The apparent reemergence of the natural hair movement in Africa, particularly Ghana, has not only gotten many interested, but has actually convinced many more young Ghanaian women to take the decision to at least halt the use of weave.
For reasons that include convenience and cost, keeping the natural hair has rather become more fashionable for most African women.
That notwithstanding, the reason some women prefer using weave hair still remain; difficulty in maintaining the natural hair, among others.
This is a challenge young Ghanaian businesswoman, Dorinda Matey has taken up and is addressing.
After completing her National Service, she took the bold decision to start her natural hair journey.
The long lonely journey eventually got her to create and manage a Facebook page she used to talk about her experiences. That eventually became a launch pad for her business.
“I started my natural hair four years ago. A year into it, I started researching a lot about products, what you can do to your hair, how you can make it nice and other things. A year into my journey, I created a Facebook page, We Naturals, and then I started sharing this information, my experiences and tips.”
“People started asking about the products and whether I sell products. That was when the idea came that I should sell products… After a while, I went to study how to make it, and I started making my own products. It had nothing to do with business, It was just my passion for natural hair and that led to what it is today.”
“I was really tired of going to the salon all the time. It was nice to have a natural hair, and I wanted to do it. I had tried it before, but I couldn’t maintain it. But when I decided to come back based on what I had read and successfully going through for a year, I felt it was the time for me to share with others.”
She is passionate, determined and committed to providing various solutions to problems associated with the natural hair.
We Naturals Ghana Limited is one of Africa’s leading natural hair brands providing solutions for all hair needs with affordable quality handmade natural products.
She describes her products as “carefully formulated for natural hair” of all kinds; kinky, curly or coiled.
A graduate of the University of Ghana, who studied Psychology, Dorinda today runs the business with 25 staff.
Despite being a salaried worker at the time and worked in various companies including one in the banking industry, she didn’t encounter many challenges starting her business.
“I’ve done a few things on the side before We Naturals. I’d started a services company and sold things so being on my own was really a challenge for me. Because it didn’t start as a business, it didn’t occur to me to get certain things in place and all that. It was just me following my passion and when the demands started coming, I realized I had to get my followers in place and marketing on point. [But] getting the right people to start with was a big challenge.”
The story of how many businesses started has often not been without the mention of challenges such as raising capital; but for We Naturals, the story is different.
Dorinda’s savings from her life insurance helped her launch her business.
We Naturals will be 3 years in September, but has its foot in 8 countries; Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Benin, Mali and retailers in Australia.
Going to UK and US
Permeating the market in those countries according to Dorinda, has not been as easy, the challenges of setting up and operating in each of those countries came with very different challenges which she successfully managed to surmount.
Again, she has to deal with the different economic situations in each of those countries.
“Natural hair is not just going to be like a trend, people are going to move with it.”
That has not settled everything for her, she constantly faces the daunting task of finding a balance between making profits and maintaining a reasonable price affordable to customers. Again, she is minded about the staying relevant in each market considering how saturated the market in some countries are.
“It hasn’t been easy, but we are learning as we go along. There are places that we lost money because the procedure wasn’t what we expected. Every country is different so we have to do a lot of research into the country, how their methods of payment are like, shipping and all that. We have to be more aggressive and competitive on pricing because we are new in some of those markets.”
“We don’t just sell products, we sell solutions. We are not just pushing products on people, we are teaching them how to use it, and manage the hair so that it flourishes.”
Looking back at how far her business has come, Dorinda, who is married with 3 children [boys], including a set of twins, believes there is more she can and would do for the ‘natural hair movement’, especially in Africa.
Beyond plans to extend operations to the United States and the United Kingdom, she envisions a more competitive and aggressive We Naturals offering solutions.
“I see We Naturals growing, doing better, being more aggressive on the market, pushing into a lot of new markets and being competitive internationally,” she says.
Dorinda believes that “with the right product which we are providing and information, people will be able to maintain our natural hair for long. ”
By: Jonas Nyabor/citifmonline.com/Ghana