We're celebrating local beauty entrepreneurs in our mini-series where we profile women who are making their mark in the beauty industry.

Whether it's hair, nail care, makeup or skincare, more South African women are starting to bring authentic brands to cosmetics counters in an effort to change the game and to finally 'Give. The. People. What. They. Want'.

Read more: Meet the women who are owning the local beauty industry right now

So we picked Vuyi Zondi's brain to learn all about the rise and rise of Corium Skincare - a natural beauty skincare range.

Here's what she had to say:

Corium started as a hobby and an organic interest and something which I treated quite casually.

I was in a very experimental phase in life where I would go into the kitchen, and make “homemade natural skincare products”. After some time I made some for close friends and with their encouragement I felt I was at a point of readiness to take to market with an “unnamed” business. That's how Corium was born.

What inspired the move away from chemical-based products to the natural skincare sphere of beauty? 

I am an acne-sufferer and had been through it all and I really just struggled to find something which worked and which I thought was “gentle” enough.

I remember using a skin treatment that used to bleach my pillowcase and I wondered how harsh the formulation of this product is if it could dye my pillowcase and face cloth.

That’s when I thought - no more strong stuff for my skin – I have had enough. That’s where the curiosity was initially born.

What’s the science behind Corium that makes it such a standout skincare brand? 

There is no science. As tongue-in-cheek as that sounds that’s probably the most accurate response. Simplicity and purity are the hallmarks and we intentionally sought botanical formulations, which were as pure as possible.

We wanted formulations based on traditional beauty practices and that were as "clean" as possible while still being able to deliver nutritional value to the skin.

Hold me accountable as an entrepreneur, expect good service and products from us. Do not do it from a place of just “doing”.

How do you ensure that your customers keep coming back for more?

It’s a mixture of good service, exciting packaging and products that are easy to understand and use. We’ve tried to make sure that receiving your Corium package is a great experience, which is further complemented by well-formulated products.

What is Corium’s best-selling product? And your favourite?

Our best-selling products oscillate between three much-loved products, our Raw African Black Soap Cleansing Bar, our Lemon Brightening Overnight Serum, and our Skin Perfecting Shea Body Butter.

My favourites are the African Black Soap and the Tea Tree Serum – both are fantastic for my acneic skin and thanks to both, I haven’t had a major breakout in eons. I could probably confidently say I have good skin now.

There’s a section on your site dedicated solely to testimonials – why is that?

Credibility is important, especially as a small player and visible results or feedback is important for the inquisitive consumer or the discerning buyer who is not yet sure whether they want to make the jump.

As a woman in entrepreneurship, what has been your biggest challenge and your greatest reward?

My biggest challenges as an entrepreneur have been the generic challenges, concerning demand projection, working capital and inadequate capacity – basically, all those things translate to a severely under-rested Vuyi and that is my greatest personal challenge.

The greatest reward is seeing the brand advocacy we have built around Corium. Sometimes it is no longer even us telling prospective clients what we can do, but its other impressed clients and parties doing the selling for us.

That is amazing. Incredibly amazing.

We really are building a brand to be reckoned with in the natural skincare market.

How do you feel about the “support black business” movement; what does it mean to you as someone who’s on the receiving end?

My raw sentiment as an entrepreneur is that I want you to buy, advocate and support Corium because you believe in it, you are impressed by it or are are curious about it, etc.

I don’t want it to be a “grudge” purchase or a purchase on the backing off “arg, let’s just support and see”. Support Corium because you believe in the brand, in our offering and you are buying with the intent of getting value for your money.

Hold me accountable as an entrepreneur, expect good service and products from us. Do not do it from a place of just “doing”. 

South Africa has a higher population of women of colour, yet our beauty industry is still predominantly run by white corporations. Why do you think that is?

Access to capital, previous inequalities (still being corrected). It is a political and economic function of the society we have found ourselves in, given the background of the country.

Do you think the African beauty industry is where it should be or is there still room for improvement and more development?

Major room for improvement. We need more of the smaller players in the tail end of the industry who will compete on different attributes to what multinational FMCGs are bringing.

We’re only scratching the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more and it makes me excited for Corium to be in this industry.

Any new products in the pipelines? 

Oh yes! This November we launch six Corium Luxe Pure Oils, these are six premium organic oils which will be added to our Luxe range in November this year. We have picked six oils used in traditional beauty practices from all across the globe for this range.

Visit Corium Skincare here to purchase your the best product for your skin's needs.