AT THE age of 12, Sandra Mwiihangele and her best friend entered the National Expo Young Scientist competition, whereby they developed a high-performance functioning lipstick from natural resources and won a gold medal.
Today, 16 years later, Mwiihangele runs her own small cosmetic and toiletry manufacturing business called KiyomiSandz in Windhoek.
KiyomiSandz is a lifestyle brand and skincare business that develops premium-quality skincare products for men and women.
Having a glowing skin herself, Mwiihangele's business is dedicated to making world-class products that will protect and nourish a person's skin, because according to her, the purest and most potent skin active ingredients are found throughout mother nature.
In an interview with The Namibian, the 27-year-old cosmetic chemist said although she started her business in January last year, she only started officially selling her products in April 2015.
I started off with selling facial and body exfoliating scrubs through my online store on my website in April 2015 and at various local markets, she explained.
According to her, the feedback she has been receiving from her customers was positive, and business started growing gradually over the months.
Around August 2015, I introduced my natural and organic body butters to the current range of exfoliating scrubs to the market, and these have also been a success, she said.
While still studying analytical chemistry in Cape Town, South Africa, Mwiihangele saved part of her small salary from her in-service training at a cosmetic manufacturing company as start-up capital for her business.
With my little salary, I saved some money every month with the aim of using it as capital to start up my business when I returned to Namibia, she noted.
Since her business will be developing a wider range of products, Mwiihangele said she will target different groups of clients.
The first range of products I have released is called The Summer Rain Collection. The target market for this range are men and women of various ages who love themselves enough to make use of bodycare products that essentially provide vitamins to their skin and maintain a healthy skin and lifestyle overall, therefore investing in organic and naturally-derived bodycare products made in Namibia, she said.
Mwiihangele further stated that KiyomiSandsz, which means 'pure beauty' in the Japanese language, is working towards developing the cosmetic industry in Namibia to the same level as the fishing and mining industries; therefore creating more job opportunities in the near future.
In order to achieve this, my company offers research and product devolpment, stability testing and contract manufacturing services to clients such as hotels, B&Bs, or any business person who wants to start their own cosmetic and toiletry product line, she continued.
KiyomiSandz offers various product ranges, such as fruit extracts which are rich in anti-oxidant properties, and the native Namibian marula seed oil.
They include exfoliating facial and body scrubs, body lotions and butters as well as face creams and skin toners, among other product ranges.
I see my business being the sole cosmetic and toiletry manufacturing company in Namibia aiming to help realise the country's Vision 2030 objectives, she enthused.