Acne pain leads teen Snikiwe Xaba to roaring business

Snikiwe Xaba's problem with her skin, prompted her to start her own facial products.
Snikiwe Xaba's problem with her skin, prompted her to start her own facial products.
Image: Supplied

A teenage girl who had acne and could not afford to buy creams to treat it, is now the proud owner of her own skin care range.

Snikiwe Xaba, 16, started making her range, Natural Me, in 2017, which consist of a facewash, toner, day and night cream priced at R80 and R90 a bottle.

The grade 11 pupil at Sikanisweni High School in Ezingolweni, Port Shepstone, said she had a low self esteem because of pimples and hated taking pictures with her friends.

"I felt ugly and left out because of the pimples."

The fifth of six siblings said she could not afford to buy skin products as they were
all too expensive and her parents, Jabulani, 58 and Weziwe Xaba, 53, were unemployed.

The family survived on the little money Weziwe made from selling sweets and snacks outside her daughter's school.

Snikiwe used her cellphone to research online which natural ingredients were good in treating pimples. "I did an online research and discovered that aloe vera plant and marula oil can do the trick. I became interested in starting my own brand. I approached different skin-care manufacturers but most of them turned me down," she said.

Snikiwe sent a proposal to a Johannesburg-based skin care manufacturing company which liked her ideas. "I told them that I wanted to use natural products and they gave me some tips and agreed to help me."

The manufacturing company confirmed their involvement but did not want to be identified.

Snikiwe Xaba's problem with her skin, prompted her to start her own facial products.
Snikiwe Xaba's problem with her skin, prompted her to start her own facial products.
Image: Supplied

"It cost me R8 500 to produce the first batch of products and that was in December last year. I did not struggle to raise the capital because I had managed to save some money by selling sweets and muffins since my primary school days" she said.

She had R5 000 in her savings and her mother raised the other R3 500.

Snikiwe said she tested the products on herself before selling the rest using her Whatsapp platform.

Life has changed for the better for Snikiwe and her family as she now contributes to the household expenses.

"I am glad that I am able to buy clothes and food for my family members even though I did not start this business to make money but I wanted to help other people," she said.

Her online shop went up in December 2017. Her products are packaged by Dalgen Products & Services.

She is helped by her unemployed siblings Nkosiyabo, 21, who signs contracts Mandisa, 25, and Nhlanhla, 19, who deliver the products. She is only able to join them on weekends when she is not at school.

She said Natural Me helps with pimples, dark marks, uneven skin tone, acne, oily and dehydrated skin.

Nkosiyabo said the business was slow at first but after they advertised on social media networks it started booming.

"We started off with four to five orders a week and these days we're taking about four orders a day," he said.

Her father said Snikiwe showed business skills from an early age. "She is the kind of a child who will stand at the robots and sell 100 muffins within an hour. She is not shy when it comes to business. We are very proud of her but I want her to complete her studies first so that she can be able to survive in the future."

Snikiwe's clients vouched for her products. Ayanda Cele, 24, of Durban said she saw an advert on Snikiwe's Facebook account.

"I had a skin problem since I was a teenager. I had tried several products but nothing worked for me. However now with Natural Me I have gained back my confidence," she said.

Another happy client Kamoentle Trashair Ndlovu wrote on Facebook: "I have used different expensive products in my life for uneven skin tone and dark marks with no luck. I only used Natural Me for four weeks and I can already see a huge difference in my face. I don't even need make up anymore to cover the spots."

Snikiwe wants to be a lawyer one day.

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