The sales value of the beauty and personal care market in South Africa alone amounts to an estimated 3.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2018 according to Statista.
The same report indicates that the South African beauty market was forecast to have a value of about 6.16 billion U.S. dollars in 2024.
The beauty and wellness African market is worth 9.4 Billion Euros, South Africa has a share of 2.5 Billion Euros and is a prime sector where jobs are created mostly for women with a median age of 27 years old.
These numbers are pleasing to the eye, however, with the huge number of young workers across the African Beauty Market numbering in millions, their earnings come in low capital income.
This can be owing to poor facilities, low-level technology and business literacy as well as limitations of public transport.
From indications, these factors severely affect them in serving their customers within their comfort, safety and the planned time/hour.
This has put a lot of these African beauty workers in unfavorable positions in balancing their skills with their earnings.
However, Ekamou a South African IT and Services company launched IWE a social, beauty and mobile app to assists South African beauty entrepreneurs (Hairdresser, Make Up artist, Nail artist and other related trades) in going fully digital, reach a wider market.
While also increasing their monthly incomes by providing consumers services of quality, just in time, and within the comfort of their homes, or at the business premises.
We caught up with Freddy Yoan Atangana, CEO and Founder of Ekamou, who took us through how the South African-based company is offering a new lease of life to the country’s beauty and wellness ecosystem.
Freddy, who was born in Cameroon had his first inspiration from the stories relayed from his mum.
According to him, the story of his grandfather who was left at a church door but later became a successful entrepreneur in the Cocoa farming industry and a Pioneer to his community inspired him as a kid.
“This inspired me from a young age to believe that no matter what my circumstance, and social status, if I did put my mind to anything I could achieve it.”
Freddie studied for National Diploma in Industrial Engineering at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and worked on a pro-bono basis for 5 years at ABZ Holdings and close to South African SMEs.
He, however, noticed a gap in skills and knowledge these SMEs needed to cover to go digital.
Freddie, therefore made it his focus to develop digital tools that were more user-friendly to SMEs’ traditional way of operating their businesses, primarily in the African beauty sector.
In 2020, he left his job to join the Founder Institute Program and ventured fully into entrepreneurship, with the idea of empowering young African beauty practitioners through technology using ‘IWE’ which translates to ‘YOU’ from Swahili to English.
Overview of IWE
African Beauty is currently is the primary job creation sector, it is estimated to be worth 9.4 Billion USD by the South African small enterprises Trading Agency and WESGRO, and from Ekamou’s market research and studies, the Digital African Beauty Market is worth more than 100 Billion USD.
As stated in the introductions certain factors affect these beauty workers in properly serving their customers with the right quality, pricing and timing.
IWE, however, offers over 100 million young women and men in Africa an opportunity to solve this problem, by facilitating their digital transition to reach a wider market, and increase their monthly incomes by providing just in time services to their Customers within their comfort, and safety using the power of technology and data.
How IWE works
IWE is a social, beauty mobile app that provides the following:
Easy and Swift bookings at your favorite beauty salon
Learns what you like and keeps track of it
Ride services to your selected appointments
Exclusively for beauty and personal care products
Delivery of products
Share experiences, thoughts, and tips with your friends
It offers 3 main types of subscriptions mainly:
Navigate through the app and pay for each service requested and earn discounts for loyalty.
For beauty entrepreneurs at a minimum cost of 40 USD per month, and it covers all their basic needs from transport, marketing, and sales management tools.
Accounts are only activated after thorough security and quality inspections.
A monthly subscription from 37 USD to access their basic care needs such as Hair care, Make Up, Manicure and Pedicure services with free deliveries of all cosmetic products purchased via the platform.
How IWE is addressing UN SDG No 9
IWE approaches the African Beauty market as a whole not just focusing on the consumer making a booking digitally at her/his favorite Beauty Salon, but also consider the different resources and aspects involved in this economic sector such as:
Property owners and managers
Digital Marketers and Social Media
Cosmetics and Accessories Brands
This approach allows the company to invest actively in developing the infrastructure, and logistics that will reduce cost of operating within this sector by 10 times.
This assists the beauty entrepreneurs in operating in a novel way, and increases considerably their monthly revenues, and improves their living standards.
Ekamou integrates IWE in the operations of African beauty entrepreneurs to improve their profit margins. This makes it possible for them to reduce the selling price to their customers, a reality and offer more affordable prices for the general public, which would lead to serving more customers.
Ekamou launched the ‘pre-sales’ of the IWE-PRIME packages for its crowdfunding which will end on Tuesday, June 15, 2021, with the offering of a free month trial to all participants in the crowdfunding.