By Leah Fletcher
Mumbi Dunjwa’s story reminds us that it takes perseverance, drive and the right entrepreneurial mindset to achieve a business dream. Those winning principles helped position Dunjwa’s natural hair care product line on the shelves at several local ShopRite Supermarkets and local beauty supply stores. There also is an online store.
Dunjwa is founder and CEO of Naturaz Hair Care (www.naturaz.com), a company she started over five years ago in Philadelphia. She admits that starting a business can be a dream and a nightmare. “There are commitments and decisions I made as a small business owner to move forward and to ensure my company would survive,” she said.
Living her creed, Dunjwa was positioned to make decisions. She was whatever her business required of her: the planner; the doer; the strategic thinker; the customer service representative; website designer; social media connector and many other roles. It is times like these that Dunjwa put on her entrepreneurial mindset hat and focused on what Naturaz really needed her to do to bring it into full fruition.
Dunjwa, who earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and nuclear medicine technology and a master’s degree in Information Systems Management from Carnegie Mellon University, was armed with more than a decade of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, when the Kenyan-born business woman sought to find a natural solution to manage the curly, coily hair of many women of color.
The Naturaz Haircare System is designed to moisture dry, curly, and coily hair to minimize breakage and increase manageability, volume, shine and the health of its users, hair. The product, according to Dunjwa, is a culmination of her journey as a young woman, to find the right product to manage her hair, which always seem to be dry and difficult. During graduate school she was still seeking a solution, but now she had the tools in product chemistry, research and development. At this point, she decided to create her own product.
The desire to create a natural product collided with the current growth in the multi-million dollar natural hair care industry and the current obsession with label-reading and organic ingredients. Surely there must be dozens of organic natural hair brands, right? That’s what Dunjwa thought. But she found out that many of the products boasting natural qualities, were anything but natural. She began making hair products for herself and couldn’t believe how few truly natural options were available to consumers. So, Dunjwa, the chemical researcher, really got inspired to fill the need.
Naturaz’s market research has confirmed consumer satisfaction with the product on-line and at live hair events. Dunjwa believes that purchasing directly from supermarkets, like ShopRite, and beauty supply stores will allow customers to interact personally with the product line and ultimately result in added product value.
What Dunjwa has proven, with the expansion of her product line is that successful entrepreneurs are those who learn how to persevere even in the midst of setbacks, issues and life happenings. And, at the same time, she demonstrates that entrepreneurial success requires developing a mindset and the meshing of a multitude of roles with a lot of passion, strategy and performance to create a product line she believes in and that customers will as well.