Going natural pays off for this hairtrepreneur
Zokufa aims to liberate schoolgirls
She discovered her passion when she braided her classmates’ hair at university, but since then Honey Zokufa has transitioned into an ambassador for natural hair maintenance – and turned this passion into a lucrative business.
Just two months after launching Honey Comb – her proudly South African range of organic haircare products – Zokufa, 30, said the business was going from strength to strength.
“The company went public in March,” she said.
“We have a history of girls [getting into trouble over their hair] at school and the stigma of natural hair not being clean enough.
“I plan to walk with each [of my clients] in their new-found relationship with healthy hair.
“My approach is that I want to fix your crown without telling the whole world it is skew.
“It’s liberating to accept the way you were born.
“[With my natural hair] I can go into a boardroom feeling more confident – I’m not trying to be someone I’m not.
“I’m all for embracing yourself, whether you have coily, kinky or hard hair.”
Her products, manufactured in Durban and sold over Facebook and Instagram, are not solely for African women.
“It’s for anyone who wants to maintain their hair in its natural form, from five to 65 . . . essentially the whole family.
“There are a lot of women, [especially] mothers, transitioning to natural hair, but also fathers who hear their daughters cry over hair, or single fathers who don’t really know about haircare for their daughters. I feel I carry [their] troubles, because I want it to be a journey.”
It was her daughter Lisa who inspired Zokufa to launch the haircare range.
“I bought a salon with Sibu Sundu in Despatch called Amazing You in 2011.
“Shortly after, I started a job in the automotive industry, where I worked for five years.
“As my daughter grew up, it was a mission to do her hair.
“I started researching what works and became a product junkie.
“It was a mission not to use chemicals in her hair, but that is how Honey Comb was born.”
She registered the brand and immediately began searching for a manufacturing facility, settling on a business in Durban in 2016.
“The whole of [last year] was spent on trial and error.
“I wanted purely natural, organic ingredients.
“I went to the laboratory to see where it was made, because it is my name attached to the brand.”
However, Zokufa – who still works as a medical rep – hopes to move the manufacturing to Port Elizabeth in future.
“Eventually I want to manufacture my products here.
“It would eliminate the two-week wait for shipping, and could be a plus to the [Bay] economy as jobs would be created and women would be trained.
“Hopefully I can get my own shop in PE in the next two years.
“I want to train [women as consultants] so we can break away from people overseas telling us how to care for our hair.”
“Our parents had to [use chemicals on our hair], but it spoiled our hair.
“I never want my daughter to feel she’s not enough, or that she needs a weave to be good enough.”