June 25, 2022

NOTHING SAYS “SUMMER” LIKE SKIN

Second Feature – byValentine Skin

“Skin is In” and byValentine Skin Care is giving us everything we’ll need to keep us plump and glowing all summer long.

If you didn’t know, the best thing you can ever wear is your skin and because we want you to strut in beautiful skin, we’ve got an environmentally friendly and affordable solution for you.

We were privileged to speak with Valentine Sibanda of byValentine Skin Care, a Zimbabwean-owned skincare brand. They have a range of products from Brightening Face Masks, Vitamin ACE Moisturisers and Facial Toners that are perfect for the summer!

Valentine Sibanda

byValentine Skin Care is a new vegan beauty range founded by full-time pharmacist and entrepreneur, Valentine Sibanda. After trying a plethora of products and not quite getting the right ones for her skin, Valentine decided to start her own brand in late 2020. 

We all struggle with coming up with the ideal skin care regimen from time to time like you did, but you decided to actively do something about it. What gave you the idea to ditch what you know and create byValentine Skin Care?

VS: I would say frustration mostly, because I was just tired of trying different skin care products for my skin and I still couldn’t find anything that offered a permanent solution. I would try one product and it would be great for a month or two, then I was back to square one. As I have oily skin, come summertime, I had to re-evaluate my product choices; the same thing happened during winter and this cycle was getting exhausting and my skin had become dull at one point and I didn’t know how to fix it. 

I came across a different combination of natural ingredients through research trying to find something to try out. I thought about all the products I had tried over the years and I couldn’t think of a single product with a variety of natural ingredients. Normally, the skin care products I’d come across would have one or two ingredients listed as being 100% natural, but then they would also contain a tonne more ingredients that are synthetic and sometimes skin-damaging chemicals. I was impressed by the idea of a product consisting of only natural ingredients and nothing else. 

I contacted one of the private labelling manufacturers that I had come across to discuss some of their formulations and I requested samples, which I tried in a pursuit to fix my skin. I got rid of all the products I had at the time and I told myself I would stick with a few and await the results, and I wanted to be as minimalistic as possible so that my skin is not confused. After seeing remarkable results for myself, byValentine Skin Care was born.

You’re a pharmacist by occupation. How do you balance your full-time role with a business?

VS: I like to be busy. During the day, I’m doing my 9-5 pharmacist job and after that I check for new online orders and get these processed straight away. I move around a lot being a locum pharmacist, so I would check my location for the following day, or upcoming few days, and search to see if there is a post office nearby; I take the orders with me on my way to work and drop these off at the most convenient post office or I post them out during my lunch break if there is a post office close enough to my workplace. I wanted to be able to run this business without having to quit my career, so I set it up in a way that allows me to do both. I use weekends to catch up with the business orders, enquiries, keeping the business up to date on social media – basically, the weekend is for rounding up and preparing for the coming week. It works well. I know during the week, I’m in full-time pharmacist mode, and the few hours spare after work are for business and anything else that’s left to do will be done over the weekend. The pandemic kind of helped, without the pressure of setting aside time for socialising, but when the world is back open again, I will make time for that as well.

What are the main challenges you have faced since starting byValentine and how did you overcome them?

VS: It was difficult deciding whether to get into the beauty and cosmetics industry or not, seeing how over-saturated it is, but I realised the formulation of byValentine Skin Care products is unique and it is what is needed in the market, so I followed it through. When I began piecing everything together, I also realised there was so much to be considered. There were some things I hadn’t even thought about and there are still new things popping up even now; this has been a learning process as much as it is an experience. Marketing is still challenging but I am getting better at it by allowing myself to work with other people. At first, I was completely doing it all alone and I wasn’t achieving a lot by doing so. It has been helpful to collaborate with different people and work together with experts in this field.

Can you tell us a bit about your range and what distinguishes the brand from other skincare products currently on the market?

VS: The main thing that distinguishes byValentine Skin Care from other brands is that it is a “one fits all” brand. It solves multiple skin problems, not just one. With proven results, the transformation is too obvious. The Black Clay and Liquorice Face Mask, the Vitamin ACE Facial Serum, Vitamin ACE Moisturizer and the Rose Aloe Toner can all be used on all skin types; they are not necessarily skin-type specific, whether it be oily, combination, dull, dry, acne-prone or blemished skin. If you pick any from the range of four, it restores the skin and corrects the problem. The four products can be incorporated into a simple skin care routine and can be used and work well with other skin care products and brands. You can’t go wrong with natural, and the products are not specific to one type of skin problem or skin type. It just shows that the natural ingredients used to formulate the products become symbiotic with the skin. Most products on the market are specific to different skin types and some are not suitable for sensitive skin. byValentine Skin Care is suitable for use in sensitive skin and helps with other complex skin problems such as eczema and acne. In addition, byValentine Skin Care is gender-neutral; the products do not contain parabens or sulphates, they are not tested on animals, they are vegan-friendly and Halal. All of these attributes make it an all-inclusive skin care brand.

Tell us about the formulation process, what goes into making the products and are all your ingredients natural?

VS: All the ingredients are natural and are formulated in a GMP-accredited manufacturing factory with in-house technicians who ensure that up-to-date cosmetic regulations are adhered to. Cheap and synthetic ingredients that are common in today’s cosmetic marketplace are avoided.

What advice would you give to other budding beauty entrepreneurs who want to start their own business?

VS: My advice is to not give up, no matter what. Taking one step at a time is key because this way you can be sure that everything is thorough and all boxes are ticked. Whatever the venture, complying with cosmetic regulations is important as well as attaining the necessary certifications. This gives the consumers confidence in your business and how you operate. Most of all, have fun with it and do not be fixated on the idea of gaining profits overnight. It is a process – this mindset will help to maintain your focus and keep your eyes on the goal.

How has the pandemic affected your business and how have you adapted?

VS: byValentine Skin Care launched in October 2020 and it was lucky that some of the restrictions had been lifted and measures were put into workplaces to adapt to the changes brought on by the pandemic. Therefore, the orders placed were fulfilled on time by the manufacturer with a turnover of 3-4 weeks. It is primarily an online business, whereby orders are placed online via the website; the business was not affected. However, had the business launched before the start of the pandemic, I believe it would have been affected during the time everything was at a standstill with factories closed as well.

Is there a particular moment within byValentine’s history that you are particularly proud of?

VS: The Launch Day: it was confirmation that all this was now a reality. I had a minor setback in that I had a stock of products for sale, but I did not have a live website because a web designer had really let me down, even after I had paid fully for the services. I sat for 48 hours with four hour’s sleep to create and design the website myself because I was eager to get the business off the ground. I thought to myself, chasing up with the web designer and thinking about the lack of competency on their part and failing to deliver, was just going to be a waste of time. I chose to rather solve the problem, so I felt proud when the website was live. A professional has since revamped it, though.

If you could go back and give your younger self any piece of advice, what would it be?

VS: I would tell myself to take it easy; nothing happens overnight – it takes time, effort and dedication. I would also give myself props for choosing the MPharm degree, as well as being passionate about health and patient care. The chemistry and pharmaceutical knowledge helped in deciding what goes into the formulation of the skin care products. It makes it very easy to recognise and differentiate between safe and harmful chemicals.

Are byValentine skin care products available at a Zimbabwean based outlet? 

VS: The products will be available in Zimbabwe in September 2021 from Braid & Weave Nation – cnr 5 Avenue & L Takawira, 55 Avenues Mall. 

Customers can still purchase online from the website as international is available. We are hoping to have more distributors in the future and the process will be very easy for our partners as they will be able to get the products via www.creoate.com whereby all shipping costs and everything will be covered free of charge. All they will need to do is to just place their orders and wait for their delivery via DHL which takes no more than five days to arrive. 

Has someone local tried the byValentine Skin Care range?

VS: Yes, Lorraine Guyo has and she will also be the brand ambassador for byValentine Skin Care once the products are available in the country. She also has her own successful Braid & Weave brand and we have partnered to offer the best hair and skincare all in one. 

You can find the brand here: 

https://www.byvalentineonline.com/

IG: https://www.instagram.com/byvalentineskincare/

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