Nonceba celebrates beauty market dealSubmitted by Matimu Define Mabunda
Nonceba Hlengani is living proof that hard work and consistency can yield great results regardless of how long it takes to get them
Nonceba Hlengani, managing director of Zuru Skincare
Born in Giyani, Limpopo, 27-year-old Nonceba moved to Gauteng for a better life. She is the managing director of Zuru Skincare and is celebrating after closing a deal with South Africa’s leading health and beauty retailer, Clicks. After three years of self-marketing and online advertising, Nonceba’s baby range, Zurubaby, is now available at 32 Clicks stores nationwide. Throughout her teens, Nonceba battled with skin problems that dented her self-esteem.
She tried several products from retailers and dermatologists hoping to find the right one for her skin but was never successful. Her acne and dark spots worsened and she gave up hope of ever finding a product to solve her skin problems. But instead of sitting back, the then 24-year-old started exploring how she could find the answer to her skin problems. This determination led Nonceba and her family into the beauty industry.
“My family has been part of the journey from the beginning and we established a family business called Xitsavi Health through this skincare venture. We worked with CW Pharmaceuticals – my father knew its founder, Charles Moolman, had over 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry,” she says.
This successful partnership gave rise to the Zuru Skincare collection which caters to adults and children. The facial range for adults treats dark spots, acne, and pigmentation. The baby range caters to infants up to five years old. This range promotes healthy skin and treats children with dry, sensitive, and eczema-prone skin. Nonceba originally wanted to study psychology because of her desire to help people, uplift those without hope, and witness the results of her work.
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But her parents weren’t happy with her study choice because they thought she might struggle with employment opportunities. So she decided to pursue marketing management and obtained a certificate at the Midrand Graduate Institute which is now known as the Pearson Institute or Eduvos. Her study choice turned out to be a blessing in disguise because the qualification was a great help in her business. After her products were launched in 2018, Nonceba marketed and sold them on online platforms and at expos.
“Selling online isn’t easy as it’s a foreign concept for most consumers, especially the older ones,” she says. “Through consistency and the right marketing strategies, we were able to generate sales. So far, we have worked with government entities such as the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP) and the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA).” While marketing and selling Zuru products through social media and at exhibitions, the brand started identifying the retail stores where they wanted their products to be sold.
They eventually settled for Clicks. But the partnership didn’t happen overnight. Zuru’s approaches to Clicks were unsuccessful up until the 2020 national lockdown.
However, shortly thereafter, Clicks showed a renewed interest in Zuru’s products, and talks began after their first meeting. There were ongoing discussions between the two parties which created a mountain of homework for Zuru because the range had to meet the retailer’s stringent requirements and standards. But the brand delivered exactly what was required by Clicks.
Zuru Skincare is also involved in corporate social responsibility initiatives and usually gets busy at year-end. “We are looking forward to working with organisations such as The Potato Foundation which seeks to help disadvantaged children with school needs and food. We sponsored their Christmas drive last year,” adds Nonceba.
She says of Zuru: “We have huge plans for the skincare range and are looking at rebranding, it to meet very specific skincare problems we’ve identified through research.
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People should look out for it because we plan to make it a household name.” Nonceba continues to be inspired by the testimonials of happy customers who have seen results and are impressed by how her products have repaired skin damage and helped them to maintain healthy, glowing skin. She says that seeing the value her customers place on her products motivates her to continue growing her business. “Our customers have kept us going,” she adds.
“They love the products and continuously return to buy more. During the 2020 lockdown, things went quiet and so did some of our customers. But we had to understand that the times were difficult financially. Covid put on hold our plans to grow and venture out of South Africa. One of the ways we generate sales is to have a presence at expos and to talk people through our products. We lost that stream of revenue.”
Speaking of the future for Zuru, Nonceba says she would like to see the range being sold in all retailers and boutique outlets throughout South Africa. One of her ambitions is to make Zuru a household name in Africa. Nonceba is also thinking of expanding the existing range and plans to launch African hair care and body products.
The stores that stock Zuru products include the Mall of Africa, The Groove, Eastgate, Festival Mall, East Rand Mall, Menlyn Park, Kolonnade Mall, Sandton City, Tsakane Mall, Atteridgeville Clicks, Mayfield Square, Forest Hill, Tshwane Mall, Phumulani Mall, Alex Plaza, Mall of Tembisa, Sammy Marks Square, Carlton Centre, Westgate, Cresta Mall, Fourways Clicks, Protea Glen, Eyethu Mall, Cradlestone Mall, Mall of the South and Cavendish Square.
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