Meet Tumelo Mazengera
My name is Tumelo Mazengera, I am a 33-year-old wife and mother of 4 (2boys and 2 girls). I come from South Africa. My humble beginnings are from a small town called Itsoseng, but now I live in Mafikeng with my family, which is the capital city of the North West Province. I love Yahshuah with all my being and it is through Him that I can do everything I’m doing.
What is your business?
I formulate and sell natural hair and skin products from naturally derived ingredients which are suitable for the whole family. I came up with this business model because I have a family myself and would like to provide other families with comprehensive products that suit their needs. My products are hypoallergenic and heal while promoting healthy hair growth and glowing skin.
I have an undergraduate degree in Information Technology majoring in IT and Management and I have worked for a large ICT company here in S.A.
Basically I’m an IT person but was planning on going into Project Management as a new career path until my husband and I decided to return home.
That was when I stopped working and started looking after our kids full time, while he joined his father in business. It is during this time that I truly got to see that I can start a business selling the products that I make for myself.
What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
I didn’t plan on becoming an entrepreneur at all in my life until I developed the love for natural hair which made me want to share what worked for my hair with others.
There were hardly any natural hair products on the market when I went back to being natural, I struggled a lot, and that made me do a lot DIYs in my kitchen. When I finally found what worked for my type of hair, I wanted to share it with those that had the same struggles to help them love their natural hair as it grows out of their scalp, and show them that it is manageable without the use of harmful chemicals.
How did you come up with the name of your business?
This story is complicated and it’s not that deep!
I initially wanted to call it Rooted to represent the origins of our natural hair, with the spelling Root’d, but somehow the person whom I had paid to help register it messed it up and that’s when I came up with the Manely (which represents hair as the mane) and the last part Rooted, which are the roots on my logo. It made perfect sense, in the end, to call it Manely Rooted, which came after a lot of praying. I guess it is kind of deep! LOL
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
It came from loving my hair the way it grew from my scalp and learning to manage it without chemicals. Once I learned that my hair didn’t need chemicals I wanted to help others come to the same knowledge that I had come to. I can honestly say that God led me to start this business because I would have never imagined that I’d own a natural hair company in my life.
My mission is to give the African family a natural hair and skin problem solution in one brand. By family, I mean from the baby to the grandparents and everyone in between.
What resources did you start with?
I started with the money I had in my bank account which was my payout from my resignation and my kitchen. It wasn’t a lot I managed to get everything I needed to start up. I bought all the oils and butter I needed to make enough products to sell. Then from what I sold I just kept buying more to sustain it.
What are your most valuable skills?
Research, wanting to gain knowledge, and applying that knowledge in my field of interest is most valuable to me because I wouldn’t have come to this point had I not done some research for myself and been wise enough to apply it. I believe this is God-given in my life.
What was your first “I can do this” moment?
I guess when I first discovered that I can actually make products that helped my stubborn textured hair, I thought to myself that if they can help my hair they are very good and I can help a lot of people by making them available through selling them.
What was your worst moment?
Of all the moments I’ve had, I don’t think they’ve been so bad that I can classify as worse. I’ve had my moments of doubt, of lacking motivation, moments of procrastination, but the worst would be to quit, which I haven’t experienced. But a very bad one was me thinking that I should stop trying to grow my company as big as I had initially envisioned it and just stay small and local, but I realized that it is God who gave me the desire and the vision, and He will see me and it through.
How do you manage stress?
If it’s out of my control, I have learned to not overthink it because my mind won’t change anything anyway. I pray about it and let it go, God will deal with it. I’ve also learned that while I’m busy trying to fix my problems, I’m doing God’s job, and He will only change my situation only when I move out of His way. This has been a tough lesson to learn but so worth it; letting go and letting God in every aspect of my life.
How do you handle adversity and doubt?
I pray about it, I tell all my doubts and worries to my Heavenly Father and He calms me down with peace and reassures me. Reading the Bible helps me with knowing God’s voice.
What are some of the mistakes you wish you could have avoided?
Mistakes are more of learning curves; no one is perfect and is bound to make mistakes now and then, the most important thing is to learn from them. Mine was finding someone register a company for me. I found out later on that I could have done it by myself and for free instead of going through a lot of trouble while paying for it. Also procuring too much stock at the same time out of excitement; I’ve had to throw away some oils that had gone rancid because I took too long to use them, which cost me money.
Lacking motivation sometimes is the order of the day.
What’s your approach to marketing?
This one came by complete chance; initially, I joined a few natural hair groups on Facebook to help impart my knowledge of natural hair and try to show how my products worked.
But others didn’t allow advertising and some were just not monitored well. Which led to me starting my own Facebook group called Natural Hair Things. From there I opened a page for my company on Facebook called Manely Rooted.
I then proceeded to open Instagram (IG: manelyrooted) and Twitter (@TumeloMazengera) accounts. This is how I mainly advertise my products and it works so well that I’ve had orders from all over the country just from putting up a post.
The reason I say it came by chance is that my initial drive to have a Facebook group wasn’t to advertise but it was to just spread knowledge on how to take care of our natural hair, but then it evolved into something else. God works in mysterious ways indeed!
What are the three things that you wished someone had told you about being an entrepreneur?
Something I wish I had known from the beginning was to protect my intellectual property; I value my business name and logo very much because it is an original design, I wouldn’t want to see it anywhere else because it isn’t a copy and paste job.
Graphic designers are slick, well, at least the ones I’ve dealt with. Maybe I had trouble finding a reliable one because I’m in a small town. But through dealing with them I’ve learned a few things.
How do you plan on growing your business?
I would like to not just have distributors in my country but in the continent as a whole and hopefully even sell my products worldwide. Anything is possible in this day and age and is much easier. I’d also like to go providing services such as salons and
I’m building it for my children and for future generations.
What would you advise someone that wants to start their own business?
Do something you love, because if you love what you do you will not want to stop doing it even on your worst days. Take things one day at a time, one step at a time and you will get it right, just don’t quit. Quitting is not an option, that’s what I always tell myself.
How can I be a good leader?
Being a leader is about leading from the back, being part of the team, and leading by example; being able to serve, motivate, having integrity, and being confident in who I am, whose I am and what I know. My confidence comes from my knowledge of YHWH through Yahshuah who strengthens me; it means I know who I am in Him and how I should be to others.
I’ve had a few people ask me to mentor them and it was an honor for me as much as it was for them. I don’t think of myself as above others, which keeps me humble. I didn’t think I was in the position to mentor anyone as I was still relatively new to the business world but it turns out I was able to because of the knowledge and experience I’d acquired through these past years. This, to me, is wisdom.