Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
FOR Ms. Francisca Juliet Karavayi from Sigola in Umzingwane District, Matabeleland South Province, it was a struggle with acne early in her teenage life that ultimately paved the way for her entrepreneurial success.
Acne is a skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells.
It causes whiteheads, blackheads or pimples and the condition is more common in teenagers and young adults.
Everything Ms Karavayi tried didn’t work until she decided to ‘take matters into her own hands’ by researching the root cause of her illness extensively on the internet.
Today, at 23, the young entrepreneur is the proud owner of African Glow Skincare Solutions, a company that manufactures skincare products.
“When I hit my teens, I struggled with acne and it really irritated me a lot.
On my road to a solution, I found myself fascinated by the clinical findings of these all-too-common skin issues,” she said.
“I kept finding out what science said that might or might not work for skin and decided to go online to research how skin care lotions are produced. “
Through research online, Ms. Karavayi came up with the idea of creating her own skincare line which now has four formulated products.
It produces shea butter, African black soap, lotion and vitamin C face and body wash.
“Nowadays we are so lucky to have the internet and a lot of things are readily available on social media where we can learn, although going to a formal school is still essential.
I learned through YouTube,” she said.
“To this day, I’m amazed at where my passion for skincare has taken me.
My passion is wanting to help women have the best skin,” Ms. Karavayi said.
Growing her skincare business came naturally even with the inevitable bumps in the road, thanks to her attitude.
The tenacious young entrepreneur has created strong waves in the business community, laying a solid foundation of boundless creativity in the field of beauty.
Her mother, a saleswoman, inspired her to start her own business.
To pursue her dream, Ms Karavayi worked for just five months as a waitress in a restaurant in Johannesburg, South Africa, to raise capital.
African Glow Skincare Solutions produces high quality, organic skincare products that are sold online to individuals and businesses through various social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
Ms. Karavayi has secured stable markets in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.
“I started as a waitress in South Africa where I worked for about five months before deciding to quit my job after raising enough money to start my skincare brand.
I founded African Glow Skincare Solutions in August last year,” she said.
Ms. Karavayi started with just two products; shea butter and African black soap, which she made using a two-plate stove.
In December last year, she launched Vitamin C Face and Body Lotion and Wash.
“Both of these products are free of harsh chemicals as they are made with natural ingredients such as organic aloe vera, jojoba oil, green tea, among others.
Vitamin C has a number of benefits including reducing fine lines and wrinkles, it also helps get rid of acne, dark spots, sun spots and rejuvenating dry skin,” Ms Karavayi said. .
She said it also hydrates and rejuvenates the skin, leaving it flawless and glowing.
Shea Butter helps fight the effects of aging and repairs rough and damaged skin.
Last month, African Glow Skincare Solutions launched another product, a brand of drying lotion specifically designed for people struggling with acne.
“It is also made with natural ingredients and contains calamine and camphor.
It works like an acne treatment by applying it at night and then washing your face the next morning,” Ms Karavayi said.
She said she distributed her products to a number of people and they gave her positive feedback.
“I’m still working on getting my products into pharmacies,” said Ms Karavayi who said she was working on natural avocado oil.
She said she had to do her own research and experiment online and loved the result.
“I use avocado oil to see the benefits, after which I can start implementing this idea,” Ms. Karavayi said.
She said she is in the process of recruiting distributors and sales representatives for her products.
The products, which have been dermatologically tested, are manufactured in South Africa where the company is registered.
“My products mainly sell to Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana and I have a lot of customers, that’s why I decided to go back home to expand my business.
I injected an initial capital of R20,000 and the most expensive thing is the packaging,” Ms Karavayi said.
The lotion costs US$15 while the market price for the other two products is US$10.
Ms. Karavayi said her long-term vision is to establish a factory in Bulawayo to create more jobs for young people and women.
The inspiration to start came from her own personal struggles as a young girl.
“My mother was a street vendor and woke us up at 4 a.m. to go to the market.
From an early age, I started selling on the streets and that’s how I developed the passion of being an entrepreneur,” she said.
From the age of nine, Ms. Karavayi began to take care of herself by selling on the streets.
“My mother would come to Botswana leaving us alone and we would sell sweets, biscuits and crisps.
When you start venturing into the selling business at a young age, you kind of tend to understand those dynamics better as you get older,” she said.
Ms Karavayi attended Imbizo Primary School and Induna Secondary School in Bulawayo.
After completing her A-level education in 2016, her parents failed to raise funds for her to attend college.