Natural hair requires great care and a thorough understanding of how to make it luscious, and this is exactly what hair product business Moriri by Awagh aims to achieve. Before Jackie Norton-Reeks started her business in 2016, she conducted thorough research into the market, and this helped her develop the products she sells. “I learned that quite a lot of the products used for hair care are imported products and don’t contain the ingredients for natural hair care,” she told Vutivi News.
“I consulted salon owners and potential customers to get an understanding of what they need. I also researched the market and found out that there was a need for the black consumers’ hair, and for products needed to give the hair lustre and natural growth.” Norton-Reeks started her company with money from her own pocket and with the knowledge she inherited from her mother, Rachel Collins.
“My mother worked much of her youth in the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s in hair salons around Johannesburg and in townships, and it is during these times that she perfected her art,” she said. Her company, which is based in Randfontein on the West Rand, supplies products like hair butter and hair oil. She currently distributes her products through Takealot, and they can also be found on the shelves of New Look Hair and Cosmetics in Randfontein and at Aakifah Cosmetics Hair Tavern in Vanderbijlpark in Emfuleni.
Growing her brand has been arduous, and Covid-19 did not make it easier. “Before Covid-19 hit our shores, I had attended a Planning for Exports Training Course with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, and I was getting ready to exhibit my products in other countries,” Norton-Reeks said. “I was also providing opportunities for people to resell the products. However, it all came to a screeching halt thanks to the pandemic.”
She was forced to stop supplying resellers with her products, as many salons could no longer afford to stock them because they had to close. However, through her Takealot and store distribution, her business managed to stay afloat. Also, since the easing of the lockdown restrictions, Norton-Reeks has attended numerous exhibitions. The most recent one was a pop-up mall exhibition held by the Department of Small Business Development in Soweto.
So passionate is Norton-Reeks about natural hair, she is not reluctant to share advice on how to look after natural hair. She advises against taking hot showers and being aware of chemicals. “Hot showers strip off the natural oils from your scalp, leaving it dry and flaky,” the businesswoman explained. “Chemicals from dyeing, perming and other treatments affect your hair follicles, disrupt hair growth and can also lead to hair fall.” Norton-Reeks is currently working on acquiring larger premises to increase the productivity of her business.
“I hope to see my products reach southern African countries like Zambia and Botswana, and other African countries like Nigeria, because other countries need to know who and what Moriri is,” she said. And besides her dreams to grow her business, she encourages entrepreneurs to venture into manufacturing hair products that are proudly owned by haircare brands for natural hair.