“Your Skin Is A Priority” Meet Adi + Bolga Co-Founder Feranmi Ogundipe

If you meet Feranmi, you may wonder, “why does she love skincare so much? What is it about skincare that makes her tick?” Feranmi’s love for skincare stemmed from her personal battle with acne some years ago. During our conversation, she said, “I wasn’t one to have acne and at one point I had terrible acne and everyone was like “Feranmi, what is going on with your skin?”

I remember walking into pharmacies to ask for a solution and they couldn’t quite give me guidance. I remember going back and asking a new friend that I just met because I saw that she had some insight with skincare and she said, “I think you have combination skin and you should get a gel cleanser.”

I got the gel cleanser and just that small tip from her made my life so much easier. My co-founder and have had this type of experience so we said why don’t we just create something for skincare that will help people out?”

“Your skin is a priority”

Feranmi believes that skincare is a necessity for every person. That is one of the guiding ideas for the platform she and her co-founder are working tirelessly to create. However, she acknowledges that different reasons- a major one being money, keeps us from making our skincare a priority.

Adi + Bolga plans to help out with this by creating a budget-friendly system for buying skincare products. As Feranmi said, “we are trying to see if we can help people pay in instalments for some of the products because not everyone can afford to buy all of the products they need at once. This will really be for those who have serious problems with acne or other skincare conditions.”

Adi + Bolga is using technology to make it easier for black people to access skincare education, professionals, and products. On their website, you can take skincare tests and quizzes and this will be used in formulating a personalised skincare regimen for you.

Adi + Bolga is also the parent company of Bare the Community, an interactive online community for skincare lovers. On there, they share stunning skincare content and offer great advice and product recommendations for different skin types and conditions.

What you can learn from Feranmi’s business experience

  • Know your why: Your goal should be at the forefront of your mind. Be clear on your why. Know what you are in that space to do. This will guide the skills you decide to learn to run your business well. This will also guide the kind of strategies you put in place for your business.
  • Listen to your customers: Sometimes, people reach out to us for product recommendations and the product we may want to recommend is not within their budget or easily accessible in their location. This lets us know how best we can serve our audience. It may now lead to questions like, do we look for cheaper or more accessible products to recommend? Do we contact the brand to find out if they can make their product accessible to our audience?
  • Make your services clear: It is important to make your services clear and understandable to the people you are trying to serve. One of our main challenges is getting people to understand that our service is new. It is not common. We are introducing a new idea to the public and it is always a challenge getting them to understand what we do and why it is beneficial. Let’s say I develop a cream, that will be easy to sell because everybody understands what cream is and what cream should do. I can easily push that but a beauty tech platform is different. It is a very new idea so I need to make sure our services are clear.

You can join the Adi+Bolga community by following Bare the Community on Twitter and Instagram. For more juicy skincare tips sign up for their newsletters.

 

Mphela Yelane: The agriculture sector should be the highest paying employer in the continent

mphele yelane
We don’t think just being natural is enough. Products should deliver results - Mphela Yelane Click To Tweet

“To me, it shifted from the mindset of being a policy maker to becoming an individual championing the comparative local development concept. Africa trades more in agriculture, the agriculture sector should be the highest paying employer in the continent I thought.”

These were the thoughts of a 31-year-old Mphele Yelane while in Italy on a student exchange program that exposed her to the real context of local development. Born and raised in the African Eden (Limpopo province), “in our backyards you find plants for food and healing remedies. It’s natural for me to take advantage of the wealth in our soil. In Tzaneen my hometown, we produce oranges, lemon, nuts, avocadoes, litchis etc. I know in June I get avocado and orange for consumption and also apply as a face mask”.

The cosmetic products started as a creative thing to do for Mphele, her sisters and friends started coming for more after trying her products. While doing her Masters it clicked to her that this should be a business, Mphele realised she could empower her neighbours by buying from them and producing organic products for profit. Hence Ezamazwe Skin Solution brand was conceived. Ezamazwe means “of the world” or “from the earth”.


Tell me more about Ezamazwe Skin Solution.

Ezamazwe Skin Solution is 100% organic skincare products. We source our ingredients from all over the African continent to ensure we only work with top quality products. A good example is our unrefined shea butter which comes from Ghana. Our passion is to source out pure products from local traders in order to produce products that are truly pure, environmentally friendly and have never been tested on animals for quality control.

The fact that we do all our own research and development and produce all our products from start to finish in one location, ensures high quality every step of the way. Ezamazwe Skin Solution is proud to guarantee that we use the recommended dosages for all our actives. We don’t think just being natural is enough. Products should deliver results.

Our product is completely organic, and healthy for the environment as it is for human skin. Starting its life as nuts, raw materials are carefully crafted into many useful products, including oil and butter. The beauty of shea butter is that it is infinitely recycled from plant to skin butter. Recycling nuts products therefore, contribute to the preservation of our planet. As a sustainable skin solution, it takes nothing away from the environment and leaves nothing behind.

How did you get your idea or concept for the business?

I am born in an entrepreneurial family, my parents own a tuck-shop, taxi business and are involved in community projects.

I know more about business management than being an employee. When people started making regular orders I knew this must be formalized.

productsWhat was your mission at the outset?

My dream is to have Ezamazwe Skin Solution become one of the very few local organic skincare manufacturers in the South African cosmetic industry.

When did you “charter” the business?

The business started officially in 2007, now to celebrate 10 years I decided to register a formal business in 2017. The brand has grown and the market is ready to receive the Ezamazwe Skin Solution brand.

Mphele Yelane ran Ezamazwe Skin Solution for 10 years before formally registering it as a business Click To Tweet

How do you advertise your business?

I advertise my business mainly through word of mouth. I also utilise social media and am now ready to sponsor TV programs and beauty pageants.

How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?

I have a solid support system from my parents, my sisters (Olgah, Sharon and Lerato) and my husband. I run my ideas with them, if they buy it, I start doing research and officialise it. If they say it’s not viable I leave it there.

Also, I never give up, I just postpone and re-focus my energy. Giving up is never an option if I am sold onto something.

Describe/outline your typical day?

I am still employed full-time and work on Ezamazwe Skin Solution as part-time. My husband is a hands-on father, a typical day starts with “morning ritual”; drop my son at school, off to work, during lunch I work on Ezamazwe Skin Solution.

After work, driving back home I start planning my day as MD of Ezamazwe Concepts. Once I get home, I do house chores, then from 9pm to 2am I work on Ezamazwe Skin Solution; processing orders, delivery arrangement, and manufacturing process.

logoHow has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?

It doesn’t, my husband is a businessman too and my mentor, we don’t know anything besides working smart as parents.

What motivates you?

I am motivated by the desire to be financially fit so that even if I don’t work for a year, my lifestyle don’t change.

How do you generate new ideas?

Ideas are not generated, they just come when one is content. When you are at peace with self, your mind starts working right and ideas start popping up.

Ideas are not generated, they just come when one is content - Mphele Yelane Click To Tweet

How far are you willing to go to succeed?

I won’t rest until Ezamazwe Skin Solution becomes a household brand and number one skincare solution in Africa.

What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

Changing people’s lives through employment is something that brings me joy as an entrepreneur. I also enjoy exploring new markets and take pride in producing Proundly SA brand.

To what do you most attribute your success? What would say are the five key elements for starting and running a successful business?

Wow! If I had to limit it to five elements, they would be,

  • Know yourself in Christ
  • Commit and focus on your plan
  • Believe in yourself and stick to the plan
  • Do research
  • Analyse your market and always engage with it.

If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.

 

Seipati Masango: Passion that transcends into business

Seipati Masango
@seipatimasango a.k.a Miss Gates shares her passion and beauty secrets here Click To Tweet

Seipati Masango is a 29 year old lady from South Africa currently working in the construction industry. Seipati also owns and manages a beauty product line company called Organic Touch by Miss Gates.

Informally known as Miss Gates, Seipati Masango is very loud, crazy “in a good way”, enthusiastic and optimistic. Her passions are not limited to business as she is also politically active and passionate about social development through her work as an African National Congress (ANC) volunteer.


What are you most passionate about?

I am passionate about people and what they have to offer. Also, I am passionate about beauty and how we as a nation are different and from different cultures.

I think that we do not focus on how rich in inner and outer beauty we are as a country. We tend to shy away and do not appreciate the features we have as people, because we care about the ones we are complimented on.

What inspired you to start your skin care brand Organic Touch By Miss Gates?

This is so funny because, growing up I have always been very inquisitive about everything. Years later, I started using different products especially when seasons changed, because my skin texture would change too. I tried different methods in order to get it soft and smooth again, (using Colgate toothpaste for pimples, egg yolk for texture etc).

I used to mix different products to make my own hair mousse to repair my hairline, and loved to use coconut oil on my face as a moisturiser and body. In August, I decided to post on social media the difference these methods made to my skin. I ended up receiving a great response and messages in my inbox for orders.

@seipatimasango registered a company before finally finding her passion in making beauty products Click To Tweet

Then two lady friends of mine Nonkululeko and Mzikazi asked why I was sitting on a gold mine and doing nothing about it. They both know I am passionate about beauty. From that point, I started researching about organic homemade beauty products because I did not want to use any chemically affiliated products. And the rest is history.

I must say, it was draining and time consuming at first. I was cash strapped too ,but it all turned out well. Months prior, I had registered a company not knowing what to do, but I finally found my passion.

organic_touch_by_missgates-1Tell me about your work as a clothing brand ambassador for plus size women?

I never thought I would be a plus size model. I had actually never heard of big women being models, but the world changes. We see an evolution where plus size clothing ranges find space in the fashion industry.

I never thought I would be a plus size model - Seipati Masango Click To Tweet

I was approached by Pinky Mokgoasane owner of Street Chic, who asked me if I would be interested in being a model for her plus size range. She told me that I would look ravishing in “vintage-inspired wear”, so I gave it a try. Street Chic’s Pinky Clothing Range has attracted so many plus size women who love dressing up. Street Chic’s clients always say to the owner, “if Seipati can rock it so can we”.

I don’t regret making the decision to model for Pinky. It has changed me, many woman send me messages telling me how I have inspired them to appreciate their weight. I always say that dressing up for your body type and size will make you feel good and confident.

What is the main thing you think women should celebrate about themselves?

Mainly, it’s their inner beauty as it is one of the most attractive characters in a woman. Being confident about yourself and loving the person that you are, will easily show on the outside.

I have always been a big girl. Growing up, people would tell me how fat I was compared to the last time they saw me, and that would really hurt. I had to grow tough skin towards cyber bullies and negative people. I used to try these yoyo diets and go to the gym just to go back to the woman I was, it never worked.

Women across the world should adore their curves, love and squeeze them. Yaaas @seipatimasango! Click To Tweet

This year, I had a health hazard that required that I make healthier choices because my cholesterol was too high. I made the decision to eat healthier and lose a few kilos, not because of a bully but for a conscious decision I made for my life. I lost 15 kg and now I wear size 40 and happily love my curves, and body.

Women across the world should adore their curves, love and squeeze them. They should look in the mirror and just say, “I am beautiful”! They should wear that swimsuit without fear. Stretch marks and cellulite are there but they do not define who you are, or what you have become. Just be you and love yourself.

seipati-1

Do you think that there is immense pressure for women in South Africa to look and behave in a certain way? How can we change the social pressures on women?

A South Africa “radio personality” recently bashed Noma Khumalo, winner of SA Idols 2016, saying Noma is not idol material because of her weight and that the entertainment industry will not accept her. I was furious —and still am, that we live in such a hypocritical society that refuses to accept how different we are.

South Africa is a country rich in heritage and history, and we need to become ourselves. We do not need to conform to mainstream norms and social perceptions of how one should behave or look. We should appreciate what everyone brings to society.

Also, we need to understand that women are nurturers and caregivers and they should be celebrated everyday as they give life. The day we understand the social injustices that women face, is the day we will understand that more needs to be done to bring about awareness. Women are capable of so much.

Women should celebrate their inner beauty, it is very attractive - Seipati Masango Click To Tweet

What is your biggest beauty secret?

Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate and dry brushing for toning and reducing of cellulite.

We forget that we have dead cells on our skin that need to be removed. Dead skin will not easily be removed by bathing with soap, we need to exfoliate at least twice a week and dry brush every day. And of course my home made body butter is the best product to use!seipati-3

If you could reincarnate, in what form would you like to come back as?

As a panda…my goodness I just love that animal! Or say as Kung Fu Panda haha, I just love his charisma and zeal, it’s so refreshing.

The world could do with such character, so carefree and living life.


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

Nneji Akunne: We are truly passionate about each customer

Nneji Akunne - Ilera Apothecary

Inspiration can come from anywhere and when Nneji Akunne and siblings weren’t satisfied with the skin care options that were available to them, they decided to develop their own. With experience as a Sustainability Fellow for H&M Germany and marketing consultant for smaller startup brands, Nneji has used her experience to develop ILERA Apothecary, a luxury personal organic skin care line.


Why did you start ILERA Apothecary?

We started ILERA Apothecary because we sought transparency in the personal care industry. Making our own products for personal use and seeing how effective they were made us wonder why other products within the industry needed so many ingredients to do the same job.

We looked as far back as 10,000 BC on more traditional practices, where Ancient Egyptians used elements from the earth to heal and protect their skin, and realised that the foundation of natural beauty came from the ingredients in the products used each day.

Why do you think organic and natural personal care is important and matters in the beauty industry?

What you put in your body is just as important as what you put on it. We are so blinded by big corporations marketing and advertising that sell us “younger looking skin” that we don’t pay attention to the ingredients used in each product. Because the FDA does not currently regulate the ingredients of beauty products in the U.S. with the same thoroughness done in the E.U., it’s up to consumers to read and understand each product’s labels; which in reality is something that’s not always done.

When you choose organic skincare, you’re choosing products whose ingredients work with the natural systems of your skin, not the scientific formulas that have been tested on animals to produce results unrelated to human beings. Organic and natural personal care companies like ours that are truly passionate about each customer, carefully spell out the ingredients used in all products offered and the reasoning behind them.

What makes ILERA Apothecary different from other personal care startups?

ILERA Apothecary aims to educate our customers about their overall health. It’s one thing to simply promote a more natural skincare regimen but, as stated before, what goes inside of your body is important as well. We take a more hands-on approach and speak about the health of the individual from all areas like diets, mental health and lifestyle.

All skin types are not created equal and while it would be easy to sell the same product to every customer as they come, we offer consultation services where we can get to know the customer better and understand their skin and lifestyle needs.

What is your favourite product and why?

Both of our personal favourites is the unscented body butter. I (Nneji) am all about the touch and feel of the skin along with being able to determine my scent for the day. For Chinonye, the body butter leaves her skin feeling so rich and smooth day and night which is very important since she has dry skin.

For your business to get to the next level, would you prefer funding or a high-value mentor?

High-Value Mentor. I say this because funding would only be able to take us so far. With a mentor, not only would the individual be able to provide us with networks we may not have been granted access to, but also the insight and experience of a seasoned mentor are worth way more than money can buy.

ilera_-_uscented_body_cream

What can we expect from ILERA Apothecary over the next 6 months?

We are looking to expand the brand into international markets and entering into more retail spaces. We are also working to expand our product offerings to include a separate men’s line. While our products are currently unisex, we want to cater to the specifics of a man at all life stages.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned on your journey towards healthy skin and body care?

Understanding the importance of planning for the future right now has shifted our lives tremendously. We always heard that your body is your temple and it should be treated as such but it wasn’t until we began testing products to sell that we truly understood that notion.

Skin is the body’s largest organ that serves to protect your insides from the outside world. Where you live, what you eat, and what you do on a daily basis can determine the type of life you’ll live once you get further in age. Living healthy and active lifestyles are our goals as we age and taking care of our skin is one of the first steps in making that happen.


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