When making organic products for your customers, walking the walk is just as important as talking the talk— a walk Catherine Njane, founder of Zerufi Organics was already all too familiar living.
Founded in 2017, but quickly establishing itself as Kigali’s number one go-to for natural skin and hair products, Zerufi is bringing a much needed change to organic living for women who are ditching artificial creams with chemicals for all natural moisturisers. For Catherine, there is no difference between what we eat and what we put on our skin and in a time when people are starting to take control of their health in all aspects, it’s no surprise that this passion turned business in taking the market by storm.
Similar to our story and even more inspiring is Catherine’s matter of fact attitude about health and well-being. It’s clear that her brand identity aims to empower and inspire women to make decisions that positively contribute to living their best lives one whipped organic butter at a time.
We’re excited to share the stories of women who are using their gifts to positively impact the lives of other women through their passion. This is Catherine’s:
TELL US ABOUT YOUR DECISION TO OPEN YOUR OWN NATURAL PRODUCT LINE – WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO FINALLY TAKE THE LEAP FROM CORPORATE TO ENTREPRENEURSHIP?
I started out making my own products. I had a really bad eczema breakout out of nowhere a few years back. I didn’t know what it was since I didn’t know anyone in my life that had it so I went to dermatologist who diagnosed me with eczema. He said it is not known what triggers it and there’s no known cure so they could only give me corticosteroid creams to manage it.
“I’ve always been one of those people who read labels on everything before using them so that I can know what exactly I’m putting inside or on my body.”
(some of my friends and family actually find shopping with me to be quite exhausting) so the thought of using chemicals indefinitely did not sit well with me. I started doing research and started mixing my own butters because store bought lotions irritated my skin. This slowly turned into a hobby. I would research and come with different recipes for myself, my friends and family. They really liked them and kept asking for more.
At some point one of my friends jokingly said that I should package these products and that I would have an eternal customer in her. I laughed it off. My work schedule at the time was crazy and I rarely had weekends or evenings to myself so it was laughable to think that I could fit such a project anywhere in that schedule. A few other people made the same comment after that and I started finding myself looking into how I would want the brand to look like if I were to do this, hypothetically.
I’m a Risk Consultant by profession – I worked with one of the big 4 professional firms for almost 6 years. Entrepreneurship was never part of my plans to be honest. I loved the stability that my job offered, I loved my job for the most part, I was good at it and I had worked really hard to get to the point I was at in my career so it was a tough decision to give that up. I tried to run the business on the side for a couple of months but it wasn’t sustainable especially with my work schedule. I was getting more and more customers from referrals from friends and co-workers and I didn’t know how I was going handle this growing demand. I finally decided to quit my job to see where this passion would lead to.
“It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make but I’m eternally grateful for the great support system that I have. I couldn’t have done this without them – they are truly my heroes.”
Long story short, Zerufi Organics is really just a hobby that turned into a passion and finally grew into a business. I’m so glad I took that leap; it’s been an incredible journey of constant learning so far.
HOW DO YOU CELEBRATE HEALTHY LIVING AND DO YOU THINK YOUR APPROACH WOULD BE DIFFERENT IF YOU WEREN’T INVOLVED IN MAKING NATURAL CARE PRODUCTS?
I would say that my making of natural products was somehow a result of my inclination towards healthy living. I don’t think my approach would be so different if I wasn’t making natural products but
“I like that I’m more in control of what I put on my skin and hair and that I get to share this with others.”
YOUR SELECTION OF GOODS IS VERY MUCH CENTERED AROUND PLANTS. WHY WAS THIS IMPORTANT TO YOU?
I’m a strong believer of not putting anything on my skin that I wouldn’t put in my mouth.
“I believe that we can find effective solutions in nature without having to resort to chemical-laden products.”
I try to offer that with my products range.
HOW WOULD YOU ADVISE THE NEXT GENERATION OF ORGANIC ENTHUSIASTS TO ADVANCE NATURAL LIVING IN TODAYS SOCIETY WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY DOING WHAT THEY LOVE?
You can make a difference and earn a living doing what you love, unconventional as it may be. Not everything in life needs to be a checklist.
WHAT ARE SOME BOOKS YOU THAT HAVE INSPIRED YOU ENOUGH TO LIVE BY?
- Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
- When Hope Whispers by Zoleka Mandela
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
- Life of Pi by Yann Martel
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak