Vuyisile Zondi's skincare range receives glowing reviews
Matters of beauty or rather beautification are as old as time.
Tales of how women in bygone eras used natural ingredients to paint, pluck and plump their features are common.
Recently, the beauty industry worldwide has once again returned to its natural roots.
Though we may not be using berries to stain lips any longer, we're rediscovering the benefits of shea butter and essential oils.
A woman who has managed to return to the natural while creating a fast-growing brand with glowing customer reviews is Pietermaritzburg-born entrepreneur Vuyisile Zondi.
Zondi is the owner of beauty business Corium Skincare. After battling acne and being plagued by bad skin, Zondi, who has a passion for grooming, started experimenting with various natural ingredients to provide a solution for her plight.
"I started experimenting with different mixes or DIY mixes which I would later share with friends and family, who encouraged me to commercialise the hobby. Corium Skincare is a business grown out of a passion and hobby."
The 30-year-old started selling her homemade elixirs to friends and family. She gradually moved to social media and that's when the business became official. The beauty brand has been around since 2016. Her skincare range consists of facial cleansing bars, body butters, masks and scrubs. These fall under the Corium Naturals, Corium Luxe and Corium Spa-Grade categories.
The Naturals range was the debut offering and the oils and cleansing bars followed soon after. In 2018 the brand launched its signature face mask and Spa Grade products.
It seems Zondi has thought of everything as she also has some anti-ageing skincare products such as the Pomegranate Luxe Pure Oil which she recommends for ageing skin, as well as the Anti-Ageing Hibiscus Cleansing Bar.
The products range from R80-200. The skincare range also has listed stockists in Harare, Zimbabwe, and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
When she started, Zondi faced a few challenges as entrepreneurs are wont to do. She had problems sourcing raw materials as she didn't have a database of suppliers because she was mainly using the internet to get information on these ingredients and suppliers. Another challenge was her lack of a dermatology qualification.
"I do not have a science, dermatology or somatology background, so my initial fears were about getting the products to be as safe as possible and making sure that whatever we sell as Corium will not make clients' skin worse."
However these concerns are a thing of the past. The former management consultant says the products now carry certificates of analysis and undergo Material Safety Data testing to ensure that they are safe and suitable for use.
"We use natural or botanical formulations which are based on traditional beauty practices in Africa, Asia and around certain parts of the world."
Zondi believes the beauty industry in the country is rich and growing exponentially. She also believes there are ample opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses like hers. She said one of her highlights on her entrepreneurial journey with Corium skincare was "the support we have received, in what has relatively been a short space of time".
"We enjoy incredibly positive brand advocacy and support as Corium. I am most proud of our growth trajectory."
Zondi's parting advice: "Hydrate, drink lots of water. Always wear sunscreen, even if you do not see the sun. Know your skin type; what works for Thoko may not work for you."