Vuyisile Zondi and her Corium Naturals skin-care range, right.
‘IF Mother Nature didn’t make it, you won’t find it in our jars.”

Vuyisile Zondi and her Corium Naturals skin-care range, right.

That’s the brand statement from 27-year-old Pietermaritzburg-born businesswoman Vuyisile Zondi, whose range of skin-care products have seen her cash in on what used to be a hobby and make it into a successful small business that employs two people full-time.

She launched her skin-care products brand Corium Naturals last April with R40000 from her savings and less than a year later has recouped her capital and is operating at a profit.

Vuyisile Zondi and her Corium Naturals skin-care range, right.

Cleansers, body butters and clay masks make up the range, and the promise to consumers is that the products are made from 100% natural ingredients.

“We are all about all-natural, handmade skin-care products. Our range contains none of the nasty ingredients that are in so many of today’s skin-care and beauty products.

“If Mother Nature didn’t make it, you won’t find it in our jars. So hop in to our online store and check out what we offer. We know you will love what you find,” the Corium website states upon your first foray into the page.

The business is largely web-based, although the products are available at Plush Luxury Concept Store in Braamfontein, Joburg.

Zondi says the word “corium” is the Latin word for “dermis”, which can be translated as “the truest skin”, serves as the foundation of her business, which is about simplicity, purity and credibility.

Zondi migrated to Joburg a decade ago to study at Wits University where she got her honours in property studies. She also has a postgraduate diploma in business administration, from Wits Business School.

But Zondi’s business is not her only baby. She juggles running it alongside her full-time job as a management consultant.

“I work on a project basis with state and private clients to improve their business performance. I have experience in strategy consulting,” she says.

Asked how she copes with the pressure, Zondi says: “I don’t know. I don’t sleep nearly as much as I should.

“Both parts of my life give me tremendous joy and I cannot pit them against each other; I learn so much from both.

“I’m able to cope because I enjoy both and apply my passion equally,” she said.

Zondi doesn’t plan to quit her day job any time soon, vowing to learn from the many entrepreneurs she works with.

“I don’t believe I would leave the corporate rat race altogether because there are so many lessons and gems from entrepreneurs there.”

She says her business is an “organic passion” turned into a business, and she has long-term goals of heightening its brand equity, making it the first point of reference when consumers think “quality natural skin care”.

In the short to mid-term, Zondi wants to see her products on the shelves of more cosmetic and pharmacy stores and be certified by Ecocert, an international organic certification organisation.

But this is not to say the products aren’t already safe to use, she says.

“All the ingredients are tested and we are provided with a certificate of analysis by the suppliers.

“They carry the accreditations and certification to test the raw product. They are compliant with applicable legislature.

“Our prudence or due diligence also comes into play, making sure everything has been tested and given a batch expiry date,” she says.

Many of her clients are middle-class Africans living in major cities in South Africa, and she reaches most of them through social media.

Zondi has a following of more than 10000 people on Twitter and is in a partnership with a courier company.

What motivates her?

“I can’t pinpoint one thing, but I believe I was born with an insatiable appetite for success and achievement.

“My family means a lot to me. They are the driving force. I want my siblings to grow up with a good example in the house.”