How did Afri-Berry come about?
A terrible car accident left me retrenched from work and with more than 150 stitches on my face. I had to look for affordable ways to heal or even just to lighten the scarring on my face. I tried lots of different products and a doctor even told me that plastic surgery was the only option, but then I found something that worked — cold-pressed Argan oil. Through compelling boldness and determination to enter into an industry we knew nothing about, I then started Afri-berry in 2011.
What makes Afri-berry unique?
Afri-berry is a proudly South African and multi award winner of 100% organic and repair skin and hair products that can be used by the whole family. Our recent awards are an indication of the caliber of products we produce.
Our extraction and processing method is cold pressing, which is an ancient extraction method that ensures that the maximum amount of nutrients is retained in the product. We also don’t maintain, but exist to repair both skin and hair. This method ensures that the product penetrates up to 90% of the skin or hair. So, in essence, our products are dermaceutical and not cosmeceutical (claiming medicinal properties).
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What are the products in the range and what is the price range?
- Afri-Berry 100% Organic Cold Pressed Coconut Oil, R94,99
- Afri-Berry 100% Organic Jamaican Black Castor Oil, R 100,90?
- Afri-Berry 100% Organic Moroccan Gold Argan Oil, R 126
- Afri-Berry 100% Organic Moroccan Gold Black Soap Skin Care, R150
- Afri-Berry 100% Organic Scar-Nil Jelly, R150
- Afri-Berry 100% organic Tummy-Trim Jelly, R150
- Afri-Berry 100% organic Cellulite-Nil Jelly, R150
- Afri-Berry 100% Organic SPF 40, R150
How was the business funded?
We were self-funded from a start-up capital of R 10 000.
What are some of the highlights or challenges you’ve encountered?
As a new player in the beauty sector, developing the Afri-berry business idea in a way that’s attractive to retail was our first major challenge. The beauty industry has such high barriers to entry, so our second major challenge was gaining market share among international cosmetic brands.
When you start a business, a person must keep overheads down, so initially we built 80% of our team around interns or graduates with no work experience. We under-estimated the value of hiring experienced employees. This was the most trying time for the business because you may have great employees but they are not a team, they will yield nothing but stagnation.
The highlights have been a leading proudly South African premium, organic skin and hair repair supplier in South Africa, that has won several awards including Best Natural Product and Hair and Beauty Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2018 African Hair Awards, Most Innovative Brand at the 2016 Acquisition International Winner 2016 and City of Ekurhuleni Winner Best Empowerment Partner on Youth Empowerment Winner 2015.
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What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?
?Build a business around a problem that you know needs to be solved and that you are passionate about fixing or making better. There will be many long nights and stressful situations ahead, but having the passion to fix the problem will get you through, every time. ?If you have an idea for a start-up, go ahead and start it. The more research you do upfront as to how much you need to learn could easily put you off. ?