At 20 years old, Halima Hussein is the Founder of H.H Glam, a cosmetic company that manufactures premium natural and organic Lip-gloss for the African woman. The company which she founded less than a year ago is banking on the growing number of young and health-conscious women in the continent who prefer the pricey natural and organic beauty products that are harmless to the body.
“I noticed that there was a gap in the market for a cosmetic brand that did not have tonnes of synthetic chemicals; considering that the skin is the largest part of the body, I wanted a product that women will feel good to use and still safer for their skins.”
The most common chemicals in skincare products are parabens, bisphenol A (BPA, and phthalates. Research has indicated these chemicals are toxic and detrimental to the human body. While this is so, the uptake of natural and organic labels has significantly increased in the organic personal care products market, impacting it favourably on the global front and just in the continent. The global organic personal care ingredients market size is expected to reach US$11.1 billion by 2025 increasing at a rate of 5.4%.
H.H Glam first product is the Lip-gloss and Halima uses a variety of locally available organic ingredients including Shea butter, avocado oil, cocoa butter and vitamin E among others.
“We chose those ingredients for their distinct and specific value; Shea and cocoa butter are SFP (sun protection factor) and Vitamin E is the most important one as it helps the skin retain water…and of course, avocado oil which is my favourite as it helps heal and fix chapped lips.”
Halima worked for Shea Organics, a local company that also produces organic beauty products- where she was able to learn more about the organic beauty industry in Kenya. And this also included knowing the specific ingredients, where to source them and which manufacturer to work with in Nairobi.
She used US$1000 from her savings as capital to manufacture the first production batch which was sold out even though the product is priced up to five times the average price of a synthetic Lip-gloss.
While she was born in Kenya where she also undertook her “O” levels, Halima who is the second born with three sisters has also grown up in Ghana, the U.S and Nigeria as her parents working.
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This young entrepreneur is in a mission to formulate, promote and deliver safe beauty products in the hands of African women. She is planning to release more products before the year comes to a close.
“I am a makeup enthusiast; I see my future in the beauty industry, and I wanted to know if this future is viable. I thought there is no better time to invest all my time and money into it as I do not have many financial obligations.”
Below are the key learning points from her journey:
What are some of the obstacles you have faced through the journey?
Reliable delivery service has been an issue up until now, secondly, exhaustion has also been an obstacle as it is a one-woman company even though I stay motivated to push myself and the company forward each week.
What leadership lessons can your advice a young person who is venturing into entrepreneurship?
To plan their venture well, to know that at the beginning the only belief you need in your venture and in yourself is your own. Be your biggest fan. Never allow doubts. Push yourself and your business a step higher after reaching a goal.
What are your hidden inspiration sources? What best motivates you? How do you get new ideas?
The kind of lifestyle I would like to live in the future. To make my mother proud and enable her to live an ever more comfortable life than the one she has shown us. I think of what would catch my eye as a consumer and I try to make it a reality.
What sacrifices have you had to make to get you where you are now?
My free time. I could have spent with friends, and I could have also spent money on my favourite shoes. However, everything is now balancing out in my eyes as I am building my future.
Do you think being an entrepreneur has turned you into a better person? How?
Much better money management skills as I learn how to separate personal and business money while I practice being prudent.
I am 20 years old but before this, I viewed myself as simply a teenager; but this experience has ideally forced me out of that mindset and into the real world where I am a working woman conversing with adults in important settings. It has also defiantly taught me how to carry myself in these situations.
What was the toughest moment you have experienced in your business practice? How did you succeed to get over it and move forward?
I think my toughest moment was at the beginning when my formulation pricing was much higher than organically quoted it complexly threw off my budget for the business and I didn’t have enough capital to start out. However, I exchanged 20% of my shares for external investment and made it happen. It is in this moment I learnt things happening in business is so volatile, yet I still have to survive.