The Durban University of Technology (DUT) strives itself on improving the life chances and aspirations of student entrepreneurs and helping them to reach their maximum potential.
Two budding entrepreneurs, Phumelele Khumalo and Nosihle Dlamini are making DUT proud with their exciting new range of ‘Proudly South African’ haircare and skincare products.
The dynamic, business savvy duo saw a gap in the South African hair market and decided to look at quality natural products that fulfilled and satisfied the needs and goals for improving the health and appearance of African kinky hair.
Their company which is called Get2Natural was formed to create products that would help improve the appearance and function of problem hair, skin and nails in an effort to encourage both men and (especially) women to embrace their natural beauty.
Khumalo, who has a Diploma in Management and Dlamini, a Masters graduate in Biotechnology, are a formidable team that started with just mixing their own concoctions and people started noticing a difference in their hair and began asking what products they were using.
“We both realised there is a demand for our product and so we just started with one hair oil that people started buying and then we began advertising through our WhatsApp and the brand started growing. We then decided we needed to do proper branding, marketing and packaging. We now have 14 products which are currently undergoing proper laboratory testing measures to make them more refined,” they added.
For them, they have now decided to use the model of an international cosmetic brand and use independent agents and distributors to sell their products.
“The reason behind us going this route is because there is a lot of competitive brands on the shelves so in this way there will be more demand for our products,” said Dlamini.
However, there are some of the challenges they have gone through while building their business. Apart from having to learn to run a business for the first time, one of the challenges for them has been learning to be a ‘jack of all trades’ as they are responsible for all the operations of the business. This includes marketing, production, administration and bookkeeping.
“The inability to produce products in large quantities due to inadequate instrumentation is also a hurdle and hinders our ability to market at a desirable large scale for concerns of not meeting target market,” they added.
Despite the challenges, the duo are grateful to have the support and mentorship of Dr Raymond Mossie, Sazi Gcume of Zizi Training, as well as the partnership of the Durban University of Technology (DUT) Entrepreneurial Centre and Desk headed by Nonhlanhla Khanyile and the Centre for Social Entrepreneurship headed by Dr Poppet Pillay.
Also, the innovative pair have recently participated in the GCIP-SA programme, which is part of a global initiative aimed at promoting clean technology innovation and supporting entrepreneurs in growing their SMMEs and start-ups into viable, investment-ready businesses. Out of 44 participants, they were selected as the runner ups, receiving R60 000 in cash and an Overseas trip worth R75 000 as means to penetrate international markets which is their long term goal.
Their advice to future DUT budding entrepreneurs is that it is important to get that educational background as it is a foundation if one is taking the entrepreneurial route.
If anyone is keen to buy their products, they can go to online through their website: www.get2natural.co.za.
Pictured: Phumelele Khumalo and Nosihle Dlamini.
By Waheeda Peters