The first #SmallBusinessFriday of this month features Chamai, an organic product line by Zimbabwean sister duo Onaindini (24) and Tendayi Sanyangare (22). Onaindini is a Masters student with a background in finance and property development and Tendayi is studying towards a BSC at Wits University in South Africa.

In every essence of the word, we are a partnership. Where the other might fall short the other is right there to pick up and run with it. It’s been like that our whole lives and we continue to spill over into Chamai.”

Chamai founders Onaindini (left), Tendayi (right)

Can you describe your products?

Our products can be described by the statement “naturally yours”. Our products are a hundred percent natural and respond to the everyday questions most people have, which include:

Why is my hair so dry ? Why is my skin so dry ? How can I get healthier hair? What can I do about my acne? Are there products that don’t contain harsh chemicals?

What inspired the name Chamai?

My sister and I were raised by a single parent, a single mother to be more specific, so the name Chamai meaning ‘from mother’ came from that aspect of our lives.

Onaindini (left) and her sister Tendayi (right) credit their mother’s strength Nancy (centre) for inspiring them to start their business.

Why The Beauty Industry?

For years we had been trying different products in our hair and also on our skin. A few years ago, we discovered Shea Butter and we started using it on our skin and hair and the results were amazing. It was cheap, natural and had no adverse effects. So a lot of people would ask us what we used and our response was always Shea butter, which is the core ingredient in most of our products. That’s how we found ourselves in the beauty market.

What are your business values?

I think our values as Chamai include not comprising, we sell ourselves as ‘all natural’, so that’s what we always give, even if there are easier and more cost-effective ways of doing things. Doing anything else, giving anything else, wouldn’t be authentic.

What lessons have you learnt from running your business so far?

That there are no short cuts, you have to immerse yourself wholeheartedly because any other way would just lead to unhappy customers and an equally miserable owner. Another is patience, not everything is going to be as easy as it was in your head and some things will take time, but you will get there. The vision does materialize.

Do you have a team or do you work alone?

Because we are based in South Africa, we have a team in Zimbabwe that handles deliveries and payments, and in South Africa, it’s just us and we also get help from our mom Nancy, we wouldn’t be where we are without her.

All images provided by Chamai.

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