Bearded G, Feeding Beards since 2017
Bearded G was started by local entrepreneur Njabulo Mavimbela in July 2017.
Njabulo has always had a passion to be involved in the fashion and entertainment industry. A desire stemming from his mother, who is a fashion designer.
“I grew up with that influence around me, and I guess it affected me in some way”.
After varsity Njabulo was working with various scents and cologne in the grooming sector;
“I then realised that I could do something similar and it would enable me to penetrate the fashion industry, entertainment industry and the beauty industry”.
Upon contemplation of his degree Njabulo approached his mom, who was using her own concoctions for her beauty products. He decided that he would use those ingredients of hers to brew his own products.
“I returned to varsity but with the idea of starting my own brand in the beauty industry”.
Taking the ingredients that his mom was using, Njabulo started to experiment with various mixes and found sources that could enable him to make it slick enough for the shelf. Using two of his friends in the chemistry department of his university, Njabulo asked them to help make his product obtain the desired look and texture for market. They now have long term positions at Bearded G and are continuously involved in the production of new products. Bearded G’s range now consists of beard oil, beard wash and beard balm.
“In July of 2017, I registered Bearded G, and on the 1st of October, I made the first sale. When I registered the company, I didn’t have any products until that first sale in October. But I was selling the name to people and keeping them interested in Beard G”.
Bearded G started selling around the university campus and as word spread so did the product coverage.
“People that were using Bearded G on campus eventually moved into the working world and so did the product. Bearded G spread by word of mouth, and I noticed I was getting a lot of referrals. I then gave those who were referring clients an opportunity to make money from this by allowing them to sell Bearded G on their own. They loved it and were able to make some money from it too”.
The difficulties that arose were those of capital to source the ingredients, branding and marketing. “We are headed in the right direction now. Every month I realise there is now a positive number in my bank account and not all the money has come and gone”. Bearded G has ideas for expanding their range into the cologne and lotions sector in due time.
How has lockdown affected Bearded G?
“It affected us big time! Just before lockdown, I was travelling around South Africa to promote the products and raise some funds. Those that were ready to invest couldn’t anymore. Another thing that affected us was the closing down of our suppliers, we couldn’t get the ingredients or the necessary packaging for our products, even though we were still getting in orders. People were asking us to send the product as soon as we could as they were complaining that their beards were hungry! And needed Bearded G’s sustenance! Lastly, the courier companies had to catch up on their backlog and that delayed sending some to of the products out”.
What are your superpowers?
“I am a King, and I am Alpha. I create and am always reinventing myself”.
What do you love about Africa?
“Africa, the motherland. What I love about Africa is me, man. I look at me, and I love me too much, and I am Africa”.
What made you take the step into the unknown to become an entrepreneur?
“To be quite honest with you, I am from humble beginnings. Growing up, I was guided to go to school, finish matric, go off to university and get a job. But I realised from grade 3 to Matric that I always had something to sell, whether it was a pen or a snack, I had something to sell at school to help pay the rent while my mom was in fashion school. After Matric I moved to university and started to work this formal job with my qualification, completely forgetting that I used to sell various things in school. As our managers would give us work or tasks to do, I found myself thinking of easier and better ways to get different jobs done. The managers would end up blocking me and would not even be open to hearing these ideas- this began to frustrate me, and I realised that I am not one to be an employee, but an employer”.