Launching any hair and skincare range is challenging, and going into mainstream retail even more so. But for South African entrepreneur, Thokozile Mangwiro, founder of the Nilotiqa Hair Care Range, it is the next exciting step on what has already been a fascinating entrepreneurial journey.
The Nilotiqa Hair Care Range of products does what it promises, providing customers with a natural and highly effective solution to creating really deep moisture for the hair. The products are specifically created for African hair, and according to Thokozile, the Nilotiqa Hair Care Range never lets customers down when they need help the most. The company prides itself on the fact that Nilotiqa Hair Care is 100% natural in its product formulation; and that it is a 100% black owned company.
Talking about the launch into mainstream retail sales with Clicks Retail Stores, Thokozile says:
“It is with immense pride and an unmatched thrill that we share with you Nilotiqa’s next chapter. It has been a demanding start to our journey with tireless, grueling hours that really put us to the test. All of it has proven to have been worthwhile as we are proud to announce that Nilotiqa is now available at Clicks outlets nationwide. Clicks has shown belief in our products and has taken it upon themselves to help us share our secret with South Africa and the world.”
Thokozile is now appealing to customers in the market place to support Nilotiqa Hair Care and to really put its products to the test on any dry hair challenge they might have. Customers are encouraged to give input and feedback on the range, and on the type of results achieved. By giving such feedback, the Nilotiqa team can continue to improve the product range and the customer experience.
In terms of founder Thokozile Mangwiro’s entrepreneurial journey, it has been an interesting and highly personal one. She calls herself an ‘Unintentional Entrepreneur’ as she didn’t originally set out to build a business and a retail brand. She got her Master’s degree in information and communications technology from the University of South Africa in 2013, having earlier received a Bachelor’s in IT and web development from Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria. She worked for eight years in database administration, analysis, and the intelligence industry and had no plans to change course until a personal need, a frustration really, led her to start Nilotiqa.
She says, “Near the end of high school, I began keeping my hair natural. I struggled for a long time, like many other women, with extremely dry hair and skin. After a seemingly endless search for locally produced products, it was clear there was a huge gap in the market for professionally formulated products made for natural hair. I had no experience as an entrepreneur but always had an interest in business. And I’ve always been a high performer so I thought I might as well step out of corporate and be a high performer for myself.”
Earlier this year, Thokozile was one of the entrepreneurs selected to pitch her products on Shark Tank in South Africa on the M-Net DSTV network. Watch her in action here.
She commented, ”My love for Africa is very deep and I felt I was not creating anything that contributed to it. It is in the formulation of my products and the response of clients that I have found my entrepreneurial spirit. It is in my desire to want to create products that are impact driven, that will fuel this spirit."
In terms of future plans and aspirations for the company, Thokozile says:
“Our vision is big but very clear. We have beautiful products to showcase to the world. We believe that our products sell themselves, therefore the goal is to get our products into as many hands as possible, as we build trust with our customers. It is about the feel of the product, the scent, and the promise of good, healthy natural skin and hair care. Over the next few years we would like to focus on getting the products into as many African countries as possible. We have also picked up on the interest in creating products according to customer needs – this will open doors to innovative ways of creating additional natural products that customers want. In 10 years’ time, we would want to be a distinct international brand that maintains high standards of natural sustainable products that promote healthy hair and skin. The emphasis at the moment is on deeply moisturizing properties; and what our brand will be synonymous for.