With Krugersdorp roots and a family drive for an education, ‘Thoko’ duly completed university and followed a career in programming and business intelligence.
But, frustrated by the hair care products on the retail shelves being marketed to black women, Thoko felt compelled to seek out her own organic solutions for maintaining her naturally managed, long Afro hair. Nilotiqa was researched and formulated in 2014; and launched in 2016 as a natural and organic hair care product solution to dry, brittle hair.
“Like most African women, our hair is characterised by kinky curls and grows closer to the scalp which makes it a challenge for our hair’s natural oils to travel down the hair strands to its tips. Nilotiqa is an organic and homegrown solution to maintaining your hair’s natural moisture,” she explains.
Whether you wear a weave or braids, Nilotiqa keeps what is beneath - your natural hair - in its healthiest state,” she says.
When African hair is not adequately retaining moisture, it can lead to several conditions, "such as dandruff, thinning of the hair, a receding hairline, or even worse hair falling out. These conditions can then have a significant impact on the health and aesthetic of the African coil.”
Entrepreneur access into the Marketplace Celebrating her grass roots success at delivering a solution to her new fans and followers who were overusing harsh, chemical treatments, Thoko was optimistic about being able to share her product with all African women on the local retail shelves.
“I had no understanding of the ‘retail of retail’,” she laughs. “I pounded the pavements, made weekly calls to the major retail outlets where I knew I needed to be if I wanted to reach and speak to my local audience but none of the retailers were ready for my products.”
With no option for failure having left her corporate career in 2017 to follow her dream of success with a solution specifically suited for curly, African hair, Thoko says she quickly learnt what it was to have an abnormal amount of persistence.
I learnt how to speak up. I found out how to make myself more visible. I didn’t have an option to give up. I would cry on the bathroom floor and grind through months and months without an income. I could not imagine Nilotiqa not fulfilling its highest potential.