How 21-year-old found her footing in the cosmetic business

21-year-old Cheyenne Muvunyi is the founder of ‘Glow Force’ that sells organic hair and skin care products. / Photo: Courtesy

Feeling at odds with what you see in the mirror can make it a bit challenging for many, to step out the front door and feel confident about the day ahead. 

Seeing how improving her skin and hair boosted her confidence, Cheyenne Muvunyi, a 21-year-old businesswoman, realised the need to help others dealing with hair and skin problems. Last year, she founded a haircare and skincare company ‘Glow Force’, that sells locally made plant-based products at an affordable price.

 

“A lot of people think about skincare and haircare to be a shallow thing to find importance. But growing up, and my experience in school, I know that things like acne really affect who you are. It’s a very superficial thing but quite deep in the sense that the way you look can affect your confidence, if you have skin issues.

 

“There are studies that link confidence to work output and school performance. I recognised it as a very important issue like any other. And also because improving my skin and my hair boosted my confidence, helped me start my YouTube channel and after understanding how important it is, I wanted to help others,” she says.

 

Start-up story

With the help of the internet, Muvunyi had been formulating her own organic skincare products for herself, made from natural oils, shea butter and clays and would often share with her friends.

“Glow Force started off based on a need that I had, and recognised with peers, that it was difficult to get the haircare and skincare products that we needed. We were always sending somebody from abroad to bring us what worked for us. After so much frustration I thought, ‘let me be part of the solutions to this,” she says.

The positive results were an assurance that she had found something she could pour all her passion into. But even though she’d had the magic “lightbulb moment” the first hurdle was finding the capital to begin her venture.

“When I wanted to start my company, I told my parents with the hope that they would support me financially, but they didn’t really see the vision that I had and thought that it would be a very short-lived business. So I had to save every bit of money which eventually accumulated to buy a few bottles and ingredients.

“With a lot of research, I was able to get a supplier who got me high quality ingredients at a fair price and they helped me out. Once I was ready to take that leap, I announced the business on Instagram,” she shares.

In this age, social media has been a vital marketing tool and luckily for her, her experience working in social media management at some local companies gave her an idea of how social media works — not just for her brand as a video blogger, but also to run her new business.

Soon enough, overwhelming demand was streaming in and to supply that demand, she borrowed some cash from a cousin whom she says having used her products believed in the business and gave her the extra boost to soar.

Her hair products cater for natural and relaxed hair while her bestseller, the face serum, has ingredients that are specifically targeted to people who have acne and hyperpigmentation that they want to get rid of.

For Muvunyi though, it’s not just improving and marketing the products that matters to the business. Educating her clients on general skin and hair health is vital in seeing positive results.

“A lot of our clients have been consistent for a long time. We make it a point to not just make our social media page a marketing tool, but also an educational platform where we advise and remind followers that skincare is not just about the products but also a reflection of what they eat and drink,” she says.

She adds, “Also, people assume that some of the products we sell have bleaching properties because they fade hyperpigmentation and that the products work for certain skin tones. This is where I use Instagram as an educational tool that there is correlation between skin tone and its health.

“I have people who write to me demanding for a date and a time when the results will be visible once they use our products. I have to explain to them that it’s about patience, consistency and that our products are not a magical solution.”

Bigger plans

For the past one year, Muvunyi has been handling the entire production and packaging process with the help of her sister at their home. With the growing demand, however, she is in the process of investing in bigger and better equipment to cater for a wider clientele.

“A lot of our clients find the products sold out, a very stressful experience so starting next month, I want to make many products to reach as many people. Another expansion process is shipping products abroad because I have been getting orders from people from different parts of the world.

“Also we want to do a rebranding as well as marketing campaigns to reach a wider audience,” she says of her plans.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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