Over the past few years, beauty has become a multi-billion dollar industry. Internationally, beauty bosses like Rihanna, Pat Mcgrath, Emily Weiss, and Kylie Jenner have collectively grossed a small fortune selling creams, eyeshadows, highlighters and lip kits.
On the African continent, the emergence of beauty entrepreneurs is on the rise, so we decided to reach out to Zimbabwean businesswoman, Carol Nyazika of beauty brand Ndanaka.
GLAMOUR: You have quite an impressive resume and have done and quite a couple things. In all these things you do, the business as well as women empowerment, what is your ultimate goal or vision?
CAROL NYAZIKA: I’ve always wanted to leave a legacy. A legacy that is rooted in the empowerment of African women. The vision behind all my entrepreneurial ventures has been to share the stories of African women and not have the West dictate what beauty and success means to us. Through Ndanaka, I want to create beauty products that make Africans feel authentically confident in who they are. I also want my children to be proud of my hard work and understand the value of the legacy that I will leave for them. I want them to have a strong starting point in life and have more options than I did when I was growing up.
G: You moved back to Zimbabwe in 2016. Most people would think that with what the country has been through it would be hard for an entrepreneur. What informed your decision to move back?
CN: Although I was discouraged by the economic situation, I was encouraged by my desire to go back home because of the passion that I have for my country. Initially, I was offered a job that created a soft landing for my first 6 months there but I quickly saw many opportunities within the country and embarked on my entrepreneurship journey.
Many people questioned why I was starting a business in Zim and even more doubted that manufacturing creams and oils would generate a sustainable income. But, I knew that people wanted to find a local product that was affordable, manufactured to a high standard and could effectively replace their current skincare range. With the current economic turmoil, people couldn’t afford to leave the country to purchase their skincare products and international brands were becoming too expensive to import. Ndanaka came in at the right time.
G: What has been the hardest thing about growing Ndanaka?
CN: The hardest thing has been the economic instability in Zimbabwe. I import ingredients and packaging from different countries so I have to buy forex on the black market at high rates. For example, if I am importing USD$100 ingredients, I will have to purchase cash through the black market because I can not access the hard currency from the local banks due to the cash shortage. This requires ingenuity in accessing hard cash through different methods and sources. Unfortunately this means that every time the rate fluctuates, the company experiences losses, or responds by increasing prices or marketing to new markets in order to survive.
As a business you have to balance the two; staying in business by not running at a loss and setting prices that are attractive to your market. I have to make sure that I don’t continuously increase the price because customers will move to a competitive brand that they can afford.
This has been the biggest challenge in running Ndanaka but fortunately, running a small brand makes the decision making process to adapt to the current situation quicker.
G: What tips would you give an aspiring entrepreneur?
CN: Build a database of potential customers, partners and leads. Digital businesses are the future and a database is crucial for growth. Being able to scale your business is going to be dependant on the online relationship that you create with your customers. Learn to automate your business and build systems.
Look out for part two with Carol Nyazika next week.