1. Can you please tell us more about your business?
A. IANA Africa is a South African eco-green premium beauty brand that tells a story of African botanical oils from the African savanna. From the Kalahari Melon seed to Baobab oil IANA uses a unique creation to nourish the hair and skin leaving it healthy, with a beautiful glow and a divine smell that gets you closer to nature.
IANA Africa is an environmentally conscious beauty brand designed to suit different hair and skin types without harsh ingredients that can cause irritation. IANA Africa also has a kids division whereby we teach children about different kinds of beauty through an African beauty, a magical tale called “Azira – A Tale of an African Princess”. IANA Africa is built on the belief that beauty is more than skin deep and aims to create and maintain sustainable beauty from inside out.
2. When, how and why did you start your business?
A. We started under Rozani media in 2015 and branched to the IANA Africa beauty brand in 2019. We started with storytelling and publishing stories for children at Rozani media and that inspired the IANA Africa brand. This is where we saw the opportunity of having skin products that would also cater to the needs of people of colour.
3. What is your role in the business?
A. My role is to lead the implementation of the strategies that drive the business forward.
4. Where did you study and what did you study?
A. I studied a Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Arts at the University of Witwastrand and also Senior Leaders Development Course at Wits Business School.
5. How did you finance your business?
A. When I decided to go into business I knew I had to make sacrifices in order to start the company from scratch. Everything we have is a result of bootstrapping.
6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.
A. My day typically starts at 3:00 am planning for the day and reflecting on previous days. My day finishes at around 21:00 pm.
7. How do you balance your home life and your work life?
A. I plan my days prior so that I have enough time for family and for the business. Being an entrepreneur has helped with flexibility on my work schedule so I can be able to work from home at times. Even when I work from my home office, I make it a priority to draw the line between work time and family time and diarising helps to achieve this goal. I think women uplifting other women is phenomenal, my mother-in-law helped to take care of my kids when I was at Wits Business School and that was beautiful. We rise because there are other women who are supportive.
Women of the 21st century have a greater challenge of juggling between being superhero moms, a caretaker, and being in the workplace whereby long hours are required without flexibility. I know a lot of great women who had to put their careers on hold so they could be present in their kid’s milestone of growing up. Indra Nooyi the first female CEO of PepsiCo led a fortune 500 company and still there were expectations for her as a mother to be present for her daughter’s activities, to perform her wife’s duties at home and so on. This is the daily life of any working woman, be it a cleaner or a woman in the corporate.
That is why at Iana Africa we support every women’s journey, every women’s story and celebrate every women’s beauty.
8. What drives you and inspires you?
A. People and nature inspire me a lot. I am a people’s person, I love connecting with people from different cultures. Therefore, doing business in Africa is such a great motivation, there’s great potential in the markets and commodities to boost Africa’s economic growth. Africa is such a great continent with amazing landscapes and many stories to tell, from the African Savanna to the diversity of the people with endless smiles. These are the reasons my team and I feel inspired to contribute to brand Africa.
9. Where and when do you have your best ideas?
A. I am a morning person, I get very creative in the early hours of the morning.
10. Where and how do you market/advertise your business for sales leads?
A. We use social media platforms, Shopify, word of mouth, and recommendations to market the products. This also includes Pop-Up Stores so people can get to feel, smell, and test the products.
11. What is next for your business?
A. To focus on the growth of both brands Rozani media and IANA Africa brand.
12. What advice would you give to female entrepreneurs hoping to start their own business?
A. Do what you are passionate about, dream big even if the dream seems crazy. Crazy has achieved the impossible, crazy invented things that others thought were “crazy-forget it, it has never been done before, you won’t make it.” Allow yourself to learn, and re-learn in the process of sharing your own ideas. It’s okay to fail. Failure has many lessons. Never think you are bigger than your customer. Surround yourself with people who will encourage you to try again when things don’t go according to your plan.
Media Links / Social media pages
IANA Africa (Facebook)
Azira-A tale of an African Princess (Facebook)