Nakayiza making hair manageable for African women
According to records from the World Bank, Uganda is home to 30 percent companies owned by women and 63 percent companies owned by men. In the last 20 years, women entrepreneur figures have increased by 114% globally.
Despite the rise and achievements, women are struggling to start or stay in business majorly due to lack of capital and funding. Nakayiza Safina Buwembo and many other women have had their share of such challenges but they came out victorious.
“I struggled with managing my hair since 2015 when I had the ‘big chop’. Growing up as a Black girl in a country that enforces cutting off our hair and the stereotype that our hair is a distraction and hard to manage, being unable to find products that worked well for me, especially from large brands made me realise there was a vacuum,” Nakayiza shares.
She goes on to say that most brands are not made with kinky hair in mind, the reason why a number of Ugandans struggle with finding products for their hair. She adds that the common assumption is that African hair is monolithic, which is wrong when porosity is taken into account.
“I knew there were people with similar struggles as me, little children who’d grow up convinced that their hair is difficult to manage which is an anti-Black notion. I made it my mission to formulate products according to hair porosity that would alleviate this anxiety,’’ Nakayiza says.
Pzazrio Naturals is one of Uganda’s freshest start-ups receiving the best customer reviews. The idea was born five years ago but finally came into existence in 2023, now exporting to neighbouring countries like Tanzania.
The goal of this hair product making business is to make African hair more manageable and help women embrace their identities.
To overcome the challenge of capital which was her limiting factor all this time, Nakayiza utilised disposable income from friends and family as well as employing resilience to succeed.
She says that her biggest achievement has been finding other women to work with, especially outside Uganda.
“I was over joyed when I sent a book order to Dar-es-Salam recently. It brings me so much joy to be able to share these “concoctions” with so many people and transform how they view their hair because our hair is gorgeous and finding products that work shouldn’t be a struggle,’’ she adds.
Whereas many Ugandan start-ups usually make a little adjustment to new products, Nakayiza’s products are extremely unique and creatively curated. One thing that makes her products stand out is the Luganda names like Liisa, Zza bugya, Ddabulula and Tukuza which denote what these particular products do.
The black and gold colour is also a favourite for many women and stands out at first glance which is another unique quality.
She believes with access to capital, women can do almost anything they put their minds to because that is what holds most women back especially in a country where the largest percentage live hand to mouth.
“It’s challenging to save enough capital to launch a brand. Women need access to capital,’’ she notes.
She recommends that women in business should be willing to share knowledge, with other women to inspire them and also offer opportunities to grow together.