The brains behind Native Child Namibia

By Rosalia David

SOUTH African Sonto Pooe is one out of a few South African women taking the hair care manufacturing industry by storm.

With her own start-up capital, she has managed to branch out her business to different countries such as Namibia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Kenya, Ghana and USA.

In an interview with Confidente, Pooe explained how she fell in love with hair and how her entrepreneurship journey began.

“My hair and body care journey started when I was eight years old, when I attempted to braid my own hair after I had a gruesome experience with a hairdresser who plaited me too tight and it was hard to sleep for days,” she said.

Years later, she said the experience coupled with the frustrations of a hair market flooded with chemical products, motivated her to develop a natural hair and body care range which she named Native Child – a ‘representation of who she is, a proud African woman with strong roots’.

Ever since Pooe has never looked back and today, she is competing against giant companies like L’Oreal and Revlon to claim her share of the hair market.

Asked on how she deals with competition, Pooe said, “I don’t. I mind my own business, stay in my lane and keep my eye on the prize.”

In November she was awarded the ‘Pick ‘n’ Pay Small Supplier of the Year award,’ a few months after being enlisted by the giant retailer.

“In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, Native Child grew five times and what sets me apart is that I make an effort to go the extra mile to educate clients on what is best suited for them individually,” she said.

On why people should choose to buy her products, Pooe said, the Native Child brand is safer for the body to use and contributes to good overall health.

“Our mothers did what they did with the knowledge they had. When you know better, you do better. So many ingredients in cosmetics and hair care have been linked to toxicity in the body including causing certain cancers. The less chemicals you use the better for you. Our whole existence is to give people an option for natural products. Generally these cost a fortune but we have made it our goal to ensure that as many people as possible have that option,” she added.