Many of us with busy entrepreneurial lives, heavy travel schedules, and lots of late nights will probably have experienced the effects of tired puffy eyes, with increasingly dark circles and redness, exacerbated by staring at computer screens and smartphones all day long. However, one innovative South African entrepreneur, Kerryne Krause Neufeldt, thinks she has found the solution - eyeSlices®!
LoA spoke to Kerryne this month as part of our focus on women entrepreneurs in Africa’s wellness and beauty sector, to find out more….
"I think I am a born entrepreneur and marketer. I saw a gap in the market and believed that I had the ability to fill it."
What does your company do?
eyeSlices® is a multi-award winning product range and a global first in Cryo-Gel technology. These cooling and soothing eye gels target puffiness, dark circles, tiredness, redness and wrinkles, and are re-usable up to ten times! Made with natural and organic extracts from the Swiss Alps, they are guaranteed to leave you feeling relaxed, restored and revived within minutes! This lifestyle range is ideal for people that travel long distances, party hard, work late nights, experience seasonal allergies, or simply want a quick relief from lifestyle induced eye symptoms. The Company produces 3 ranges of products for distribution through Beauty Salons & Spas; Cosmetic Stores & Pharmacies; and currently exports from South Africa to over 20 countries.
What inspired you to start your company?
I think I am a born entrepreneur and marketer. I saw a gap in the market and believed that I had the ability to fill it. My first business, and business failure, was the importing of cosmetic skincare products into South Africa from Switzerland that had a globally patented technology behind them. This sparked my passion for technology as I could see what value technology delivered for the consumer, as well as the differentiating edge it gave this product range on the global markets. When I lost this business, I decided to try and develop my own product for the global markets that filled this gap I had identified, with a unique technology.
"After 8 years of research, prototyping, product and manufacturing development, the product eyeSlices® was eventually launched into the South African market in September 2006. The company is now exporting to more than 20 other countries including the USA, Middle East & Europe."
Why should anyone use your service or product?
eyeSlices® are a global first in cryogel technology (the only stable water based hydrogel in the world) – a dermal delivery system that slowly releases active ingredients and moisture into the skin. These cooling and soothing eye treatment pads target puffiness, dark circles, tiredness, redness & wrinkles within minutes and are re-usable. The products have undergone more than 10 years of research and development and the products are highly formulated, well tested, natural and nonirritating to the skin, deliver quick results (proven) and unique in the market.
Tell us a little about your team.
We are a small team that operate more like a family than a corporation (with unconditional love and conflict resolution). Regardless of the fact that we run on efficient systems and processes, we enjoy a very flat structure of leadership. Our team includes highly qualified individuals, semi-skilled factory staff, interns and casual workers who cross interact on a daily basis, impart and share skills in all directions, and work together as a team. We take pride in our working environment, great coffee, friendships and diversity (male, female, all cultures and ages from 19 to 49).
"The entrepreneurial journey is a tough one in any field, but technology or science based businesses seem to have additional challenges that mean you need perseverance, tenacity, resourcefulness and a fundamental belief in oneself in order to stay the course."
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
I am a South African born entrepreneur with a passion for innovation, brand building and globalization. My first business at the age of 23 led me to stumble upon a gap in the global market and venture out to develop and create my own product innovation for export. With a global license for a unique polymer technology from the CSIR only developed to laboratory scale, I began the Applied Research & Development for this new product idea in 1999. After 8 years of research, prototyping, product and manufacturing development, the product eyeSlices® was eventually launched into the South African market in September 2006. The company is now exporting to more than 20 other countries including the USA, Middle East & Europe.
The biggest challenge has been the process of taking a technology-based idea from concept to commercialization through all the various stages of development and crossing all the chasms each stage presented in a developing country. The lack of skills, infrastructure, and advanced manufacturing capabilities in South Africa has made the process extremely long and difficult. The entrepreneurial journey is a tough one in any field, but technology or science based businesses seem to have additional challenges that mean you need perseverance, tenacity, resourcefulness and a fundamental belief in oneself in order to stay the course. The journey has been a mix of highs and lows, successes and obstacles, faith and fear, intense learning and personal growth, management and leadership and a very step-by-step approach. I wouldn’t change a thing! Now we are able to mentor other entrepreneurs on the journey and help them to navigate the process a little easier.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
To build a global brand! Get eyeSlices into every fridge in the world :) by opening up new markets, developing new products and increasing sales. One day I hope to sell the Company to a P&G and spend the rest of my life helping other entrepreneurs navigate the same journey!
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
I get an absolute thrill out of being an entrepreneur especially:
- taking a product from idea to market and seeing every stage of it's development and "birth"
- the creative and innovation process
- navigating the obstacles and challenges
- the fact that every day is different
- the people you get to meet and places you get to visit
- the fun in building a global brand
- living one's purpose (this is what I was born to do)
- being in control of my own day and destiny
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Build strong foundations, dot as many of your i’s and cross your t’s, always keeping the end goal in mind. Do everything from the start as if you were that global corporation, meaning with excellence, high standards, good corporate governance and integrity! Then keep walking and never give up!
Contact or follow eyeSlices®
Why LoA loves it….
Many successful entrepreneurs will talk about the need for perseverance when the going gets tough on any entrepreneurial journey, and this is certainly one trait that Kerryne Krause Neufeldt has in large quantities. Having spent years developing, testing and prototyping innovative new beauty and wellness products, and having experienced many challenges along the way that would have deterred many others, she has created a truly world-class product with eyeSlices. The fact that she is now building a successful brand, and already exporting to more than 20 countries, is testimony to her belief in herself and her products, delivering something new and exciting to the marketplace. Kerryne and her eyeSlices brand are names to watch out for in the future! --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa