Namibia makes make-up mark overseas

25 February 2020 | Art and Entertainment

Yolanda Nel A delegation of ten SMEs recently returned from Germany after attending the VIVANESS 2020 organic and natural cosmetics trade fair.
The Namibia Network of the Cosmetics Industry (NANCi) with the support of the joint venture between the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH’s (GIZ) Promotion of Business Advisory and Economic Transformation Services (ProBATS) and the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development (MITSMED) sent the delegation to exhibit Cosmetics Made in Namibia.
According to NANCi chairperson Stefanie Hümmer, trade fairs like these are important to attend, “as market and consumer trends are global. For all export notions, as well as for the products sold on the Namibian or Southern African market, we need to set ourselves in international context.”
She added that Namibia imports large amounts of health care and cosmetic products and as local cosmetic producer, these imports are the high bench mark that they compete with.
After the fair, Stefanie feels more self-confident regarding their position on the European market, because she has seen first-hand how consumers are changing their buying patterns. “There are consumers who care where and how their products are made, where it becomes important for buyers to hear the story behind the products and where products are seen in a sustainable context, all aspects where our Namibian made products can fit in.”
The delegation that went to Germany are all SMEs with very small production output quantities in comparison to the global cosmetic and health care players.
“We need to find niche markets that are willing to tell the stories behind each product including the real trade values practiced by our Namibian companies by working directly with communities and the SMEs who seek to improve the lives in the communities they source their input materials from.”
According to her, the Namibian health and cosmetic products are made with high ethos, meaning they produce quality products with high amounts of very good ingredients. “If we keep this standard, even if not always easy at SME level, we can find our small place in the health and beauty industry,” she says.
Within this sector, however, comes a number of challenges one being sourcing locally produced packaging and ingredients. “Capital strains result in very small advertising budgets. This is a big problem, as the market that we compete with spends huge amounts on advertising products into the market. Also, we have long distances to markets outside our borders, which reflect on sales prices, as well as make optimal logistics solutions less obvious,” she says.