Afri-Berry set to be an International power player
Founder and owner of the proudly South African skin and hair brand Afri-Berry, Relebohile Moeng, is on a quest to take her multimillion-rand cosmetic range to international markets.
Mrs. Moeng, who describes her creation as a premium, organic skin and hair repair brand, also has major plans to increase the range’s markets share domestically.
She founded Afr-Berry in 2011 after leaving her executive officer job at the South African Optometric Association.
Mrs. Moeng traces her venture into entrepreneurship to 2009, the year she survived a car accident that led to 150 stitches on her face. She tried different organic products to help with her scarring to no avail until she came across the cold pressed argan oil.
With the help of the Department of Trade and Industry, the 38-year-old married mother of two imported the oil from Morocco as she had identified a gap in the market. She started the company from scratch with an initial capital of R10 000 which enabled her to rent a small office space, employing 15 people within six months.
Mrs. Moeng, who now holds an MBA from GIBS Business School, gave out samples to people try out, and within two months she was getting calls from potential government business investors.
Today Afri-Berry products are sold at retail stores not only in South Africa but also in Namibia, Swaziland, and Botswana.
The products are also stocked by South African retailers (Pick n Pay, Edgars, Zando, Faithful to Nature and soon to be stocked at Checkers, and Spar) and SA independent retailers. The company has an outline store in New Zealand.
Mrs. Moeng traveled to the US, Nigeria, China, Tokyo, Mozambique, India, and Italy to exhibit at trade shows, assess the readiness of the markets for her products and look at trends. However, she bemoans the trading restrictions to the European Union Markets. “To get certified costs R500 000,” she says.
She says it is a blessing that the African Union has come up with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
Mrs. Moeng’s plans are to increase the company’s domestic market share by approaching more organic health stores.
She is now in talks to sell her products in the Nigerian market.
“Our turnover is R15m per annum. It’s by God’s grace because we are not doing any TTL marketing. It’s pure word of mouth,” Moeng says.
“We already have an online store in New Zealand. But the long term plan is to start exporting to the US, Japan, China, and Hong Kong. The numbers are there for us to be an international player”.
Afri-Berry has thus far won the best hair and beauty entrepreneur of the year, and best natural hair product range awards in 2018. Other accolades include the African Corporate Excellent Awards (2015), Acquisition International (2016), and the City of Ekurhuleni’s Best Empowerment Partner on Youth Empowerment for 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Mrs. Moeng says the awards are close to her heart because they are African. “This is special because as an emerging company it’s very difficult to play with the big guys”.
“It has been a blessing to add to other awards we have, to endorse what we do and what we stand for.” She says her company understands the needs of Africans better, is closer to the people and is involved in community-based initiatives and events. Mrs. Moeng believes that there is no formula to success but stresses that passion has a way of leading where one needs to be.
Facebook: Afri-Berry SA
By Wandile Dyosi