­duc­tion of hair prod­ucts. A col­league com­plained to me about her thin­ning hair, so I of­fered to as­sist by mix­ing oils for her. To my sur­prise, it worked! Then word got around and soon enough, or­ders trick­led in. So I made it of­fi­cial. I had no busi­ness plan; just a love for hair and mix­ing oils.

How long has your busi­ness been in ex­is­tence for?

We’ve been op­er­at­ing for two years now.

What sets Pur­pul Hair apart?

Our prod­ucts are made by a black woman for black women. Our for­mu­la­tions tar­get the frus­tra­tions we face with our eth­nic hair, in­clud­ing growth and dry­ness. All of our prod­ucts are sul­phate-free and con­sist of cas­tor oil.

What’s your vi­sion for your brand go­ing for­ward?

I’d like Pur­pul to com­pete with big-name brands and to en­ter the West African mar­ket.

For a year.

NAME: SIVUYILE MAGWENTSHU

BUSI­NESS: Fro­lific Curls

Who is Sivuyile?

I was born in Mdantsane, Eastern Cape. I stud­ied at the Univer­sity of Cape Town (UCT) for my BSc de­gree in Com­puter Sci­ence. I also com­pleted a post­grad­u­ate diploma in Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion at the UCT Busi­ness School. I’m cur­rently do­ing an MBA at the Univer­sity of Stel­len­bosch Busi­ness School. I’m mar­ried with a very ac­tive three-year-old son.

What in­spired you to start your busi­ness?

I re­alised that other peo­ple had sim­i­lar hair strug­gles to me: we didn’t know how to look af­ter our hair tex­ture, and which prod­ucts to use. So af­ter test­ing every­thing on the mar­ket, I de­cided to mix my own stuff, which is how Fro­lific Curls was born.

How long has your busi­ness been in ex­is­tence for? What sets your com­pany apart?

The range fo­cuses on nour­ish­ing the hair and re­plen­ish­ing mois­ture with key in­gre­di­ents like shea but­ter, av­o­cado and jo­joba oils. The range is sim­ple and is gen­tle on the hair.

What is your vi­sion for your brand?

To cre­ate a plat­form that ed­u­cates women about the ba­sics of healthy hair care, and for Fro­lific Curls to be a sta­ple.

Who is Thokozile?

NAME: THOKOZILE MANGWIRO

BUSI­NESS: Nilo­tiqa Hair Care

I have a mas­ter’s in In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy from the Univer­sity of South Africa and over eight years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in the data­base ad­min­is­tra­tion, anal­y­sis and in­tel­li­gence in­dus­try. I’m a wife and mother of two en­er­getic boys, Anesu and Omari. I was born and bred in Joburg.

What was the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind Nilo­tiqa?

In grow­ing my own nat­u­ral hair for the past 15 years, I found my in­spi­ra­tion to cre­ate a nat­u­ral hair­care prod­uct line. Af­ter go­ing to sev­eral sa­lons and an end­less search for hair­care prod­ucts that would cater to my needs, it was clear that there was a huge gap in the mar­ket for pro­fes­sion­ally for­mu­lated prod­ucts for nat­u­ral hair. I, like many other women, strug­gled with ex­tremely dry hair. Af­ter fail­ing to find the right prod­ucts and ac­cess­ing knowl­edge on car­ing for my hair, I be­gan to do in­tense re­search and ex­per­i­men­ta­tion, us­ing nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents such as shea but­ter and av­o­cado oil for my skin and hair. Af­ter sev­eral years of re­search, for­mu­la­tions and prod­uct test­ing, we launched Nilo­tiqa, a hair­care range that is proudly made with or­ganic and nat­u­rally formed in­gre­di­ents to deeply mois­turise and nour­ish nat­u­ral hair.

What is your favourite prod­uct and why?

The Nilo­tiqa De­tan­gling Cream is a beau­ti­ful prod­uct. I find it ab­so­lutely fas­ci­nat­ing in the way it works. It de­tan­gles hair like noth­ing else. It leaves hair feel­ing crazy soft and dou­bles up as a mois­turiser. It also smells amaz­ing and makes me fall in love with my hair ev­ery time I use it. But then again, all our prod­ucts are amaz­ing.

How long has your busi­ness been in ex­is­tence for?

We started for­mu­lat­ing our prod­ucts in 2014 and launched our prod­uct lines in Fe­bru­ary 2016.

What sets your prod­ucts apart?

Be­sides the high qual­ity of the prod­ucts them­selves, all our in­gre­di­ents are nat­u­ral and are sourced from Africa. We fo­cus on the deep mois­ture of nat­u­ral hair, mean­ing our prod­ucts are specif­i­cally for­mu­lated to elim­i­nate the chal­lenge of dry hair. Most brands may claim that they mois­turise hair; Nilo­tiqa Hair Care does what it says – we truly hy­drate hair.

What is your vi­sion for your brand go­ing for­ward?

Our vi­sion is to have a re­tail and sa­lon base lo­cally, as well as in Africa and Europe.

Please give us your top three hair tips.

1. MOIS­TURE IS IM­POR­TANT We al­ways preach mois­ture at Nilo­tiqa. Our hair curl pat­tern does not al­low nat­u­ral oils to travel down the hair shaft, and there­fore needs us to add mois­ture often. Think of your hair as skin – it also needs to be mois­turised in or­der to look nour­ished.

2. DEEP CON­DI­TION OFTEN There are sev­eral meth­ods and tools to help re­tain mois­ture in your hair, start­ing with deep con­di­tion­ing. This does not only treat the sur­face of hair, but also deeply pen­e­trates the strands and nour­ishes be­tween the cu­ti­cles.

3. STAY AWAY FROM CHEM­I­CALLY LADEN PROD­UCTS

Stay away from re­lax­ers if you can. Avoid prod­ucts that al­ter the struc­ture of your nat­u­ral hair. Look for prod­ucts that use nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents and pro­mote hair strength, growth and health.

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