From a tender age, Amina Furaha Abayisenga was drawn to beauty products; use and production.
Her fascination and interest further developed when she learned that her skin was not compatible with beauty products that were not organic or from natural ingredients.
It is then that she also began to look into the possibility of producing natural and organic beauty products.
She then approached a supplier and producer of the natural beauty products to learn production.
She said that the supplier was good to her and played a significant role in giving her lessons on how to produce natural and organic products (natural body and hair oils, Lip Balm and natural bathing soap).
After a few weeks, she had grasped the basics of the trade and could learn on her own to perfect her skills.
To build trust in her brand and to be assured of the quality, she shared samples of the product with family and friends who also provided feedback on the quality, packaging and other aspects.
On further study of the subject and market, she learned that there was an opportunity in more products beyond skin oils, lip balms, bathing soap, body scrubs among others. This led her to go to countries that have developed the industry more such as Ghana.
How she started out
In October 2018, after three years experimenting and with good feedback from friends who tried her products, she decided to go into commercial production under a company name Amibody organics operating at her parents’ home in Kimisagara.
Like any other enterprise or business, starting one brings about ups and downs but she remained undeterred.
She said that considering that she started out with a small stock with two products Lip Balm and Body Butter, about 50 pieces each, the response was not as good because it took about three months for the products to be sold out.
Despite the slow start, the tide began to turn after the first three months.
Abayisenga reckoned that after three months the market and outcomes improved as she was then able to sell similar quantities of stock in about one month. She then diversified her product range to products such as African black soap, body scrub and face oil to cater to the growing market.
She revealed that her business got a boom when she started to take part in trade shows such as Farmers’ Market, a trade exhibition that takes place every first Saturday of a month at Kigali Serena Hotel.
She added that at the Farmers’ Market her business was exposed to customers who motivated her with positive feedback as well as increased referrals and recommendations further boosting sales.
Abayisenga said so far, customer referrals have been the major source of clientele as well as social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter).
According to her, products are priced based on the ingredients, quantity and the purpose it serves.
Lip Balm goes for Rwf 2,000, 200mg Body Butter for Rwf 6,000, 35ml Face Oil for Rwf 10,000, 250mg African Black Soap for Rwf 10,000 and Jamaican Black Star Oil at Rwf 5,000.
She said that currently, she is able to sell her stock in just one month, a major milestone for her.
She also said that her products demand has been growing following the government’s move to crack down on skin bleaching products.
She said that her products may appear to be expensive, the clientele ought to focus on the value considering that the prices are determined by the high cost of production because she imports 80 percent of the raw materials.
She noted that the cost of raw-materials is significantly high because inputs such as coconut oil, shea butter, jojoba oil among others cannot be found with local supplier necessitating for imports from countries such as Kenya and Ghana.
So far, she has been able to identify sources of products such as Coffee, honey, and avocado.
Apart from the challenge of importing almost all raw-materials Abayisenga still faces difficulties in aspects of production such as extracting and mixing the ingredients as she still used manual equipment.