Robina Bananuka: Facing the Challenges of Introducing a New Product in the Market

| April 1, 2012 | 0 Comments

Robina BananukaLaunching a new product in the market is not for the faint-hearted. Creating the product, and perfecting it to meet the needs of the market require a lot of planning, leg work and strategizing.

Robina Bananuka recently launched her own line of hair care products and treatments at designed for black women who wear hair extensions. The startup process and long, and much needs to be done to penetrate the market.

Read Robina’s journey to success with Robinkka Hair Fresher:

Can you tell us about your product Robinkka Hair Freshener?

Robinkka is the creator and manufacturer of Hair Care products and treatments.  Our first product launched is a Hair Freshener especially made for black women who wear hair extensions; for human & synthetic hair; bonded, weave, wigs, hair pieces and units.   What makes this product unique is that it is made from essential oils.

Utilizing the best quality of supplies, all Robinkka Hair Fresheners are of the highest-grade in ingredients.  The 6 different fragrances have a clean fresh smell, not heavily scented and will therefore not clash with your perfume.

Our offer is simple, to offer you confidence with continuous fragrant and fresh hair.

How did you come up with the idea for the product? What need did you see in the marketplace?

The brand and the brand name is me (one of the nick names I have). It represents me the user and the one who has a need, a woman who regularly wears hair extensions and needs to keep my hair smelling clean and shampoo fresh in-between salon visits.  My hair freshener was created out of a common need and I knew there would be other black women who required it – if they are wearing hair extensions at the time.

The majority of black women wear hair extensions at some point of the year, they too will be facing a similar challenge; unable to wash their daily but wanting to keep it clean smelling and fragrant.  After I created my first hair freshener which worked and I use every day, I knew that I had to start Robinkka to help other black women who have similar needs.

What were the challenges you faced in turning the product from an idea to an actual  prototype? How long did the process take?

The biggest initial challenge was getting the composition right in all 6 fragrances and ensuring there was the right balance to create the best scent.

How are you financing the business?

Through my savings and my salary from the full-time job I still hold.

Your product has a patent pending right now. How else are you protecting your business from potential copycats?

I’ve also trademarked my Logo and I’m waiting for the completion of my slogan as well.

How are you marketing your business?

I am marketing the business in a number of ways:

  • Press releases and samples sent to targeted Magazines and Blogs. As my product is a unique product I’m targeting the industry innovators in black hair and beauty.
  • Telemarketing and Face to face selling; contacting prospective distributors/wholesalers/retailers.
  • Social Media; directing potential users to the Robinkka website.
  • Giveaways; using competitions and building a mailing list via the website.
  • Networking.
  • Trade shows and events
  • Currently working on testimonials.

hair treatment for black hairHow are you balancing your business with your personal life?

Honestly… the majority of my time and money is being poured into Robinkka.  I’m in the introductory stage of my product life cycle, I have to hit the ground running to build product awareness.  However I make an effort to have relaxed weekends to spend as much time as possible with my husband.

What lessons have you learned so far about being an entrepreneur?

Dedication, determination and discipline keep things moving forward.  This is a road that delivers small rewards along the way to your final destination – the biggest reward.  Creativity helps when you are faced with obstacles/challenges.

How do you see the business 5 years from now?

Robinkka will be global.  I already have global interest, now it’s about building brand awareness in global markets.  Robinkka will be expanding its range; it’ll be all about hair care and beauty products using as many natural ingredients as possible.

What lessons can you share other women entrepreneurs out there?

Continue to research.  Continue to read books by entrepreneurs and business people in the same field as you.  Continue with training courses; keep up with the times, the trends and whilst this improves your knowledge, it’ll go further in establishing you as the brand leader and/or authority in your filed.

All this activity will continuously keep you in the loop but it’s also very important to step away and take a break, even if it’s for couple of days or so – you come out with more ideas when you’re relaxed.

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Category: Startup Stories

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Isabel Isidro is the editor of She also writes for and Learning from Big Boys .

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