Every woman knows how difficult it is to find a hair care range that is perfectly suited to their hair type. If you’re Linda Giekes, you solve this issue by creating your very own line of hair oils and serums! Currently available in Johannesburg, South Africa, Maputo, Mozambique and Kinshasa, DRC – Suki Suki Naturals is a blend of fine ingredients geared towards the repair, growth and treatment of different ethnic hair types. We spoke to Linda about her newly-launched line of hair products, as well as balancing entrepreneurship and life as a lawyer…
Full name: Linda Ines Gieskes
Current title/company: Founder and Director of Suki Suki Naturals/ Legal Consultant
Educational background: BA Law, University of the Witwatersrand
Current city: Johannesburg
What was your first job out of college and how did you land it?
My first job out of college is the job I’m currently working at, as a legal consultant. I took a gap year after graduating in 2012 and I went to New York for a year where I interned for a Law Firm. When I returned to Johannesburg, a position opened in their local branch.
In 2013, you founded Suki Suki Naturals – an ethnic hair care product line, as well as made it your mission to teach ethnic women on the importance of good hair care. What was the inspiration behind this business?
In 2010, I shaved my hair in order to grow out my afro, as I was tired of chemically straightening my hair and damaging it. I knew I could have beautiful, big and healthy hair if it was natural, however, I did not know what products to use on my hair as a natural (kinky, textured hair needs natural ingredients to grow beautifully). So I began concocting my own mixtures.
I was very happy with the results and the people around me always asked what I did for my hair to grow so quickly and to be so healthy, so I shared my conctions with family and friends and before I knew it I was selling my own products. My products are so clear and honest that my clients always come back for more; they are free of chemicals, sulfates, mineral oil, parabens, preservatives and animal ingredients that are used in most cosmetic and hair products. Such ingredients are, not only bad for hair and skin health; but parabens, for instance, can be absorbed into the digestive system and has been proven to cause cancer.
These are products that we use everyday and we use them on babies too. Big cosmetic companies use them as they are cheap and give you the appearance of healthy skin and/or hair, they claim to be using natural ingredients for their marketing schemes; but only use mere extracts of natural ingredients. A big part of engaging with my clients is to open their eyes to what they are putting on their hair and skin, by doing so we could avoid a lot of future damage.
From studying a Law degree to eventually starting Suki Suki Naturals, how did you ultimately determine the type of career you were most passionate about?
I have always been passionate about beauty and fashion, so when I decided to start Suki Suki Naturals, the process was quite natural and organic although I never knew how successful my products would be. My love for it helped me to continue what was a very small experiment. I find myself at a bit of a crossroad at the moment, because I now know how successful my brand can be, but I know I still need to acquire more experience in the Legal Sector.
What have been the biggest challenges or obstacles you’ve faced in your career as a entrepreneur and how were you able to overcome them?
I do not have a background in business and marketing; and I am often confronted with problems that I do not always know how to tackle and this leads to self doubt and in thinking that the venture I am undertaking is too big for me. Thankfully, I have family and friends who constantly remind me that I’m great at what I do and that success is inevitable, especially when you put so much love into what you do.
What is a typical work day like for you?
I have a day job, as a legal consultant, so my work days are pretty busy as I have to juggle between having a 9 to 5 and taking care of every aspect of my own business. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible either.
What is most fulfilling about being your own boss?
Although I love the fact that I don’t have anyone to answer to, having cleints who trusts and rely on you is scarier because you do not want to let them down. There’s much more pressure to perform when you’re your own boss.
Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
The hardest thing to do is start, no matter how small you start, just do it. If you love what you do, this love will speak for itself.
Morning or night?
If you could have lunch with any woman, who would it be and what would you order? Eartha Kitt.
I wish I knew how to… Play the piano
African women are… Goddesses
South Africa is… the land of hope and opportunity
Worst money mistake… Paying someone for services they claim they can provide, without doing proper research about them
Best investment… Beautiful packaging for my products
Motivation in 3 words… Ye are gods (Psalms 82:6)
For more information about Suki Suki Naturals, or should you wish to make a purchase, visit the online store at http://www.sukisukinaturals.co.za/