Winnie Mandela entrepreneur brings detergent products closer to the community

Sample of Kopano Mamafa’s detergents.

By Dumisani Hlatswayo

Winnie Mandela Zone 1 – Thembisa has a viable and more sophisticated detergent market. Still, there are few brands that an ordinary consumer from Thembisa can identify with. Kopano Mamafa spotted this gap in the market and decided to do something about it. Before starting his own manufacturing company, the Winnie Mandela entrepreneur amassed experience by working for a merchandising company where, among other things, he was responsible for promoting prominent detergent brands. It was only in 2021 when Kopano founded his manufacturing business and called it Melanin Chems.

 “We would always negotiate for space on the shelves, promote their brands and ensure that there is enough stock in the stores of those areas. I realised that I am good in that field and that I could build a brand that can compete with the best,” Kopano told The Olifants News.

Kopano Mamafa

Kopano’s company, Melanin Chems, supplies an assortment of detergent products, from thick bleach to dishwashers, sanitisers, and pine gel. His company has identified local restaurants, pubs, daycare centres, and schools as their primary target market. Melanic Chem currently supplies more than ten establishments in Thembisa and surrounding areas.

“Our community needs one more company that will emerge within itself. A brand that

will employ locals, a brand dedicated to advancing the youth through skills development and charity work,” he explained.

Kopano said one of the biggest challenges they had to face as a company was managing their finances, including pricing and cash flow management.

 “I believe that before we could discuss funding in a black community, we should educate our entrepreneurs about financial management. And empower them with knowledge of how to price reasonably and teach them how to identify affordable suppliers. It really helped that I knew all these things early on,” Kopano said.

Kopano’s company has recently managed to secure a space that they can use to manufacture detergent products. However, they are still hoping to secure a small warehouse for their manufacturing and a small factory shop. “Our demand hasn’t reached a point where we need heavy machinery yet. We still buy our chemicals from one of the resellers in Kempton Park who package and sell them in small quantities for emerging manufacturers,” said Kopano.

 In September 2021, Melanin Chems launched its first flagship product, Formulae, which competes with other established brands on the shelves. Fortunately, Kopano managed to list his products with over 60 stores. Apart from being an entrepreneur, Kopano is  a final year LLB student with Unisa.

For those interested in contacting Kopano, he is available on these contact details: Cell: 0680361344 Email: Facebook: Melanin Chems

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