Creating a clean, savvy, superstar skincare brand is what keeps SKOON. CEO Thandi Mbulaheni amped, and seeing each day as a new challenge. Being 8 March and International Women’s Day, we took a page out of this Glamour magazine Q&A to remember what we love and admire about SKOON.’s uberboss of new generation A-Beauty.
You’re looking at a natural, non-toxic, clean skincare brand that loves nature and science, creates innovative formulas, and really takes its customers’ needs to heart. CEO of SKOON. Thandi Mbulaheni tells us everything we need to know about the skincare brand South Africans love and adore!
“As with many entrepreneurs in the beauty industry, I didn’t set out to start a skincare brand. A filler story in my local newspaper caught my eye, a snippet that said every day most people apply, on average, 515 ingredients to their face and body, which got me thinking – and SKOON. was born,” says founder Stella Ciolli.
G: What makes your products unique?
Thandi Mbulaheni: We love nature, but we also love science. Africa’s abundant natural environment gives us all the building blocks we could want, and science allows us to refine it into clean skincare. We’ve fully evolved into A-beauty, the new frontier that’s African and ancestral beauty all in one.
G: What challenges did you experience?
TM: Our biggest challenge, as with all small businesses, is lack of funds, time management, and not building a life and identity around our business.
G: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
TM: Watching our team learn and grow, get better, and be the talented and incredible people they are, makes it exciting to go to work every day.
G: Your customers’ most pressing needs?
TM: They’re vocal, passionate and brutally honest, so they share what they love about our brand but also what they want to be improved or want next. They want someone to talk to about their skin and life in general, more connection. Emma du Plessis, our community manager, is excellent at addressing that.
G: What are your business goals?
TM: Growth, which means creating employment, economic development in South Africa and taking our brand into international markets.
G: What percentage of your products are organic?
TM: It’s challenging to quantify organic as the ecosystem is vast and certain suppliers aren’t transparent. SKOON. products are non-toxic, clean, innovative formulas that celebrate Africa’s communities and flora.
G: What are your top sellers?
TM: Wow-wow Wonder Hyaluronic acid & Vitamin C Serum, Retinin resurfacing face cream, Oh Sherbet! Azelaic acid mask, Wrap Me Up Face Moisturiser and SK!NSIDE OUT Elasticity beauty smoothie.
G: What motivates you?
TM: The fact that every day is a new day inspires me. I think there’s an opportunity every day, especially when you’re building a business. You never know what’s going to happen, so I’m excited when I wake up.
G: What do you think is the most significant barrier to female success?
TM: Institutional mindsets are a reason we don’t see more women leaders. People make assumptions about women as leaders in the workplace based on their stereotypical roles in society. Often, women are limited in their advancement, or worse, never even given an opportunity.
G: What advice would you give your 18-year-old self ?
TM: To paraphrase Gloria Steinem: don’t be afraid to defy convention. You don’t have to wait for others to decide your life for you – neither a husband nor children. Do the things you’d do if you weren’t afraid.
G: What’s on your shopping list?
TM: SKOON. SK!NSIDE OUT Beauty Smoothie is my current go-to since I learnt there’s a direct link between healthy skin, specific nutrients and gut health – it’s drinkable skincare. I apply SPF, Hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C serum in the morning, cap it with Vitamin A Retinin in the evening and get plenty of sleep.
“Non-toxic, clean, innovative formulas that celebrate Africa’s communities and flora”
1 Sep 2021
Words by Jesé Lillienfeldt-hartman