When Princess Okereke founded Zapi Botanics she wanted to make a difference in the hair care sector by providing organic hair products.
We all know that the hair care industry is filled with products containing toxic ingredients and chemicals that are not only harmful to the hair and scalp but are ecologically unfriendly.
Zapi Botanics was created with a single goal- to provide hair products with no harmful ingredients. Zapi Botanics is gathering pace as the go-to place for Natural Hair Care in Nigeria.
They also offer advice and information to ladies starting their natural hair journey. Princess Okereke preaches organic health for body and hair, her gorgeous natural hair is also a proof of her love for all things organic.
To all our fro' sisters, have a mind of your own, make hairstyles that work for you, moisturize - Zapi Botanics Click To Tweet
How did Zapi Botanics begin?
Zapi Botanics was a long-term drive I had when I was very young. It was an ambition I picked up from my grandmother who loved everything natural. Even at her old age, she would mix up natural ingredients and apply on her body and skin.
At 78, her skin was healthy and did not sag, her hair surprisingly did not thin out. Her life was a living proof of how going organic can be beneficial in the long run.
I decided to adopt that lifestyle. In 2015 I came up with a brand name, I also cut my texturized hair and began using my products first on my hair.
What do you think about the demand for Organic Skincare products in Nigeria? What propelled its rise?
I think we began to realize that we need to love ourselves. Funny though, the first maker of relaxer was a black man named Morgan who tested the product on his dog and realized it straightened his dog’s hair. Products tested on animals cannot be said to be all safe.
We have more hair losses amongst young women, a lot of women are getting unnaturally bald. We see lots of hair and scalp issues in this line of business.
I think people are beginning to realize that these chemicals put in hair products are detrimental to our health. Hence the switch to Organic skincare products
What makes Zapi Botanics different?
Zapi Botanics started because of our love for plant and Ecology. We decided to come up with a brand that is plant-based because we understand how important it is to go green and it’s a good way to help our environment.
We take our time to source for our materials both in and out of Nigeria to ensure they are excellent. Our brand doesn’t end when our products are purchased, We provide our customers with post-purchase treatment and guides on how to use our products.
We give them tips and tricks on how to navigate their hair journey, we are only satisfied when our customers are truly satisfied with our services.
In 2016, the beauty and skincare industry was valued at $620 million by Euro monitor, how much of this share has been leveraged by Nigerians?
There’s a myth about Nigerian made products that are being tackled right now all over the country. People may talk about their loyalty to Nigerian Made Brands but few actually stick to their word and purchase products solely made in Nigeria.
People still feel Products made outside has superior Quality. This has hampered the amount of share accrued by our brands in this Industry.
How easy has it been to convince people of the authenticity of your product seeing that they are formulated in Nigeria?
Based on my reply to the previous question, it has been hard to break into the Nigerian market. We have to do a lot of marketing, promotions, and giveaways.
Breaking into the market wasn’t easy, but when I started, I came up with a plan to use my formulated products to style ladies hair. I learned to style, I used my products too on my hair and whenever people see my hair and those of my clients, I refer them to my productsA lot of Brands fade because they couldn’t keep up with the changing times - Zapi Botanics Click To Tweet
How are new African hair care products competing with mainstream western brands that have championed the African market for years?
A lot of Brands faded because they couldn’t keep up with the changing times. People began to demand moisturizers instead of petroleum-based products and these brands couldn’t adapt to this change in demand.
Still, new products are slowly creeping in and competing with the famous western brands in the market space.
How does your brand, Zapi Botanics incorporate the unique hair care requirements of the African woman?
Zapi Botanics pays special attention to the needs of African hair. Our curly hair pattern makes it harder for our hair to get moisturized, our formulations works great for Kinky Hair.
Our Chief ingredients are suited to the African environment. The type4 hair and type 3C hair pattern does not allow the natural hair oil to travel down quickly so our products are loaded with ingredients that make it easier for moisture to be locked in.
Tell us about some of your products
There’s the Black moisturizing shampoo. The chief ingredient is the African black soap. It cleans, moisturizes and heals damaged hair strands.
Our leave-in conditioner is great for detangling and styling wash and goes styles when water won’t just do the trick.
The Deep moisturizing conditioner is essential for every wash day, it thickens hair, locks in moisture and revitalizes hair strands.
Our special packages are designed for low porosity and high porosity hair.A lot of our health issues can be solved by simply going natural - Zapi Botanics Click To Tweet
You preach an Organic Lifestyle why is that?
I think a lot of our health issues can be solved by simply going natural. It’s more healthy to get ingredients straight from where they are produced to your kitchen. In fact, organic products aren’t only important for our nutrition but our body too.
Bleaching creams should be discouraged. Also, there are natural ingredients like Licorice which lighten the skin. I encourage everyone to use plants and herbs to get the result they want in skin care, hair, and nutrition.
For most children in Africa, the standard of what beauty should be has been crystallized by western standards of beauty from magazines and TV shows. How can we change that narrative?
We have this idea that our hair must be long and sleek. We must teach them how to love themselves and love their hair. A lot of the girls who are our brand ambassadors are creative with the way they style their hair.
As a small business enterprise, what are the challenges you currently face for expansion?
Raw materials. We’ve had issues where a particular raw material causes us losses. Since we keep a strict quality control over all our raw materials, we have to make sure they all pass the quality test.
We may also have to do several test run to meet our standard. Sourcing for authentic raw materials is a constant challenge
What do you have to say about young people opening up an organic care brand?
I’d advise that they get a skill first! Understand the business, do your research and go through a rigorous market survey. I started my business by learning how to style hair with the money I had after my youth service. I saved money from the proceeds I made from making people’s hair to start my business.
Lastly, give us some tips for our fro sisters.
From my own experience, I’d say have a mind of your own, make hairstyles that work for you, not those you see on popular people or social media.
Be patient enough to find a hairstyle and a hair routine that works for you and stick to it.
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