The beauty and skincare industry is ever-changing, expensive and so competitive. To climb the ladder you have to offer something unique that delivers results! Jena and Emi have recently launched the proudly South African brand Alchemy Elixzar – SA’s first seven-product CBD-infused skincare range.
Alchemy Elixzar is produced locally by Jena Goncalves, an acupuncturist and acudetox practitioner, and Emi Grobbelaar, a qualified somatologist. Go Hustle writer Ondela Mlandu taps into the minds of these powerhouse women.
In the business of beauty…
The legalisation of CBD in South Africa has opened so many doors for Alchemy Elixar. Jena says it’s always been a dream of hers to make others feels beautiful in their skin, but never did she think that her and Emi would be considered leaders in the CBD skincare industry.
Jena has always had an interest in skincare. “This is based on my own personal struggle with finding a solution for problem skin. My tertiary foundation was based on business and marketing studies, after which I decided to cross over to working in the medical industry. I was fortunate to spend some time in a medical school in Dubai with the company I worked with at that stage,” she says.
During 12 years in the medical industry, Jena was trained in different medical disciplines, including plastics, general surgery, urology, gynaecology, ENT, neurosurgery, cardiothoracic and anaesthesiology. “Eastern and alternative medicine started interesting me and I decided to study auricular acupuncture part-time. I currently also run an integrative practice where I practice auricular acupuncture and manage Alchemy Elixzar,” she says.
Emi studied somatology, then headed off to work on the cruise liners. She worked at many salons (nationally and internationally) and attended several skincare house trainings. “You learn exactly what goes into skincare. My passion has always been beauty and making people feel beautiful, so being able to enter the industry with a broad knowledge really makes is so fun to educate people about what works best for them,” she says.
How Alchemy Elixzar was born
Jena and Emi’s passion for developing CBD-infused skincare started when the product was legalised in the country. “I have always been aware of the incredible benefits of cannabis-based products, but because it wasn’t legal, it was a no-no,” says Jena. After chatting to a friend and being made aware that CBD was just legalised, the women decided to go to the US to do some product and market research on what is trending – and working. They joined forces soon after and so Alchemy Elixzar was born.
Competition in the skincare industry
“The beauty industry is so competitive you have to have courage in your conviction and we believe in our products,” says Jen. “We’re confident in [the range’s] amazing benefits. You have to stop comparing yourself to other businesses and focus on what you’ve achieved,” adds Emi.
Difficulties that arise in the beauty industry
Jena says launching their own skincare brand has been challenging, but it’s all about setting realistic goals and objectives and making sure you achieve them. “We’ve seen that hard work always pays off and consistency is key. With these qualities, growth is inevitable,” she says.
Networking as a business owner
1/ Always take everyone’s numbers and keep up with new beauty trends! The industry is always changing and you have to keep up with what’s new. It’s essential to use all your resources and create lasting connections with the right people.
2/ Internships opportunities with skincare houses are available. You can work yourself up, or go into formulation after studying.
3/ Make use of online platforms. There are many platforms you can use to enter the beauty industry. By talking to local beauty collages or doing online courses, you’ll broaden your knowledge and get into the industry that way.
4/ Ask questions! You should always be curious and want to know more.
An ode to your 21-year-old self?
At 21, Emi had just come off the cruise liners, working as a body specialist, and was so unhappy, thinking that there was no way for her to grow in this industry. “All I can say is that you should never ever stop pushing yourself to have the life you want,” she says. Jena believes that consistency is key. “If you do a little something every day, there is no doubt success is waiting around the corner,” she adds.
Passion above everything
Making other women and men feel confident and beautiful in their skin is a goal the Alchemy Elixzar team want to maintain. Seeing someone’s face light up when they feel good about themselves is the most rewarding feeling for the ladies “Most skin conditions can effect one’s self in a huge way. We’ve put together all possible resources to ensure we create a product that will help address skin conditions that affect most of us,” says Jena.
Advice for businesswomen
Never give up on your dreams. When you run your own business there are often no holidays, no weekends and many late nights, but the reality is… you are doing it all for yourself. Hard work pays off. Support each other and share your journeys! The advice you receive from one another is so helpful and sharing success is even more important. When you’ve found your calling, never give up on it!
What book should every young woman read?
Jena: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
Emi: The Secret is definitely one of my favourites! Manifesting a successful and thriving business and lifestyle is what we aim for. We constantly pray and speak life into our business.
The importance of self-care
The ladies are very flexible and lenient when it comes to their business and know and respect that each person has a busy life and family to get home to. “We take care of our health and bodies by eating healthy and exercising regularly. We even do facials on each other now and then,” says Emi.
Jena feels that they’re fortunate to be in a great partnership where they allow each other time off. “Regular yoga and exercise in combination with healthy food and doing things we love creates a healthy work environment,” she says.