The market for essential oils is booming all over the world. While the raw material is available in Africa, it remains to be developed, processed and exploited. This is the challenge of O’Nature, created by Maria Immanuel, from Namibia.
Maria Immanuel, a Namibian woman, holds a degree in economics applied to agriculture, with a master’s degree in international trade law. She has one conviction: her country needs an environment that offers attractive incentives to stimulate and strengthen women’s business models.
“This would stimulate growth in agriculture, textiles, including retail stores, the food sector including restaurants, and cosmetics, as these are women-driven industries”
Maria happens to be personal assistant to the chief adviser to the President of the Republic of Namibia, and an entrepreneur at the head of 0’Nature, a cosmetics company established in 2017.
“I came up with my own hair oil formula 3 years ago. O’Nature hot oil is essentially a mixture of coconut oil, olive oil, castor oil and almond oil which are developed primarily for the treatment of hot oil. I have found that one of the best natural hair care programs is hot oil treatment, which requires a perfect blend of oils. I decided to experiment with an all-in-one product, which saves having to mix several oils. After distributing the first samples to friends and family, they began to ask for more, which prompted me to invest in the development of a market-ready product. I officially launched the company in February 2017 and started working from my kitchen counter, but I have since signed a contract with a manufacturer to produce O’Nature Hair Oil products. Our key targets are people who want to grow and care for their natural hair and more broadly every hair salon in Africa. Consumers can now order through our e-shop as well. We also buy products from small manufacturers and market them via our distribution channels.”
Maria is also a musician with the dream of seeing her music broadcast all over Africa, notably via her YouTube channel (https://youtu.be/SItxPHTG6H0). For now, she has harnessed Africa’s potential in the field of essential oils, a sector that is booming worldwide. A journey not without challenges, confesses the young woman.
“The ongoing challenge is to stimulate marketing and distribution so that everyone can enjoy access to our products in the domestic market. It is also in our interest to export to other parts of Africa, but government regulations on the export of cosmetics are strict. In addition, it takes time to develop a reputable brand…”
I will create a cosmetics distribution network in Africa.
One of her motivations for attending the WIA Summit: “I wanted other African countries to know about my company, to ease market access across the continent. I was able to make connections with other cosmetics manufacturers in Africa and we hope to sell their products through our online store, so that we can not only offer a wider range of products to our customers, but also create an African cosmetics chain. O’Nature seeks to permanently increase its product line, and the summit helped in that regard. I will create a cosmetics distribution network in Africa. This is my focus. We are also in the process of finishing our first shampoos made in Namibia, so I look forward to marketing that product in Africa as well.”