Black Women across the world have struggled with finding the best products that suit the texture of their hair. Natural black hair is known to be coarse, hard and expensive to maintain. Women have gone through this struggle for many years going back as far as 1400. But no more worries for our beautiful African crowns as Thokozile Mangwiro has come up with a solution. Thokozile Mangwiro Founder of NILOTIQA speaks to us about how she came up with her Natural Hair Products.
When & why did you start the business?
“It is in growing her own natural hair for the past 15 years that Thokozile Mangwiro found her inspiration to create a natural hair care product line. After going to several salons and an endless search of locally produced products that truly work for Afro natural hair, it was clear that there was a HUGE gap in the market for professionally formulated products for natural hair. Thokozile, like many other women, struggled with extremely dry hair. This and the lack of knowledge led to intense research and experimentation of natural ingredients such as Shea butter and avocado oil for skin and hair.
After several years of research, formulations and product testing, Thokozile launched Nilotiqa in 2016, a line of products that are proudly made with organic and naturally formed ingredients to deeply moisturize and nourish hair.”
What measures have you put in place to ensure sustainability of your business?
We focus on specific pillars to ensure that our company continues to grow:
- We are building the brand with purpose; an African brand with African sources ingredients. We are working towards using these raw materials that are found in our products to support the communities that we harness them from.
- Building an African brand for world distribution. The quality of our products surpasses direct competitors that have been in the market for years. We are focused on our growth strategy as we know that if we grow as a business, we will be able to sustain our selves and those we employ and will employ.
- Our focus on our customers and growing our customer base is a very exciting challenge for us. We love engaging with them, taking care of them and asking them to grow with us as a brand. They are the most important entity to our business.
Given the type of industry you are in, what is your typical day like?
My days begin very early with a run at 6:00am (now 5:30 in summer) and a breakfast/Coffee to make me human again!
Days are not all the same. As a mom, I drop off the kids and it either meetings and admin in the mornings and the focus on production and managing deliveries throughout the day. Some days are more frantic than others of course, but it is all amount trying to solve every problem that may come down the line.
Financial backing for your business or self-funding?
We are self-funded and in pursuit of financial backing.
Do you ever regret some placements?
Product placements? Not regret because I believe every decision has a learning. We have placed products in places that did not have the correct clientele and had to rectify it immediately.
What is your view on entrepreneurship in South Africa/ Africa?
From several platforms and engagements I have attended, I have realised that entrepreneurship is too glorified in South Africa. In the rest of Africa, it is all about getting the work done… getting the sales and taking care of your customer. Everything else will follow. The business will grow, even if it takes time.
Some of the influential people you look up to?
- Khanyi Dhlomo from Ndalo Media
- Tara Fela-Durotoye from House of Tara
- Juliana Rotich from Ushahidi
I see myself in these women and look forward to shaking up the world like they have.
Hard lesson learned in business?
Our latest partnering and funding lesson has been by far very difficult for us. As we recover, we now understand that it is important to focus on a Strategy that we have laid out and is working.
Any other business investments you would like to share?
Definitely re-invest in your business. Ensure that you establish financial and human resource systems that will maintain consistency to the business. Invest in self-growth. No business will grow if the owner does not take the time to grow themselves.
Work life balance?
I rely heavily on family support. Without it, there is no way of making the work life balance work. I am very grateful for this.
A brief history: 1400-1900 of African Women’s Hair
In the 1400s and 1500s there were all kinds of beautiful hairstyles. African women had the right kind of oils and combs to do them. Some took hours, some even took days. Only the mad and the mourning did not do their hair. No one in America sold the palm oil or the right kind of combs. So women had to make do with butter and bacon grease and the carding combs of sheep.- Abagond
The pride of Afro-textured hair was passed down since pre-colonial Africa where natural Afro hairstyles were used to define status and identity.The head female in the household was responsible for grooming the hair of her family. Inheriting and mastering the craft of intricate designs and styles was highly significant and therefore such practices of proper grooming were taught and passed down to her daughters. It was pretty standard for communal grooming to take place in the form of social events, where women would socialize and bond with other women and their families while sharing styling techniques. Unlike today, hair styling was not a paid service, but was done with love and devotion.- InGlob
Purchase your very own hamper of NILOTIQA online on https://nilotiqa.com/