Curl Chemistry is a haircare brand locally made in Parow North, Cape Town. In July 2016, the business launched with a Facebook page and since then the word spread like wildfire. All their labelling and packaging is successfully done from a home garage. The business founder featured in the Fairlady magazine and was awarded at the Santam Business Awards for being a South African based company.
Their haircare products tap into a niche sector, offering products that help moisturise natural hair. The market needs it and in SA the curly hair movement has had a breakthrough. In Cape Town, we have a diverse culture and people are ditching the relaxer and enjoying their natural hair texture.
With 2 full-time staff members and 3 casuals, they supply their products to hair salons, online stores and a network of agents that sell their product to their clients. In future, they aim to make the products more accessible to customers in retail stores and distribute to other African countries.
Tell us a bit more about your business and what it offers?
Curl Chemistry is a hair care brand locally made in Cape Town. We launched the business with a Facebook page and since then the word spread like wild fire. We offer products that help moisturize your natural hair (curly, coily and afro textures). The products can be used on all hair types and the products help maintain beautiful, natural curls.
What important role does your company play in Cape Town, and abroad?
Many of our customers love the fact that we are a local business and the market has been very supportive of this too. We’ve had orders from Australia, New Zealand and Germany. These are usually from South African’s who live abroad and have heard about our products through family and friends.
Our products have become one of the most loved local brand in South Africa. We’ve also offered agents the opportunity to make an extra income by selling our products on a part time basis which financially has helped so many of our agents.
When considering Cape Town, what factors made you choose to start here? Why Cape Town and what prompted the decision?
I was born in Namibia but we moved to Cape Town when I was a toddler. I had to start the business somewhere I knew the market needed it and in SA the curly hair movement has had a break through. People are ditching the relaxer and enjoying their natural hair texture. In Cape Town, we have such a diverse culture that the products fit our culture perfectly.
What do you enjoy most about operating your business in Cape Town? What are the benefits of running a business/investing in Cape Town?
I’ve had many great opportunities in Cape Town. I’ve been invited to magazine features and interviews, because people are so interested in how the business started. People have been supportive of this journey and that’s the best part of running this business in Cape Town. A lot of my customers have become friends, because they feel some connection to the brand. Some of the customers are forever grateful for our products, because it totally changed the game for them and helped them on their hair journey.
What are the highlights/success stories you can share since starting your business in Cape Town?
My Fairlady magazine feature was a highlight of my career as it truly encourages women empowerment and celebrates us women for all we do. There have been so many amazing ladies featured in the magazine and for me that was a huge honour.
Another highlight was when Carl Wastie from Kfm called me to invite me t the Santam Business Awards in Cape Town. We were awarded certificates for being a South African based company
What challenges, if any, have you experienced in setting up your business?
In the beginning, finding all the right contacts were very challenging. I came from the financial sector and had no experience in the beauty/retail industry. All the contacts I have now I made by doing research and some of the people I met were fate.
Its also been challenging getting onto the right store shelves.
Have you had any interactions, positive or negative, with the City of Cape Town in setting up or running your business?
The City has been a great help. They work with a lot of other companies and one of the companies I work with offer a mentorship programme. I have a mentor who guides me through any challenges in my business which has been heaven sent.
I’ve also had grants which have allowed me to buy machinery to package our products ourselves. This helps us save costs and time as waiting for a supplier can be frustrating in some cases. You have control of your quantities when you have the machinery ready to package.
How has doing business in Cape Town, or with City of Cape Town, been different to anywhere else?
I haven’t had a business in any other country so I wouldn’t be able to compare it.
What’s next? What is the future of your business?
I would love for our products to be more accessible to our customers like on a store shelve where they can purchase from. Our limited distribution is sometimes a issue but I have faith that the right opportunity will present itself at the right time.
I would also love for our brand to be available in other African countries since our hair types are so similar all over Africa. Most Africans have either curly or Afro texture hair and it’s a great opportunity for the business to grow on an internal basis.
If your best friend was on the fence about opening a business/investing in Cape Town, what would you tell them?
I would say go for it! Its never been easy, but with the right people on your team, you are destined for success.
Before leaving your full-time job, do all the necessary research before going full time in the business. I had to make sure that my business was able to sustain me before I could leave my full-time paying job. In the end, you are seeking financial freedom and only you can drive the business to where you want it.