Those struggling to find a product that suits the specific needs of their hair.
Nosihle is a 29 year old business owner who completed her masters degree in Biotechnology (cum laude) at the Durban University of Technology. Nosihle grew up in a disadvantaged background in Mayville. In an environment were success was rare and education frowned at, she was fortunate to have a mother who believed in education so much that she wouldn't allow her to perform house chores in order to have time to study. Nosihle received a scholarship, which carried her all the way to her masters. Although she never identified business as her thing, she merely needed an opportunity for expression and that opportunity came when her sister wife, and now co-founder, started her hair journey. This marked the beginning of Get2Natural Beauty.
Get2Natural considers the varying characteristics that define hair; length, curl pattern, density, and porosity (i.e. the measure of how well an individuals hair absorbs moisture). And ass suchr innovation- porosity specific oils. This marked the beginning of Get2Natural Beauty.
What problem/s are you trying to address with your innovation?
Because African hair is challenging to manage with modern products and processes that can damage the hair making it lifeless, we have developed a series of products that will restore the natural beauty and health to African hair, as well as any hair type. The current market offers oils that are “one size fits all”, which we have seen doesn't work as every head is different. Our innovation therefore, is porosity specific oils and conditioners based on hair thickness.
What has been the toughest challenge/s to overcome in your innovation journey?
We didn't have any business background hence we had to "learn as we go", which meant making a lot of mistakes but the greatest challenge was getting the products market ready. This meant refining and updating the existing formulations such that they are compliant with South Africa's cosmetic standards. Following this was the stability and micro testing. These were both expensive and took time. Our current and main challenge is market access and all the commercialisation efforts required for products to get into and be trusted in the market.
Where do you see yourself and your innovation in 5 years’ time?
We have learned not to put the cart before the horse. Creating a firm foundation is important. Initially, we were happy to have a product but didn't know the necessary work needed for it to be market ready. This meant pulling back from most marketing efforts until all products fulfilled the standards and passed the tests. At this time there was no cash flow but we knew it was important to be done especially for the clients to trust the products.
What has been the biggest lesson so far?
The products will not only be available nationally but internationally as we will be exporting to the whole of Africa, Germany and the USA by the grace of God. We esteemed that the other brands we have in mind and have started working on would have been commercialised at least in our country. Personally, I envisage myself in my best physical, mental and emotional health, having financial freedom through a 6 figure salary and working in the completion of my moms dream house.
Take time to get the foundation solid. All processes must be in order, these include financial, admin and marketing. The strength of that foundation will determine how tall an empire you can build.
Edtea (The Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs) has been a blessing as they afforded us the refining of our products, however this would not have happened without DUT's involvement in encouraging us to apply, specifically The Entrepreneurial Desk & Centre and the Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. Our approach to both financial and technical support is an extension of the business' guiding principles, which is honesty and excellence. Being clear of our vision is essential even though the stats may disagree. We tell our story with confidence and convince funders of where we want to be. No one is not willing to support that.