Nubian Nature is the entrepreneurial creation of founder Shereen Makhanye, whose journey to find products that are not harmful to use on African hair led her to harness the power of the continent’s natural ingredients to find a solution. Her company and its products are the showcase for her genuine passion for Africa, science, hair and all things natural and it's been her life dream to share the experience and richness of Africa with Africans and the rest of world.
LoA spoke to Shereen about her vision for Nubian Nature and her dreams for the future.
What does your company do?
Nubian Nature is a Premium South African natural hair-care range, created by an African woman for African hair from natural and/or organic exotic African indigenous crops. Our unique combinations are inspired by African crops that are rich in beautifying nutrients, consciously sourced and responsibly harvested. By harnessing these crops we are able to capture the earthy goodness of nature whilst providing high quality products that give an authentic African Experience.
Because of the nature of African hair, we've developed products that Moisturize, Strengthen and Nourish and promote healthy hair that grows. Our entire hair care range is free of alcohol, paraben, sulfates, mineral oil, petroleum and is produced without cruelty to animals, so as to treat you and the earth with the respect you deserve. Healthy Hair Naturally!
"I'm passionate about Africa, science, hair and all things natural and it's been my life dream to share the experience and richness of Africa with Africans and the rest of world. I believe that Africa is Mother Nature's home."
What inspired you to start your company?
In 2012, I had decided to return natural and keep my hair chemical free. I experienced a struggle in sourcing local natural African hair care products. The led to an expensive research exercise to find out more about the creation of products that are not harmful to use on African hair. That was my main driver to starting Nubian Nature. I'm also passionate about Africa, science, hair and all things natural and it's been my life dream to share the experience and richness of Africa with Africans and the rest of world. I believe that Africa is Mother Nature's home.
My love for hair and science stems from having grown up and being known as her local township’s resident stylist, and my dream of one day becoming a Scientist. As life would have it, my dream fell by the way side and I was steered towards the corporate world. In the corporate world I was fortunate to cross paths with people whose fate deliberately brought them onto my path. My connection with these individuals helped connect the dots and my love for hair and science was set alight. As they say, the rest is history.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
1. Nubian Nature is a high quality product made from high quality ingredients that produces actual results;
2. Our products are made with your safety in mind. Our products are free of alcohol, paraben, sulfates, mineral oil, petroleum and produced without cruelty to animals;
3. Healthy hair that is manageable is inevitable when using Nubian Nature products. Our products nourish both the hair and the scalp, help to stimulate new growth, and prevent breakage;
4. When you buy Nubian Nature products, you support a small company with high values.
"Our unique combinations are inspired by African crops that are rich in beautifying nutrients, consciously sourced and responsibly harvested. By harnessing these crops we are able to capture the earthy goodness of nature whilst providing high quality products that give an authentic African Experience."
Tell us a little about your team
The Nubian Nature team consists of myself, the Founder/CEO & Technical Creator; my husband who is Director of Operations; and my sister who handles all the administration. This team is involved in the business on a permanent day-to-day basis. As part of our team, we also have two agents that do the marketing and sales of the products. We've also partnered with two distribution companies to distribute our products into Zimbabwe, Mozambique and soon to Kenya.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from a an entrepreneurial background?
My first real entrepreneurial experience started with the establishment of Nubian Nature in April 2013. The business started as a partnership but as they always say "Friendship and Partnerships don't mix". I parted with my business partner and became the sole owner in December 2013. Because there were no shareholder agreements in place to protect the interests of the business, the business was left vulnerable. I had an option of either closing down or continuing. Fortunately the latter prevailed. It took months to recover from the separation. I had to think of creative ways to reinvent the business. In September 2014, I did a complete overhaul, from changing formulations to changing of branding aesthetic to give the brand a whole new identity. I was fully employed in the corporate world during this time. However, the business was not yielding the desired results because my focus was split between corporate work and the business. I knew though that I could not expect full time results when putting in part-time work. So in September 2015, I finally took a leap of faith and left the corporate world to fully concentrate on Nubian Nature. I'm slowly learning that 8-5 does not exist in the world of entrepreneurship. Actually, time does not exist at all. No night or day. You learn to exist in the moment and marvel in it.
"I'm slowly learning that 8-5 does not exist in the world of entrepreneurship. Actually, time does not exist at all. No night or day. You learn to exist in the moment and marvel in it."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
We plan on improving earnings by aggressively promoting the brand locally. We intend to launch the rest of our range and extend the range to include Bath and Body products. We also plan on venturing into more African Countries, Europe and the US. Our vision is that Nubian Nature should to be the number 1 cosmetics brand in Africa and the most recommended brand internationally.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
I'd like to refer to myself as a Creator-preneur. I get to dream with my eyes open and create without any restrictions. And to have people buy into my creations and keep coming back for more is the most fulfilling.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give other women looking to start up?
If you have an idea you believe in, just start. There's no secret or trick to it. The universe is conspiring on your behalf, all you need to do is show up with the best of yourself.
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Why LOA loves it....
Being an entrepreneur can be tough at times, and being resourceful and determined to succeed are definitely key attributes for future success. Shereen Makhanye is one entrepreneur on a mission to create not only a successful and proudly African company and brand, but to find solutions to hair-care problems that will enhance the lives of African women who want to look and feel good, whilst making purchasing decisions that are kind to the environment. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa