One of the things I love the most about social media is its ability to connect us to people that can turn into business associates, friends, mentors and so much more. Had it not been for social media, I would have probably never “met” the three brilliant and wonderful women that have turned into contributors for this platform. Social media also introduced me to a fiery student, who enjoyed dancing and a good night out with her friends. When Vuyisile Zondi a.k.a. @JustVuyi announced in 2011 that she had gotten her BSc. Honours from the prestigious Wits University, we were all elated for her.
We were even more elated when she announced she was buying her first car. When Vuyi shared the exciting news of her new role, as a Management Consultant at a top Joburg firm, my whole twitter timeline was beaming with pride. What I quickly took out from Vuyi’s use of the Twitter app was constant engagement with her followers, which has led to an outpouring of support for all endeavours. Through our encounter with Vuyi, we also learnt of her love for skincare and beauty products, which led to her starting the curated Twitter hashtag #GirlTalkZA with a friend. Her interest in natural skincare products saw her making skincare elixirs for herself and close friends as a hobby, resulting in the birth of her very own brand, Corium Naturals.
Below is our chat with the lady at the forefront of the Beauty Empire on the rise:
We believe the strength of a brand’s identity lies not in the actual product, but rather the philosophy of which the brand was built on. What values were used to build Corium Naturals?
The brand Corium is built on the hallmarks of simplicity, purity and credibility. The natural skincare solutions presented by the brand are wholly natural and botanical. Corium is founded on traditional beauty practices such as traditional African, Himalayan and Ayurvedic practices. Corium’s point of differentiation is our use of the purest ingredients, and where possible unrefined, organically certified raw material. Corium endeavours to partner with clients by educating them on the benefits of natural products and allowing them to make an informed decision.
We have written a guide on “How To Build A Beauty Empire” modelled after Kylie Jenner’s approach to her cosmetics brand, Kylie Cosmetics. However, we imagine your journey to have been a lot different from that of Ms Jenner. What would you say have been some of the challenges you faced in establishing your skincare brand?
Because Corium products are mostly handcrafted, we have partners who supply the raw materials and whose guidance we rely on. They have “trained” us in areas such as the new addition of ECOCERT certified preservatives, making the products not complex to manufacture. However, the challenge we have faced with handcrafted cosmetics is batching; you have to get the measurements and batching identical so that the end user satisfaction is uniform. When we experience a bad batch, it results to wastage therefore we take the utmost pride in making sure that the products are of the best quality achievable.
Alongside the growth your brand continues to see, including being listed at Plush Luxury Concept Store in Braamfontein, where would you like to see the Corium Naturals brand in the next few years?
I would like to see Corium listed in more stores. I would also love for Corium products to be ECOCERT certified in their formal form, rather than the certification of the separate input ingredients.
You have recently expanded your brand to include a luxury range, Corium Luxe. What inspired this direction?
Corium Luxe was inspired by the gap for African-owned luxury natural skincare brands. There is a discerning upper-LSM customer who wants natural skincare, and wants the very best in it – she is our target!
Corium Luxe is one of the ranges under the Corium Skincare umbrella, it is our upper-end positioned range. Corium Luxe is positioned to be a luxurious natural skincare range, which caters to the needs of African skin using the best natural ingredients, and superior formulations to deliver a high-quality range.
She may not be a celebrity, but her ability to turn her hobby into a sustainable brand, while using her social media engagement skills to promote it, is exactly what GTC encompasses. Vuyi Zondi is definitely one to watch! We can’t wait to see what other exciting plans she has for the Corium Naturals brand.