Many women entrepreneurs are inspired to start their businesses as a result of trying to solve a particular problem or challenge as consumers. In the case of entrepreneur Zodidi Gaseb, her brand African Naturals, was created to find a natural but effective solution to great hair and skin health.
LoA found at more about this proudly Namibian business this month whilst hosting the Lioness Lean event in Windhoek.
What does your company do?
African Naturals is a Namibian based ethnic hair and skin care line and an initiative dedicated to the cultural preservation of the African aesthetic. We are passionate about the healing and restorative powers of natural products and essential oils. We pride ourselves on combining the best ingredients that nature has to offer in order to achieve hair health, whilst celebrating Africa’s rich heritage. All our products are 100% natural and free of artificial ingredients such as mineral oil, synthetic preservatives, parabens, artificial fragrances, sulphates and animal ingredients. African Naturals is a locally crafted, self-love collection of hand-made skin and hair products made with a unique blend of organic, plant-based, herbal and African ingredients.
“African Naturals is a locally crafted, self-love collection of hand-made skin and hair products made with a unique blend of organic, plant-based, herbal and African ingredients.”
What inspired you to start your company?
My daughter wanted to put weaves in her hair because she started hating her real hair, in solidarity, I cut my hair and didn't wear weaves or wigs so we could go into this journey of self-love together. I then realized that there are very few products for natural ethnic hair and thus decided to do a ton of research and make my own. We've used my products ever since that day.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
Sharing the story of how it started as well as paying special attention to each and every customer. I don't just sell the products; we talk about how to better grow healthy hair and improve your lifestyle and each customer has personal access to me for tips and advice on hair.
“All our products are 100% natural and free of artificial ingredients such as mineral oil, synthetic preservatives, parabens, artificial fragrances, sulphates and animal ingredients.”
Tell us a little about your team
Michelle Sibeso, also known as Mitch. One of your new African Naturals interns. She's a creative person who enjoys making things with her hands, like clothes and artsy things. She has a qualification in Banking Finance & Credit and hopes to be an Investment Banker someday and a fashion designer as well.
Lesheni is a 24-year-old Medical school graduate with a bachelor's in Clinical Medicine and has a great interest in neuroscience. Big natural hair aficionado, music and coffee connoisseur and lover of all things floral. She is really just your average paper cut survivor with a global dream who will be greatly available and at your service here at African Naturals with excitement.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
I am an entrepreneur who is passionate about producing natural hair & body products. I conceptualize my own well researched formulas and have been producing since 2015. I am also the founder of the Natural Hair & Beauty Expo Namibia, an alumni for the IVLP programme, TEDx Talks Windhoek, a speaker for the Global Media Forum and an image activist who encourages fellow women entrepreneurs to build legacies. African Naturals started as a social project and eventually ventured into products as we were working on healthier scalps and skin as well as growing hair. African Naturals is a local Namibian crafted, natural collection of hand-made body and hair products, with a unique blend of plant-based, herbal, and African ingredients.
“We are passionate about the healing and restorative powers of natural products and essential oils.”
“We pride ourselves on combining the best ingredients that nature has to offer in order to achieve hair health, whilst celebrating Africa’s rich heritage.”
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
To grow so successfully so I can supply to stores all over the world and to be able to give young black women a place to grow and where I can mentor them. Lastly, I would love to leave a legacy and have an impact in my country's economy.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Making products. I can literally stay up all night mixing up products. I also love how my products change people’s skin and hair for the better and how my customers are so loyal to the brand.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Save up as much as you can and network like your life depends on it. Tap into your network and finally, go to as many workshops as you can to brush up on your business knowledge. Always remember why you started when things get tough.
Contact or follow African Naturals
Why LoA loves it….
Finding a solution to a personal challenge is always a good starting point for a business. For Zodidi Gaseb, her daughter’s hair challenges were the inspiration for the creation of a natural range of hair and skin care products that today are also helping others to achieve beautiful, natural, healthy hair and skin each day. Zodidi harnesses her passion for problem solving to create a highly effective brand and range of products that are making her customers feel good each day. She is a great example of an entrepreneur creating world class products that are proudly African to meet the needs of her local customers. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and ceo of Lionesses of Africa