PledgeMe projects and marketing lead Charlotte Squire spoke to Henry’s Skincare director Alvin Mafuta about launching his team’s first product, seven months after successfully equity crowdfunding $33,000 for their men’s skincare range.
Henry’s Skincare director Alvin Mafuta
Looking back, how did it feel in June 2021 when you surpassed your funding goal of $30,000?
I felt extremely grateful. It certainly got us a step further towards our ultimate goal. We’re still very thankful for those who backed our vision since the very beginning.
What are three key things you and your team did to make that happen?
- Behind the scenes we were hustling, emailing, calling and holding a lot of one-on-one Zoom meetings pre-pitching to potential investors, which were made up of friends, family and people in our professional networks. Not everyone came on board, but we just persisted in putting our vision out there regardless. Along the way some of our core crowd came on board and we also picked up some awesome investors on PledgeMe who believed in us and our vision.
- From the time of preparation to the time we launched our equity crowdfunding campaign it was almost nine months, so we had a lot of time to refine our plan and strategy. Initially we had aimed to raise a significantly higher amount but after careful consideration, we decided to take a lean approach and scale down our plan. We revised our strategy and focussed on raising the absolute minimum amount we needed to get the plan in motion. In hindsight had we not taken that approach we may have never met our goal.
- One thing that helped as well was being as transparent as possible and answering investor questions directly and promptly.
What’s been happening for you and your team since then?
We just recently launched our first product, which was another milestone we’ve managed to achieve despite COVID disruptions to global supply chains. Other than that we’ve been working on our next milestone while implementing strategic partnerships to support our growth over the next four years.
What have been some of your sweetest moments during that time?
Seeing our first production run completed has been one of our favourite moments. It’s one thing to have a vision, but to follow through with it and then see it become a reality is quite satisfying.
What challenged you and how did you move through that?
After knocking on almost every New Zealand venture capital door, I ran out of doors to knock on. I was turned down by every single one as the majority of New Zealand VC firms were almost exclusively focussed on investing in the technology sector as opposed to FMCG [fast moving consumer good] startups. We eventually learned about PledgeMe. What struck us about it was how supportive the PledgeMe team was for people with ventures in the early seed-stage, through the entire process our team really felt supported.
Tell us about the product you’ve just released?
The Clarifying Facial Cleanser is our first product, designed to help men improve skin clarity, hydration and complexion smoothness naturally. The cleanser is specially formulated to clarify and revitalise the unique properties of mens’ skin. It’s highly concentrated and features New Zealand ingredients harakeke and giant sea kelp extracts.
We’re working on introducing two more SKU’s [stock keeping units] next year as part of our three-step routine. We’re also exploring the use of AI technology to help us significantly improve customer experience and other operations in our company. Other than that it’s business as usual delivering elegantly designed, high-quality men’s natural skincare products from New Zealand to the world.
We’re excited about the prospect of entering the US market sometime in the future.
Visit Henry’s Skincare website here.