In the latest period, most people all over the world headed toward buying natural body care products, as they become aware of their benefits and the harmful effects of artificial products.
Meanwhile, Pharmascienta specialises in producing a line of 100% natural all handmade Egyptian body care products free from preservatives, chemicals, colours, and artificial fragrances, making Nefertari a well-known Egyptian body care brand.
Daily News Egypt interviewed, Mona Erian, CEO and founder of Nefertari natural body care products to know more about her journey with natural body care brand and her journey as an entrepreneur, the obstacles she faced, and how she overcame them.
It is worth mentioning that Erian graduated with a BSc in pharmacy from Cairo university, she went on to get her PhD in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing from Oxford university in 1978. Following this, she went on to take numerous marketing diplomas before establishing Pharmascienta company, the manufacturer of Nefertari.
When and how did you start the journey with Nefertari?
This story was 25 years ago, I was the Middle East Director of a pharmaceutical company, so I used to travel permanently to many countries. In one of my trips, my daughter asked me to buy her a strawberry fragrance shampoo.
After using the shampoo, my daughter had burns on her scalp.
So, I decided to read the shampoo formula, and unfortunately, I found it contained carcinogenic chemicals, which led to burns in the scalp. I searched for a natural shampoo but could not find a single one. Since I am a pharmacist, I decided to make one myself using natural ingredients. I made a pure olive oil soap and was surprised by the result. I luckily got it right the first time.
I made a big quantity, so I distributed them to my friends and to my neighbours.
Surprisingly, my friends demanded this soap from me again, and since then, I decided to start a small line of soaps, this line slowly expanded to include a multitude of natural products.
Then, I opened my first workshop in Shabramant, and now Nefertari has a factory located on a 2,000-acre factory in Fayoum with the latest international equipment.
The factory produces six tonnes of the finest types of soap per month and most of the packaging is made in the factory by Egyptian hands.
Why did you choose the name Nefertari for your products?
I chose Nefertari as it’s the name of the Egyptian beautiful queen Nefertari. It is an Egyptian name and I chose to write that all our products are proudly handmade in Egypt.
Where do you get the raw materials?
Most of the raw materials we use are from Egypt unless they are not available in Egypt.
To what countries does Nefertari export its products?
Nefertari exports its products to many countries including, Russia, China, Kazakhstan, and Iraq and I hope to export to Europe in 2018.
What is Nefertari’s export rate?
Neferatri exports about 30-40% of its production, but I hope to export 70% of production in 2018.
What were the obstacles that you faced in your journey with Nefertari?
The largest obstacle was being unaware of the legal procedures and issues to secure the work of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). For example, I did not have an accountant, so I didn’t know how much was paid on raw materials, I did not know the pricing mechanism, I did not know whether I had to pay a sales tax or not, I did not know that even the bills I get are included in tax bills or not, and didn’t know how to market my product.
I was faced with all of these problems at first and any entrepreneur faces them.
What are your suggestions for avoiding these problems, so that any new entrepreneur will not have to face them?
I suggest that the National Council for Women establishes an office where they specialists from various sectors would be available. For example, someone would provide tax advice, an accountant, and marketer, etc, in order to help entrepreneurs in their projects and to answer all their inquiries.
What are your advices for the new entrepreneurs?
I read in a book that, “you do not have the luxury of a negative thought,” meaning that there is not time to say I can’t or I don’t know, as they are negative thoughts. So, I advise every entrepreneur to try more than once, to work as much as she can because she will not have time to say I can’t or I don’t know.