How Sandra Mwiihangele built her internationally recognized beauty brand from her mom’s garage

Abu Mubarik May 11, 2023
Today, Mwiihangele's brand has gained international recognition, and supplies products to customers across Africa. Photo credit: the LionessofAfrica

Meet Sandra Mwiihangele, the founder of Kiyomisandz Beauty Products, a cosmetic and toiletry manufacturing company based in Windhoek, Namibia. Kiyomisandz was founded in 2015 in Mwiihangele’s mother’s garage, LoA reported.

Today, her brand has gained international recognition and supplies products to customers across Africa. Additionally, the company has relocated into a big factory, where it now produces on a large scale.

Mwiihangele started the business because there was no third-party or contracted cosmetic and toiletry manufacturing company in Namibia that specialized in this field. 

“I also began this business because I knew that I’ve always preferred to work for myself, because this gives me the freedom to creatively express and create my visions without limitations,” she told Moguldom.

According to Mwiihangele, she was inspired to start her company after winning the National Young Science competition in Namibia at the age of 11 for co-developing a high-performance lipstick. 

Growing up, she did not settle for less, despite struggling with her speech and being a shy person – friends made fun of her because she was always stuttering. However, she eventually taught herself how to speak properly.

“That experience living with different people each time taught me how to deal and manage people’s different personalities, which is a key trait I try to keep and practice as an adult building an empire that deals with various customers and clients,” she told Moguldom.

Determination and the desire to succeed have always been her hallmark, this became evident when she taught herself to speak flawlessly and also overcame the hurdles she encountered on her entrepreneurial journey.

Mwiihangele also appreciates the power of starting small. In her final year at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, she had to complete a 12-month in-service training at an analytical lab. There, she learned about cosmetic formulations, as well as research and product development, and managed to save up to $1,500 – which she used to start Kiyomisandz in Namibia.

However, her entrepreneurial journey has not always been an easy one, she says. The lack of funding for startups like hers has always been a major issue, as well as the challenge of importing majority of her raw materials.

Since the founding of the company, Kiyomisandz has earned the 2015 National Commission on Research, Science & Technology innovation grant and the 2016 Development Bank of Namibia innovation award.

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: May 11, 2023

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