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Wallowing In Money

A casual remark, by a friend reluctant to take a bath, made Ludwick Marishane a successful entrepreneur at just 23.

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It was a winter’s day in 2007. Ludwick Marishane was sunbathing outside one of his high school friend’s home in Limpopo, near the border with Zimbabwe. Here, even in winter, it’s hot. One of his friends was reluctant to bathe.  Marishane and others nagged him to go and shower. The grimy companion shot back with the question: “Why doesn’t someone invent something you can just put on your skin and avoid the need to bathe?”

With that question ringing in his ears, Marishane went home and began research. He found nothing, but a huge gap in the market. He found that there were 2.5 billion people in the world, of whom, 450 million were in Africa, without running water. Marishane was just 17 with few resources and a love for science. The statistics spurred him on. A few months later, Marishane scribbled the formula into the new product that was to make his fortune. He applied for a patent and launched his start-up, called Headboy Industries Inc.

Three years later, while studying at the University of Cape Town (UCT), Marishane crafted this formula into DryBath, the world’s first bath-substituting skin gel that cleans without water.

“Growing up in the township, where you poured water in a bowl, is not fun, especially in winter. I don’t like this, and I find it quite undignifying, having to kneel and wash myself with water spilling everywhere. You’re using too much soap and you’re not even rinsing yourself properly,” says Marishane. With DryBath, one can avoid this tedious process.

“You put it on, rub it off and wipe with a cloth and you’re done. You’re clean. And you could have done it anywhere,” says Marishane.

It has the same effect as an anti-bacterial cleanser, but it is odorless as it cleanses and moisturizes.

“It’s actually unhealthy for people to be bathing twice a day, especially if you’re not gyming. That’s why the different lotions are always trying to repair the damage done to the skin,” says Marishane.

All good, so far, then there was the question of money.

With the patent for DryBath in the bag, Marishane sought funding from about 80 investors. In vain.

“You’re too young and this product is too expensive,” they said.

As a last resort, Marishane entered competitions in a bid to fund his business with prize money. It worked.

“To date we’ve never had to raise debt or get outside investment. That’s how we’ve been able to own the company and everything included,” he says.

DryBath is sold to airlines and armies. Headboy Industries Inc. is currently designing a 500ml bottle and tube to replace sachets, which are expensive to make.

“So we decided now to put it in bottles, that would provide enough baths for a whole month. And we are going to sell that for about $4, which is essentially the price you’d pay for four or five sachets,” he says.

As we talk in his Cape Town apartment on another winter’s day, six years after his invention, the 23-year-old UCT graduate was proud to say he had not bathed for three days.

Marishane has sold more than 258,000 sachets of his product which is produced and packaged in Somerset West, just outside Cape Town.

He had been running Headbody Industries Inc. as sole proprietor for the past five years until he found a partner this year. He acknowledges working alone was his biggest weakness. The ‘silent partner’ who merely goes by the name Lungile, walks in, drops off a few packages and quickly leaves. The partner wants to remain in the background.

“I didn’t have the advantages of having a team, someone to bounce ideas off and get things done really quickly. It’s really rare to actually find somebody like him. Too many people agree with me. Too many people get intimidated by me,” says Marishane.

It’s difficult to handle success, he says.

“Because you can find tons and tons of books that will tell you to work until 1AM in the morning, have the passion, push, drive etc. But there aren’t too many books that teach you how to handle it when the dream starts coming true,” he says.

There have been failures along the way. Earlier this year they launched the “NoBathing campaign” online, where they hoped to raise funds for the company and for charity. They asked people to pledge not to bath and donate funds that would sponsor DryBath sachets for people who needed them. The campaign failed and raised a mere $2,096, well short of the $500,000 target.

“I would say we are not social media guys, and we’ve never gone public with the product. We don’t sell retail. Our inexperience with the identity we’ve given the product is what made us have a mixed message with the campaign,” he admits.

But he won’t give up that easily and will re-introduce the programme again when the time is right.

And the future?

“Our plan is not to become the “DryBath” company for the next five to 10 years. The plan is to get the product out, get people using it and sell the brand off to one of the bigger players who have the distribution, who have the man-power to push behind it, allowing it to achieve its maximum social and profitability impact,” he says.

Headboy Industries Inc. also has three other projects in the pipeline that they are hoping will get off to a good start. In the next six months they will be piloting a development entrepreneurship platform for university students with Coronation, a fund management company.

For now, Marishane and his incognito partner are changing the way tens of thousands of people bath, without a drop of water in sight.

Entrepreneurs

From The Arab World To Africa

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Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi; image supplied

In this exclusive interview with FORBES AFRICA, successful Dubai-based Emirati businesswoman, author and artist, Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi, shares some interesting insights on fashion, the future, and feminism in a shared world.

Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi wears many hats, as an artist, architect, author, entrepreneur and philanthropist based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). She currently serves as the CEO of Paris London New York Events & Publishing (PLNY), that includes a magazine and a fashion house.

She runs Velvet Magazine, a luxury lifestyle publication in the Gulf founded in 2010 that showcases the diversity of the region home to several nationalities from around the world.

In this recent FORBES AFRICA interview, Hend, as she would want us to call her, speaks about the future of publishing, investing in intelligent content, and learning to be a part of the disruption around you.

As an entrepreneur too and the designer behind House of Hend, a luxury ready-to-wear line that showcases exquisite abayas, evening gowns and contemporary wear, her designs have been showcased in fashion shows across the world.

The Middle East is known for retail, but not typically, as a fashion hub in the same league as Paris, New York or Milan. Yet, she has changed the narrative of fashion in the region. “I have approached the world of fashion with what the customer wants,” says Hend. In this interview, she also extols African fashion talent and dwells on her own sartorial plans for the African continent.

In September, in Downtown Dubai, she is scheduled to open The Flower Café. Also an artist using creative expression meaningfully, she says it’s important to be “a role model of realism”.

She is also the author of The Black Book of Arabia, described as a collection of true stories from the Arab community offering a real glimpse into the lives of men and women across the Gulf Cooperation Council region.

In this interview, she also expounds on her home, Sharjah, one of the seven emirates in the UAE and the region’s educational hub. “A number of successful entrepreneurs have started in this culturally-rich emirate that’s home to 30 museums,” she concludes. 

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Kim Kardashian West Is Worth $900 Million After Agreeing To Sell A Stake In Her Cosmetics Firm To Coty

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In what will be the second major Kardashian cashout in a year, Kim Kardashian West is selling a 20% stake in her cosmetics company KKW Beauty to beauty giant Coty COTY for $200 million. The deal—announced today—values KKW Beauty at $1 billion, making Kardashian West worth about $900 million, according to Forbes’estimates.

The acquisition, which is set to close in early 2021, will leave Kardashian West the majority owner of KKW Beauty, with an estimated 72% stake in the company, which is known for its color cosmetics like contouring creams and highlighters. Forbes estimates that her mother, Kris Jenner, owns 8% of the business. (Neither Kardashian West nor Kris Jenner have responded to a request for comment about their stakes.) According to Coty, she’ll remain responsible for creative efforts while Coty will focus on expanding product development outside the realm of color cosmetics.

Earlier this year, Kardashian West’s half-sister, Kylie Jenner, also inked a big deal with Coty, when she sold it 51% of her Kylie Cosmetics at a valuation of $1.2 billion. The deal left Jenner with a net worth of just under $900 million. Both Kylie Cosmetics and KKW Beauty are among a number of brands, including Anastasia Beverly Hills, Huda Beauty and Glossier, that have received sky-high valuations thanks to their social-media-friendly marketing. 

“Kim is a true modern-day global icon,” said Coty chairman and CEO Peter Harf in a statement. “This influence, combined with Coty’s leadership and deep expertise in prestige beauty will allow us to achieve the full potential of her brands.”

The deal comes just days after Seed Beauty, which develops, manufactures and ships both KKW Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics, won a temporary injunction against KKW Beauty, hoping to prevent it from sharing trade secrets with Coty, which also owns brands like CoverGirl, Sally Hansen and Rimmel. On June 19, Seed filed a lawsuit against KKW Beauty seeking protection of its trade secrets ahead of an expected deal between Coty and KKW Beauty. The temporary order, granted on June 26, lasts until August 21 and forbids KKW Beauty from disclosing details related to the Seed-KKW relationship, including “the terms of those agreements, information about license use, marketing obligations, product launch and distribution, revenue sharing, intellectual property ownership, specifications, ingredients, formulas, plans and other information about Seed products.”

Coty has struggled in recent years, with Wall Street insisting it routinely overpays for acquisitions and has failed to keep up with contemporary beauty trends. The coronavirus pandemic has also hit the 116-year-old company hard. Since the beginning of the year, Coty’s stock price has fallen nearly 60%. The company, which had $8.6 billion in revenues in the year through June 2019, now sports a $3.3 billion market capitalization. By striking deals with companies like KKW Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics, Coty is hoping to refresh its image and appeal to younger consumers.

Kardashian West founded KKW Beauty in 2017, after successfully collaborating with Kylie Cosmetics on a set of lip kits. Like her half-sister, Kardashian West first launched online only, but later moved into Ulta stores in October 2019, helping her generate estimated revenues of $100 million last year. KKW Beauty is one of several business ventures for Kardashian West: She continues to appear on her family’s reality show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, sells her own line of shapewear called Skims and promotes her mobile game, Kim Kardashian Hollywood. Her husband, Kanye West, recently announced a deal to sell a line of his Yeezy apparel in Gap stores.

“This is fun for me. Now I’m coming up with Kimojis and the app and all these other ideas,” Kardashian West told Forbesof her various business ventures in 2016. “I don’t see myself stopping.”

Madeline Berg, Forbes Staff, Hollywood & Entertainment

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Entrepreneurs

Covid-19: Restaurants, Beauty Salons, Cinemas Among Businesses That Will Operate Again In South Africa As Ramaphosa Announces Eased Lockdown Restrictions

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South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation announcing that the government will further ease the country’s lockdown restrictions.

Restaurants, beauty salons, cinemas are among the businesses that will be allowed to operate again in South Africa.

The country is still on lockdown ‘Level 3’ of the government’s “risk adjusted strategy”.

President Ramaphosa also spoke on the gender based violence in the country.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that I stand before the women and the girls of South Africa this evening to talk about another pandemic that is raging in our country. The killing of women and children by the men of our country. As a man, as a husband, and as a father to daughters, I am appalled at what is no less than a war that is being waged against the women and the children of our country,” says Ramaphosa.

Watch below:

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