NAPPY N’KO, meaning happy natural in Mandingo, is a natural and organic hair cosmetic company dedicated to providing the best hair care products for women of color.
We had the opportunity to email interview the founder of Nappy N’Ko, Moussou DIAKITE , and here it is:
- Tell us about yourself and your organization
My name is Moussou, I am Senegalese Gambian. I was born in Paris and grew up in Africa and Europe.
Few years ago, I launched Nappy N’Ko (www.NappyNko.com), which is a platform dedicated to selling natural hair care products for women of color. Nappynko promotes young African and African aficionados brands which are strictly natural or organics. We also empower women to acquire more skills though our Ambassador program.
Why Nappy N’Ko? Well, because it’s more than beauty. It’s also about the fact that unhealthy hair relaxers are used by millions of black women, possibly exposing them to various chemicals through scalp lesions and burns. For instance, a study shows relaxer are the origin of uterine fibroma. Even if skin blanching is banned in Ivory Coast,there still a lot of work left in Africa.
- How much did you need to start your organization and how were you able to raise that capital?
To start my business, I needed about $600. But my idea was to start slowly first in order to see if there a real market. So, I raised about $300 from my family.
- What are some of the challenges you face in your organization and how do you overcome those challenges?
The challenges are so many, but I think we can more talk about learning…..
When I first started my business right after my studies, I didn’t have the necessary skills so i need lot of advice from experience entrepreneurs. Hence, I decided to join several entrepreneurship programs which was beneficial.
Secondly, I am young, women of color, Muslim, and an entrepreneur. All of these are challenging, but it’s a part of the game, fortunately majority of people I encounter are encouraging.
And lastly, raising money is a bit hard. I am still looking for investors.
- Where do you see your organization in 5 years from now and what steps are you taking today to reach that objective?
I see my business being a multinational company with a strong brand DNA, which have contributed to the empowerment of women in the world and especially in Africa. And we will have headquarters in the main African Cities.
To reach those goals, we are working on the new website with more functionality to facilitate people to sell and learn. Also, we are still building are Ambassador program and planned to expand it to Senegal first and throughout West Africa. Finally, we will work also on the improvement of our products.
- What advice would you give other entrepreneurs looking to start a business or invest in Africa?
I will just say if they have an idea, follow your intuition. just to try it by confronting it to people.
Every one who has the ambition to investment or start a business must do it now. Now, is The time, because there still so much to do, innovation and the startup culture are also growing, so there is a lot of positive factors.
- How is your business participating to the development of Africa?
We want to participate to the development of Africa by helping farmers have better revenues, by contributing to expand the Made in Africa. And of course by creating jobs, particularly for women.