Entrepreneur saw gap in the market and took it

Sarinah Matema-Morgans, the founder and managing director of Serenitii Luxury Body Care products. /Supplied
Sarinah Matema-Morgans, the founder and managing director of Serenitii Luxury Body Care products. /Supplied

Sarinah Matema-Morgans started her own skincare products company in 2008.

With its factory based in Joburg's Northcliff suburb, the Serenitii Luxury Body Care range - formulated specifically for the harsh African climate - is now well established. The range consists of soaps, lotions and spa products.

With the assistance of Proudly South African, the skincare range is making it onto the shelves of SA's big retail stores.

However, the road to Matema-Morgans's success was littered with obstacles.

"Besides the experience I gained working for international beauty and cosmetic companies, holding various positions from shop floor manager to store manager, counter manager and consultant, the impetus came when my friends complained about the non-availability of products specifically formulated for the African skin and the harsh conditions of the African sky," she explains.

"It was an eye-opener for me . how a skin exposed to the African sun was not catered for by the international brands.

"It can be a black, white or Indian skin. Its reaction to the sun is the same. I started researching and investing my earnings with the view of one day owning a skin range enterprise."

Her research pointed her to countries like Ghana and Nigeria, where an oil base called Oribi is used in skin products exposed to the African climate.

"It's unreal that we, as entrepreneurs, have so little or no knowledge about the assistance and funding at our disposal.

"I founded my start-up from my own pocket. It cost me so much at the beginning. It's unbelievable," she said.

"It was at a later stage that I approached organisations like the Small Enterprise Development Agency that I got assistance in doing lab testing to getting the product approved."

After only two years with her first store at the Newtown Market precinct in 2016, Matema-Morgans is getting returns on her investment.

Serenitii products are available at 70 Pick 'n Pay retailers in four of SA's nine provinces. She has also clinched a deal with Edgars for her range to be sold at 30 premier stores.

The company boasts a staff compliment of 16, from office staff to laboratory and factory workers, including testers, mixers, packers and shippers.

Matema-Morgans will exhibit for the third year at the Proudly South African Buy Local Summit and Expo at the Sandton Convention
Centre from March 14-15.