Sisters first, and co-founders of their own brand after. Karabo (28) and Mantshadi (37) Mokoena own a haircare company, known as Nalane Group (Pty).
Their brand offers a range of natural haircare products made from indigenous African oils. Having grown up in Bloemfontein, the two sisters started up their brand in the city to help cater for a gap in the market for natural hair products.
“It was out of necessity for me. At the time there weren’t any products that were catering for our hair. When I started making the products, people would start asking about how I was keeping my hair healthy naturally and I started to see the need in the market,” says Mantshadi.
Despite having separate careers in their respective fields, the Mokoena sisters knew they wanted to venture into business just as many in their family have done before them.
“I just finished my Master’s Degree and my sister is working full-time, but this is our baby and we’re passionate about it. We have grown up around entrepreneurs. Back when we were in Kestell, our grandfather had a tuck shop. Most of our uncles, aunts and our parents are also entrepreneurs, so we’ve always been business-minded,” says Karabo.
Just as with any business, they had some challenges. “Given that we are still a small brand, we rely more on word-by-mouth marketing and Covid-19 was a big challenge for us. It was very challenging but we’ve received a lot of help from some government organisations. We also collaborated with a few salons here and there,” says Karabo.
With all the challenges, however, the sisters were determined never to give up. “Entrepreneurship is a challenging journey but it requires patience and perseverance. Whenever you feel like giving up it’s important to remember why you started.” In future, the sisters would like to engage with young girls in their formative years when they establish their definitions of beauty.
“We would like to help build their confidence from a young age.”
For more information on how to achieve healthier hair and to get some of their products, contact Nalane via their website:https://www.mynalane.co.za