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Local Beauty Products

Divya Vasant is the founder and CEO of AMAZI, a social impact brand by women for women. She chats to Go Hustle about trends, the new appreciation for local beauty products, the role of the beauty industry in economic revival and how her brand is tapping into that.

Why beauty is a particularly powerful tool for economic growth

“The beauty industry creates earning opportunities for millions of women who dream of better futures,” says Divya. “And importantly, it’s an industry supported by the historically consistent and continuously growing demand for self-care. By underestimating the power of the industry, we are losing out on the $400 billion global market that is growing at 5% yearly.”

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The role it can play in SA’s economic revival

“There’s a lot of commentary about what would ignite a South African economic revival,” says Divya. “Boosting manufacturing, supporting entrepreneurship and getting more women economically active are three points that consistently make the list of talked-about solutions.

“If we know that 61% of the 18 million active female shoppers in South Africa spend monthly on self-care products, why haven’t we incentivised local product innovation? Why haven’t we directed more investment towards encouraging South African women to create beauty products? 

“Perhaps now is the time for us to reframe how we think about the beauty industry. If we can see it as a powerful tool for socioeconomic progress, we will see that the opportunities to invest in local, women-owned talent and the potential for women to build businesses are plenty.”

AMAZI Beauty is tapping into the trend 

“Our recently launched skincare line, AMAZI Beauty, is a reflection of South Africa’s local production potential, the amazing indigenous plants we have access to as South Africans and our belief that women’s spending on self-care is a powerful tool when leveraged to fund and fuel impact,” says Divya. “Our dream to launch an accessible, quality, South African sourced, produced and packaged product that would support AMAZI’s skills development programme was born out of conversations with women.”

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They did some research, and the findings were pretty interesting…

“Just after the president announced the first level 5 lockdown in March 2020, our team went into deep customer research mode. We just wanted to immerse ourselves in the minds of South African women to understand how the sudden changes to the way we live were impacting them. We hosted focus groups weekly to talk through everything from mental health to self-care. 

“During one of our conversations, women brought up how accessing their usual international skincare brand was becoming tricky. Online stores were selling out and couldn’t restock because product just wasn’t moving globally. At the same time, women were messaging us asking for our advice on what local products they could try and this sparked our curiosity for the South African product landscape.

“We began asking women to bring their favourite beauty product to our online focus groups because we wanted to get a sense of how many women looked to international products to meet their self-care needs. The very first time we asked women to reveal their favourite products, everyone held up an international brand proudly to their cameras. 

“As we moved out of lockdown, women were still struggling to access international brands and at the same time the awareness and appreciation for the quality we have locally started being celebrated. We continued asking women to bring their fave beauty product to our online conversations and, interestingly, when asked to hold their product of choice up to the camera, more started showing local product and those still using international brands seemed almost embarrassed by their choice.”

Gap in the market anyone?

Divya Vasant is a purpose-driven entrepreneur, founder & CEO of AMAZI. She’s experienced in building sustainable, impactful business models that use the power of eco-systems to affect change.

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