Ntshantsha Tafeni, Managing Director and founder of Yivani is no stranger to brand management. She has had experience in the marketing industry, new product development, communications and Human Resources. Her work experience is broad and covers FMCG organisations, retail and public sector consulting.
The long hours and unwelcoming environments of her first jobs prepared Ntshanthsa to build a resilience that she would need when running her own business. In March 2007 she started a project management company and within three years, recession hit and consultants were no longer in demand. This forced Ntshantsha to change direction once again.
Growing up using natural healing alternatives Ntshantsha is very passionate about herbs. Through one of her research projects Ntshantsha, who had moved onto more conventional medicine, found she could go back to using herbs in an oil form.
“Yivani began its journey with the vision of creating a business that is able to offer value-added products in an effort to satisfy the growing demand for products that not only offer natural alternatives to health care, but also to offer products to those who are looking for a more holistic mind, body, spirit solution for combating stressful day to day living,” says Ntshantsha.
Yivani products offer effective healing capabilities and help to reduce the risks of toxicity that would normally be associated with the chemicals used in the production of a lot of medication. The range includes anti-aging products, anti-inflammatory essentials, anti-fungal supplies, pain relievers, soothing creams, sun protection products and insect repellents to name a few.
“In 2010 I started searching for mentorships and incubations, mainly because as SMEs we work in silos and the isolation to networking opportunities and sharing best practice with other entrepreneurs can make or break the life of an entrepreneur. That’s the main reason I started being involved in a lot of networking sessions,” says Ntshantsha.
According to Ntshantsha the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship foundation course was a well-rounded experience offering not only formal business best practices but also an opportunity to network and learn from other SME’s. “Because of endless exposure opportunities created by the Branson Centre, Yivani Naturals has now secured a UK base client. I am now busy with the advanced course. I have already started implementing the MVP practice, I am now looking for a solution each day and in everything I look at,” says Ntshantsha.
Yivani is involved with a number of community projects. Ntshantsha has spoken to the Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority (WRSETA) to allocate a number of youth to be absorbed by Yivani for on the job training for their Internship and Skills Development programme, giving young talent skills that will help them to be employable.
They are also involved in a soap-making training project that will train women on how to make soaps, sell them, and give them the skills to run their own businesses.
Viyani is using the Eastern Cape as the pilot for their biodiesel-processing project. The community will use its land to produce feedstock, which has a guaranteed market as a consortium will buy the produce and it will be processed into oil to be used for biodiesel. By-products like glycerin will be used to make soap, and feed cake will be sold to neighboring farms.
Ntshantsha’s business philosophy is based on the principles of growing with others as she grows. She’s committed to growing a successful South African; black owned business with an international footprint built on the foundation of empowerment, thus setting a trend and an example for black South African women.