Carol Nyazika: Ndanaka is not just a beauty brand, it’s a lifestyle brand

We last spoke to Carol Nyazika 10 months ago, when she was still in the process of launching Ndanaka. Ndanaka is an au-natural lifestyle brand with products predominantly from Zimbabwe and other African countries. It brings together a variety of beauty elements and infuses them into one. Hence their tag line, A Fusion of Beauty.

Revisiting our last sit down this is what she had to say about it.


How was the seed planted?

I started Ndanaka in 2011 when people were not really talking about natural products. Ndanaka started as a lifestyle blog and YouTube channel that promotes natural skin and hair care.

I was suffering from dry skin and my mothers skin was breaking out due to menopause. All the products she was using were not working for her, so I started mixing up a few ingredients that she could try. I then trained as a formulator and are now qualified to create products.


How did the name, Ndanaka, come about?

I gave my brand a Shona name because there are so many products with either French or foreign names we can hardly pronounce but we learn to. The word or statement, Ndanaka, has several translations and can mean ‘I am beautiful’ or in slang, ‘I’m good now’.


Fast forward to 2017…

Ndanaka was launched in January and it took four weeks. The process included: formulation, procurement, manufacturing, packaging, marketing and eventually making it available to the public.


What attracted you to this industry?

My initial drive and motivation was seeing my mothers confidence return when she felt beautiful and happy with her appearance.  Later on, my mum would say, “You keep running away and going into other industries and even though you excel in those, you are not using your God given gift”.

Before, I was scared of entering the beauty industry because of the labels that sometimes come with it, but eventually I decided to give it a go. God gives us the power to profit, so I believe that now I am using my God given gift.


How was it like leaving your full time job to start a business in a struggling economy?

It’s interesting and the economy pushes you a bit more because now you are literally eating what you kill. I have nothing to fall back on so I have to learn to  budget  and also work very hard to generate sales. But, it is not only about me, but our service providers as well.

Even though the economy is struggling, we are forward thinking and putting sustainable structures in place. Structures that cover our cost to meet demand. The company is self-funded. Like any business our profits are still going back into the business and we are grateful that we have managed to increase our profit every month ever since we started. We work from home, where we have a work station or lab and a garage that we converted into a storage.

Because I am a trained formulator, I make my own products. It is therefore easier to come up with new products that our clients require or ask us to make . We started off with four products and we now have seven.


How has the market responded to your brand?


The response has been overwhelming. We started selling on the 28th of January, since then it’s been a whirlwind. The demand is growing within Zimbabwe and other countries like Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. In our first week of operation, we sold out in four days and our first retailer sold out in the first week.

We are now currently in three retail shops and working to increase our presence across the country and into different markets. We aim to maintain good quality products as we continuously build, evolve and grow.


What challenges have you faced with the launch of Ndanaka?

Not meeting demand. However, we started taking this into consideration when pricing and formulating our products. At the end of the day we aim to provide an affordable brand because we understand our vision and goals.

Another setback is packaging. We are still not where we want to be but it is all a work in progress and we understand that.

With the issue of unavailability of cash in Zimbabwe, how are you managing to run your business?

We have all methods of payment –  most people pay cash, our second biggest method of payment is Ecocash (a mobile money transfer powered by Econet), swipe then transfers.

We make sure we have nothing to hold our customers back from purchasing our products.  We work with what we have, always searching for a solution and not letting the current hardships set us back.


How does your brand support the Zimbabwean economy?

Besides paying my taxes, I try to work with Zimbabwean companies and service providers as much as I can. Printing and graphic design is done locally. Some of my ingredients are sourced in rural Zimbabwe, therefore creating jobs.  I am also pushing for my brand to be recognised internationally as a Zimbabwean brand.


What personal traits are necessary to run a business like Ndanaka?

  1. Resilience
  2. Confidence in one’s product
  3. Ability to constantly evolve
  4. Good listening skills
  5. A good support system
  6. Be good at delegating
  7. Ability to take criticism
  8.  A hunger to learn


What advice would you give to your younger self?

  1. Just start – figure it out as you go.  Have a skeleton and add flesh as you progress.
  2. Do not be afraid to ask. Be humble enough to ask for help and its okay if you dont know.
  3. Be curious about everything.
  4. Always have a contingency plan.
  5. Be resilient. People will always say something about you. Don’t take it personal. Feel your feelings – feel challenged, sad but move on- keep going.
  6. Try and be authentic – do what comes naturally to you.
  7. Try and be supportive of others.
  8. Put the work in and do what it takes to build your brand with integrity.
  9. Have a contract for everyone. Things change, people change and situations change.
  10. Operate as a business not an individual. When you respect your brand people will also respect it.


What is your favorite African lifestyle brand?

Let us know more here


Carol Nyazika: It doesn’t matter if others don’t believe in your dreams

Moving back home was a strategic decision for Carol Nyazika, founder of African Women Awards (AWA) and the founder of Ndanaka. SLA contributor Glenda Makumbe met up with 27-year-old Carol Nyazika just a day before she travelled to South Africa. Carol has been based in the UK for the past 10 years but just recently moved back to Zimbabwe.

She studied social work at Sunderland University, is a trained organic skin care formulator and is very passionate about women in business. Carol credits her passion to her very ambitious female family members.

In this chat with Glenda, Carol shared the reason behind giving her blog a Shona name and how she founded her own version of Black Girls Rock, the African Women Awards.

Let’s talk about Ndanaka. What is it and how did it come about?

I started Ndanaka in 2011 when people were not really talking about natural products. Ndanaka started as a lifestyle blog that promotes natural skin and hair care. I was suffering from dry skin and my mother was also going through a phase where her skin was breaking out and all the products she was using were not working for her. I started mixing up a few things for her that she could try. I am actually a trained formulator. So, creating was just me putting what I learnt to practice.

I gave my brand a Shona name because there are so many products out there with either French or foreign names.  We can hardly pronounce them but we learn to. So, I knew that there was no harm in giving my brand a Shona name and to be authentic about it. The word Ndanaka has several translations and can mean “I am beautiful” or in slang, “I’m good“.

What challenges have you faced as a black African woman living abroad?

I relocated to Zimbabwe in April this year.  That was a very strategic move for me, to grow Ndanaka and be fully present to grow AWA.

As a black African woman living in Newcastle, I realized at the time that there were not many black people. Therefore, it was not easy to get access to things like makeup or good salons that met the needs of the black woman. Many people had to go to Leeds or London to access such things.

Tell me about African Women Awards (AWA). How and when did it start?

Ndanaka came before AWA and the plans for Ndanaka  led to AWA. After looking at Black Girls Rock and the BET awards, I realized that we could not narrate our own stories as Africans and we did not celebrate each other on a continental level. The only other awards ceremony, within Africa, that successfully do this are the MAMA’s.I decided we needed something for the African continent that would recognise all the brands, names and phenomenal work being done.

Zimbabwe is the pilot for AWA and the awards are in their second year. Next year, we will be moving to a different country. Therefore, each country has an opportunity to host the African Women Awards.



What setbacks have you faced, especially with AWA?

People thinking I was a bit too ambitious because they just could not see my vision. I  had someone tell me that I was better off having a TV show where I just interview the women.

Lisa Chiriseri understood my vision and joined me on this journey that we are now on. A lot of people were not confident in AWA as it was something new but now, the confidence that people have in the initiative is amazing, We have moved from the venue that we hosted in last year to a much bigger venue this year. We had embassies present that represented the women who were nominated from their country and accepted the award on behalf of the winner who wasn’t in attendance. The minister of women and gender was also present.

Is there anything in your educational background that helps in managing your business?

I think my background in social work really gives me a head start on how to read people. I can pick up on body language and that is something thats essential in business.

How do you balance your time between running Ndanaka and AWA?

It’s actually three things that take my time, Ndanaka, AWA and my 9-5 job (Get Cash). I have an amazing team at both Get Cash and AWA. You need people to help you execute goals and a strong team to hold you accountable.

There’s also a business balance between Lisa Chiriseri and I. She is the co-founder of AWA. That has also helped tremendously.

Which African woman has had the strongest influence on you?

My mother, she has taught me so much about life and has helped mold me into the person that I am today. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, only because she is the first female president.

Natalie Jabangwi of Ecocash, a money transfer mobile application in Zimbabwe. Mo Abudu of Ebony Life Television and of course, most of last year’s AWA’s nominees.

With so many distracting influences, how do you stay true to yourself?

At times, you do not even realise that you are being influenced but I have a lot of people who keep me accountable. I find balance through that and they keep me in check.

What work ethic is important to you?


You can be motivated for a while, but it’s only with discipline that you can accomplish anything.

What should we look forward to from you in the next five years?

Ndanaka will be recognised across the continent.

AWA will be a household name and internationally recognised.

Married with little Carols, maybe.

Lastly, three words to live by?

I will use a phrase instead, “It’s not over until you are dead.” It’s never too late for a lot of things. Just don’t stop

Want to see women you know featured on SLA? Tell us what amazing things women are doing in your communities here.