African continent has been blessed with a number of creative innovators and entrepreneurs who for long have worked hard to invent and develop new technologies to simplify our daily lives and transform societies both at the national and international levels.
For years such initiatives particularly in Africa have gone unnoticed or sometimes not getting the kind of global recognition they deserve.
However, a number of young Africans who have been receiving recognition due to their innovative ideas have continued to increase every day.
Hellen Dausen for instance, is among the two Tanzanians who made to the list of Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 as the most promising entrepreneurs from around the continent. She was joined on the list by other young entrepreneurs from Kenya, Nigeria, Madagascar, Benin, Gambia and Zimbabwe among others.
Her joining the list particularly in the field with a number of negativities surrounding beauty pageants and modelling particularly in Africa proves that there are lots of opportunities in the beauty industry.
Hellen who has a Bachelor of Science in International Business Administration with a concentration on Entrepreneurship from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya says her idea began three years ago.
She discovered that she had something in her to become an entrepreneur in the beauty industry when she was searching left and right to find something to do with her life.
“This idea just came out of nowhere that day. I knew I would one day run a business but it wasn’t clear which one really. So, I was off from a hot shower, then as I was applying Baobab oil which became very popular in 2013, I wondered if I could get natural Baobab soap, a good quality soap to complement my beauty care routine, because I thought if you want to go natural, you better embrace it all,” she explains adding,“So the next day I was roaming around shops to look for some good natural soap, I could not find anything to my satisfaction. Then I thought to myself, why not create these soaps for myself? And that’s how the business idea followed,” explains Hellen who also have a certificate in organic skincare formulation.
She started her line of beauty based on that and the fact that she never wanted to be jobless while seeking what she wanted to do with her life. One night it hit her and she asked herself: “Why can’t I make natural soap to use with my natural oils?” What followed was the creation of a line of skin care products to combat beauty challenges in an entirely new way.
In 2014, she officially started selling her skin care products “We entered the market two years ago selling our product under the brand name Nuya Essence. This is a natural bath and body care brand that handcrafts natural products from botanical oils, butters and herbs,” she stated.
“We use less than 5 active ingredients in our skincare products that really work for your skin. We avoid toxic ingredients and select the highest and purest botanical ingredients there is. A big amount of our ingredients are locally sourced and some unique ingredients are sourced from South Africa, Ghana, India, Morocco,” narrates Hellen.
Explaining if there has been a defining moment in her life that made her decide to take that direction in life, Hellen who is a former Miss Universe Tanzania says while growing up, she had always wanted to be a model.
“I was always into beauty and as life went by and got to experience different life in different countries, I came to realize that I will hit a ceiling very soon if I don’t change my direction. I wanted to be great. I was living in Los Angeles, California and there I tried to pursue modeling and took acting classes, I desperately wanted to make it there but everywhere I went things got really tough and you know, this modeling career goes with age and I wasn’t getting any younger. I packed my bags and left the US in August 2012.I came back home.
Explaining if she ever saw herself on the list on Forbes Africa one day and how this achievement means to her, she says as part of her new year’s resolution she told herself that she wanted to be in the Forbes Africa list 30 Under 30.
“I even told my friends but some of them laughed at me, on the other hand, there was a little voice that told me it was too early for that so I never really paid attention again. I was in shock. I cried and prayed a lot when I got the email that I had made it, was indeed a big new for me.”
“I am thankful that Forbes recognized true talents. To give us hope that we can do more and be great.To alert our potential and through their eyes it has made it clear on how far I can go with my Brand,” she says.
“Sometimes you need that in life, in business. And Forbes Africa has really given me a pat on the back. Since then, I have been receiving so many messages from people who are looking up to me, It has really given the youth serious hope that they can be great, do more. Start a business and make it a success. This achievement has also been their wake up call.”
Her main goal is to grow her brand into something bigger than herself. Planning to have every family out there to use Nuya’s Essence products, to appreciate what nature has to offer and take good care of themselves.
“My team and I are working hard and smart to make sure that this goal comes true particular in getting customers to believe in our products especially women. But on that part we are confidents because I started using my products long before I sold them. This made me more comfortable and confident to tell other women about them. I have experienced the healing power of plants though these products.”
The most rewarding thing about her job which makes it worthwhile is the look on her clients face when they use her products.
She defines success as her ability to reach out to her goals, living her dream, have peace of mind, have a great relationship with God and help as many people along the way as possible.
As youth and an entrepreneur who still feels that she has a long way to go , she says balancing making money with making a difference goes hand in had.
“I feel like it goes hand in hand in my business. We make products that are environmentally friendly, recyclable. Our products are kind, pure and gentle on one’s skin. We hire people and train people with a big focus on women.”
“We educate on the importance of using natural products. On my spare time, I speak to youth on my journey as an entrepreneur thus far, encourage them and we share ideas. So basically, it balances itself, in the end.”
Despite all the achievement, Hellen still feels that she still has goals to achieve which include growing her brand into something bigger than herself.
“It actually is, I want every family out there to use Nuya’s Essence products, to appreciate what nature has to offer, to slow down, relax and take good care of themselves. My team and I are working hard and smart to make sure that this goal comes to pass.”
The fact that few women do receive recognition compared to men at the highest levels of their achievement, shouldn’t make women to stop doing great things .
“I believe you don’t need recognition or to depend on one to do great things. Just build your career, excel in your business and with time, trust me you can’t hide for long, they cannot cover up your success for long. People always watch,” she says.
Her message to women in developing countries who desire to start their own ventures is that money will never be enough so just start with what you have at that particular moment and grow with it.
In five years to come Hellen hope to have started a family of her own, establish a proper Nuya’s Essence factory, hire thousands of people and be able to have reached bigger markets.