The Tanzanian Beauty Industry Landscape 2013

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The beauty industry in Tanzania is split into a variety of different products and segments. This report will focus on observations about the Dar-es-Salaam market which is the largest in the country as the city is key for economic development in Tanzania.


Cosmetics and general beauty products can be purchased around the city but key locations to purchase beauty products include:

  • Kariakoo
  • Mwenge
  • Mlimani City
  • Msasani


There are many retailers from kiosk retailers who sell vipodozi (cosmetics) in street shops to larger box retailers that have glossy stores and marketing materials. Here are some of the key retailers of beauty products in Tanzania – if I have forgotten some, please let me know:

  • Shear Illusions – this company sells many beauty products definitely priced for the middle-class Tanzanian female consumers who might be married or in a relationship, working a fulltime job. Their products include false eyelashes, lipsticks and hair care products. This company sells on the more expensive end of the market.
  • Atsoko – this company seems to me to be trying to compete with Shear Illusions as it also sells more expensive beauty products for the market. Continue reading

Let them drink cake: the rise of Intoxicake NYC’s unique cupcake & liquor empire!

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Intoxicake NYC is one of those businesses that you wish you had thought of yourself. Ashleigh Fitzwilliam has beat many people to the punch to create a unique baked goods business. Intoxicake NYC is cupcake business that Black Enterprise said has liquor infused cupcakes. As some of you know, I subscribe to the magazine and I knew I had to get in touch with Ashleigh Fitzwilliam to learn more about this unique take on the cupcake business. Ashleigh Fitzwilliam is a 23 year old publicist (her company is called Industry Monster) and she is the owner of Intoxicake NYC. Of West Indian heritage, Ashleigh is just the type of black entrepreneur that we love to hear about especially with all the success she is having. Here she talks to Charcoal Ink about her brand and how Intoxicake NYC came to be about:


Why do you think Intoxicake has got so much attention and traction so quickly in the tough cupcake market?

I think from the very first time I launched Intoxicake on Facebook in September of last year, my network of 5000 + friends were just totally in love with the name, the look and feel of my marketing graphics, and most importantly, the product I was offering. They did most of the word of mouth promo for me , which was totally organic.   Continue reading

Are Wealth Creation seminars and workshops a get rich quick scheme?

God bless the YouTube poster who uploaded this fasctinating documentary that I have posted below. It dispels the myth behind the quickly growing concept of wealth studies that has been pioneered by people like Robert Kiyosaki and T Harv Eker. Check out the video below to understand the core of my post:

I watched this BBC-produced documentary with interest; being the BBC they got loads of access to people like Kiyosaki and Eker. I am a business woman so I was intrigued by this concept of the weath study concept that is clearly taking the UK by storm as seen in the documentary.

But is it a scam?

To me, there is something insincere about Kiyosaki and Eker, to a lesser extent. I do believe wealth comes from working hard and of course, passive income streams is nothing new. So I don’t understand their idea of selling wealth as an attainable achievement if it is done purely passively. Making money while you sleep is what all investors should be doing but do we really become millionaires by not actually working?

This is something that fascinates me. I do think wealth comes from being active and passive and I do agree with the motivational speakers about creating income generating assets.

Are these speakers just creating a generation of landlords and no tenants?

Tell me what you think about the concept of wealth creation seminars. I just get the impression they make Kiyosaki and Eker rich, and not necessarily the people who spend thousands of pounds and dollars on their courses, books and other ancillary products.

The ‘get money’ concept – why people hate Yandy Smith and why they shouldn’t

I just recently got into Love & Hip Hop Atlanta and the original version in New York has its 3rd series taping, but I am watching the second series.

One of the biggest themes from Love & Hip Hop in the second series is how business focused Yandy Smith is. The girl literally does not quit!

As a business woman myself, it was very illuminating watching her and Chrissy fight because it is clear that Yandy is the business boss bitch so to speak and Chrissy is the ride or die bird for her man (both roles are valid).

One thing I also noticed was how Yandy literally just thought about making money and she was spurred by business deals. I am a Christian and naturally the love of business and making deals is tempered by knowing that being greedy is wrong. I just respect that Yandy was focused on making deals and being successful and it shows.

That kind of focus on not being broke is definitely something that makes people lose friends, and I have already lost friends because of this focus as well.

I just want to be successful – I get why some people would hate Yandy’s atttiude, it comes on super strong at times and I think talking about money all the time can be tiring to people who don’t want to hear it but my goodness I saw a LOT of myself in how Yandy was just so focused on being financially successful.

Do you think hip hop has made black people money hungry or have we always wanted to be wealthy and successful?

Why do hair salons in Dar-es-Salaam overcharge?

The situation of overcharging

My local salon is full of hi-jinks, to the point where you would think we were watching Scooby-Doo.

I have talked before about my salon, and essentially the owner is amazing – we have a great rapport and I think she’s fabulous and she does a good job on my hair for the most part.

Her assistant on the other hand overcharges and I am sure of it, but because there is not a price list or a menu, I can only go off memory but the other day, I went to get my hair washed and blow-dried and it was 8,000 shillings. I remember back a few months ago, it was 7,000 with hair styling included (as if it should not be included).

Now this could be the result of 1 or 2 things: a price increase (which is fine) or overcharging and I think it’s the latter because the second assistant stylist always has shit going on in terms of pricing and I have called her out on it.

What would you do?

A) Tell the owner that you think the other stylist is overcharging

B) Tell the owner that you only want her to do your hair (I think this is the one I will go for)

C) Stop going to the salon all together?

I like the owner – she does her job well and she is a hard worker, but her assistant has such a sloppy approach to hair and she just is so robotic about hair, and I even had to tell her to use big toothed combs when brushing natural hair. Like come girl, get it together! I think I am going to go for option C. The salon is the best of a very bad bunch in Tanzania.

Exclusive: Beauty mogul Ariana Pierce reveals how she created a beauty empire

Ariana Pierce is not your ordinary entrepreneur. This charismatic African-American business woman has made the beauty industry sit up and take notice with her own nail varnish brand called Superstar Nail Lacquer. I first heard of Ariana when I watched a video of her on Black Enterprise and I was captivated about how she started her nail varnish company which is growing from strength to strength. In this exclusive interview with Charcoal Ink, Ariana reveals what it is like creating your own beauty brand.

1) How did you spot a gap in the market for Superstar Nail Lacquer?

I saw a need for polish that matched the runways. I wanted to create a couture line for your hands. I also was going into my freshman year at Michigan State University and I knew that girls had busy schedules and needed to get back to class on time. I wanted my polish to be fast-drying, something perfect for the woman on the go.

2) How did you go about branding Superstar Nail Lacquer with aspects such as packaging and logos?

The concept behind Superstar Nail Lacquer is making every woman feel like a celebrity. Hence the name Superstar Nail lacquer. The packaging/Logo is very fashionable, bright, and eye-catching. I wanted to deliver luxury in a bottle. Continue reading

Did that just happen? – a day in the life of door-to-door sales

Yesterday, I did some door-to-door sales. It was such a joke!

I went to this charity to enquire about whether I could get some contact names in the hops of sharing an office with them.

I waited over 30 minutes to get attention and no one even bothered to greet me at the reception when I came into the charity – and it was such a shame because my goodness, the offices of the charity were absolutely gorgeous!

Yet the total apathy for the charity in the office was absolutely pathetic – how can you have a charity reception that is unmanned with no one in the entire office except for one manager? One manager came and then just disappeared and never came back. I waited for 30 minutes then got frustrated, left my business card with the guard and left!

It was so depressing to leave because the office was perfect for me and this charity does not even respect it!

How can we build businesses when people in their own organisations have no respect for customer service?

J Cole vs Diggy Saga: Why self-made people are more credible than silver spoon ballers

One of the most interesting stories to come out of the hip hop world was the J Cole vs Diggy beef. Diggy is Rev Run’s son and J Cole needs no introduction, he’s one of the hottest young rappers on the scene at the moment.

The general gist of the beef is that J Cole made a supposed reference to Diggy’s sister Vanessa on a song ages ago, and Diggy came after him in a song which was leaked recently.

I remember reading lots of comments on blogs such as Necole Bitchie about this, and one thing struck me – there is a lot that this story can tell us actually about business and the concept of being self-made as opposed to having connections create a career for you. Diggy has ventured into the rap world so far, and it’s been a mixed reception. Some see him as this Drake wannabe, others are not sure if they are trying to make him an urban Justin Bieber.

I found the whole situation quite comical – Vanessa is 27, if she is indeed the woman J Cole was talking about, so be it! They are 27 year old men and women, a 16 year old kid getting involved looks slightly laughable if only to get more record sales. Which brings me to my key argument of this post:

Self-made people always look more credible than people who have had it handed to them

I created my marketing business myself. No one from my family has helped me get one client or anything. J Cole has created a blossoming rap career from nothing, and now he is on songs with King Beyonce and going on tours with Rihanna. Diggy looked like a fool coming after J Cole from a business viewpoint, because while he was defending his sister, it was almost like an inherited scion coming after a soon to be hip hop baron who has creatde their own career without their uncle or brother co-signing them.

Do you think Diggy should have a seat? Does he ”know” that J Cole can’t come after him because of who his family is?