Natures Gentle Touch Celebrates 25 years of Doing Business
Foremost hair care brand for women of colour, Natures Gentle Touch, celebrates 25 years of doing business in Nigeria.
Speaking at a media conference to celebrate this milestone, Chika Ikenga, Chairman, Recare Limited, said the brand story of Natures Gentle Touch has been on for 25 years as the brand means different things to different people.
“Most people believe we are a foreign brand,” he explained. “Some people could not believe we are a Nigerian brand because of the good quality of the products and the nice way our products are packaged.”
Furthermore, Ikenga said the business was established 25 years ago for three reasons – to use the brand as a catalyst for social change, to encourage women to carry their natural hair and to solve a problem.
“First, we set out to change the poor perception of made-in-Nigeria products. In the 1990s, consumers do not believe in the quality of products manufactured in Nigeria which led to poor pricing. And so, we wanted to create a product that would address that poor perception and solve that type of problem,” Ikenga explained.
In terms of creating a product that would solve a problem, Ikenga said, most Nigerian women experience hair dryness and breakage and there was no product in the Nigerian market in the 1990s that addressed these issues.
“Most hair products in the Nigerian beauty market in the 1990s were foreign brands designed for white women. These products were mostly relaxers which were wrongly applied to the hair of Nigerian women, in particular, the scalp. This caused dryness of the scalp and caused hair breakage.”
Ikenga noted that in 1995, he resigned from his job to focus on Recare Limited, the parent company of Natures Gentle Touch. This led him and his team to take some proactive steps to change the existing market dynamics.
“We sent out 1, 000 pieces of Natures Gentle Touch relaxers to salons for feedback on the product. We discovered that most hairdressers at the time did not know how to properly apply relaxers to the hair. So, we started a training institute, the Natures Gentle Touch Institute, to train a new breed of hairdressers, whom we christened hair stylists, on how to care for black women’s hair.”
Going into the future, Ikenga said the next big step for his organisation is to expand into bathing category of the beauty industry, by expanding its product offerings in the hygiene segment and creating more interesting products in the personal care category that will cater to the needs of families.