Blending the old with the new is key to attracting new consumers not only from the diaspora but also from outside Africa and the Caribbean. Founder Riha Okuniwa said few high-end beauty brands were selling ingredients like shea butter and African black soap, a natural source known for its exfoliating and deep-cleansing properties, overseas. The strategy is to modernize these products and serve new communities in the diaspora.
Charlotte Mensah, founder of London-based Charlotte Mensah Manketti, has created a line of hair products designed for Afro, mixed and curly hair types. She sources her ingredients from Ghana, including her raw shea butter. But the key ingredient is manchetti oil, extracted from the Mongongo tree, which is native to southern Africa. Mensah has expanded her collection to include hair oils, shampoos and conditioners, and is gearing up to launch a scalp scrub she’s been using at her salon since 2017. Scalp care is something that is under-discussed among black people. Community, she says. She said, “There’s a big movement of girls who wear wigs, always have their hair in braids, and don’t give their hair or scalp a rest. There are a lot of scalp issues out there.” [from dryness to an itchy scalp]…and for me, hair health is more important than styling. That’s why we launch this product. ‘ Tracking products at the salon was key to getting her attention, she added.
This is a trend that experts have also identified as occurring within the continent. “There is also a growing focus on scalp care and hair health, and we expect to see more in the future, with a focus on using locally sourced natural ingredients,” said WGSN researcher Raeesa Bray. Masu. “Brands such as Amila in Nigeria, Suki Suki Naturals in South Africa and Nokware in Ghana are spearheading this effort.”
African brands in international markets now have the opportunity to build global businesses that embrace ingredients from the African continent. This formula has proven success with Shea Moisture and others. They have won the support of diaspora communities who are keen to support brands in Africa and diaspora.
“You’re already in a lucky position when you’re in a crowded market and bring in something that people have never seen before with a clear distinction,” says Riha Okuniwa of Riha. .
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