Local hair brand bounces back from pandemic


Sonto Pooe

Natural hair and body care brand, NativeChild, is one of the SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) in South Africa to receive a significant marketing boost as a beneficiary of Tractor Outdoor’s #20in21 SME Initiative.


Founded by Sonto Pooe to meet the under-serviced needs of women of colour, NativeChild immediately felt the impact of COVID-19 when it first struck last year. Says Pooe: “Many of our raw materials are imported and when borders were shut, the acquisition of these materials suddenly became a serious challenge, resulting in delays of up to three months or more.


“The knock-on effect of this supply-demand situation is that costs suddenly escalated and we had to absorb these margins, because a pandemic is not the time to be increasing prices given the fact that the consumer purse is already under pressure.”


Another consequence of COVID-19 and lockdown was that, when NativeChild was finally able to access raw materials and packaging, it had to double up on order volume, because there was uncertainty around another possible clamp down on trade.


“We found ourselves walking a tight rope between ensuring we had sufficient materials, while managing cash flow. Interestingly though, there was a spike in customer interest and we struggled to keep up with the inquiries,” she says.


The economic impact of the last year now sees Pooe focusing on education, with a view to increasing awareness around the brand and ultimately driving sales.


“As advertising plays a key role in this strategy, we are delighted that NativeChild is one of the beneficiaries of Tractor Outdoor’s #20in21 SME Initiative, which is supporting SMEs that were dealt a blow by the pandemic. We will receive a media package that includes outdoor advertising across Tractor’s extensive outdoor network, social media and PR exposure, digital assets and online promotion.


“Being part of this initiative affords us the opportunity to grow our customer base. The advertising presence will not only support our expansion into major retail, but will also help us recover some costs incurred as result of COVID, helping us to become the household name we aspire to be.”