Cindy Nel and Cosmetix in Cape Town

CindyNell-600x4001. Why did you start your own business?
Everything seemed to have organically flowed to me starting my own business, the opportunities presented themselves and meeting my husband, Clive it all seemed like it was meant to be. I began working from the age of 15 so I have always been a very driven individual. Starting your own business presents many challenges which not only drives you but helps you grow, learn and puts a special kind of fire in your belly. There is something very special about doing your own thing, it keeps you up at night and gives you energy in the morning.

2. What are the hours that you work?
I work all hours sometimes even after the kids have gone to bed, I will be up till 2am on my emails. Having said that there are days where I can take off and lie in for the day or go away. Having your own business is not a 8-5 job.

3. How many people work in your business?
+- 50 people. It is a family run business and we try to keep it intimate, however as the business expands so will the employees. There was a time Where Clive and i were everything from sales to logistics, managers, marketing and even packed if we needed too, and we have always believed in organic growth in stead of forced growth, but when the time was right we started expanding.

4. What are the goals for your business?
To takeover the world (laugh). We try to remember the core ethos of the business, providing affordable makeup, skincare and tanning products to women. We want to continue doing so on a broader spectrum.

5. How do you handle pressure?
Lots of rescue remedy , no im joking, but i need those for my toddlers…… I enjoy pilates, yoga and meditation. It is important to keep a level head and keep things in perspective. I read the book “Act like a lady think like a man” it provides insight into to being less emotional when it comes to business. As women we do tend to put so much emotion into everything and to eliminate the emotion takes the pressure off and creates space for logical thinking. But there is a time and place for everything, sometimes being a woman can be an advantage, we are more in touch with those around us, compassionate, have a special instincts and are not scared to get our hands dirty. But there is no running away from being good. You need to be the best in your field. Make sure you know more than anyone else, there is very little pressure when you do.

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6. How would a man run your business differently?
My husband co-runs the company, I learn a lot from my him.. We have to stop living in a sexist society. I don’t think a man will run the business any differently, both Clive and myself have a nice balance of understanding; a business needs finesse but also someone with a masculine energy who love the nuts and bolts. We can steal some of the secrets of the men because we know women are the superior sex .

7. How do you juggle being a mom and running a business?
Practice, trial and error, and prioritizing. Watching my children and what is import‎ant to them. For example Ethan loves to go to the beach with me and playing lego with me, but couldn’t care less if me or my mother or the au pair picks him up from school or what I do when he sleeps.
Firstly I must say we sleep trained both our kids (the tough love way) and because they both sleep well now from 7-6 and 8-7 we generally ‎spend more quality time with them because we sleep well too. So at night we have energy for family play and in the mornings we have breakfast as a family everyone rested and happy, Laugh!
I prefer to think that quality time is as if not more important than quantity.
I prioritize my family above all. So ill go for a run before the kids get up, or go to gym whilst at school‎. I work when they go to bed sometimes instead of watching TV and luckily I love what I do so that helps. But I try not to overthink it too much. My brother and I both grew up with parents working full time and there was none of this pedantic drama and psycho analysis of kids, parents, behaviour and directing every little decision and movement. When we were naughty we got hidings and when we were good or achieved we received praise. We had to play with ourselves and we never went to moms and babe’s and baby genius classes. And we are both fine, I like to think we are successful, balanced achievers who adore our parents, we are happy, uncomplicated people and now both parents ourselves have very much the same philosophy on life. , I travel on shoots, I work, go away with my husband for a weekend or holiday every 2 months. I give my kids time outs and a little tap on the bum if the golden rule is broken (do not hurt anyone else or put your own life in danger). But I’m also a very very very affectionate mom who absolutely adores my children. I think they are of course the most amazing, beautiful, cute, clever, well mannered, funny babies the universe has ever produced haha… and I make sure to also do fun things with them, bath time fun, also read, kiss, cuddle, play, be silly, I try not to say NO all the time or nag them. Its hard not to get caught up in “Living like the Joanses” race. Especially living on the Atlantic seaboard (am I allowed to say that laugh!)
We go to so many classes and baby this and toddler that, that we actually DONT spend quality time with our children, so I’m trying to stop doing that and doing more things like sitting on the floor playing lego or walking through the forest picking up small dirty things (no wipes or sanitiser in bag – it’s hard yes) and listening to what he has to say or just be together in silence.

I make time for quality and fun above all even if I have to put other things on hold I do what’s right for me and my family first. Everyone else must wait.
We have a tendency as South Africans to want to please everyone and be liked by everyone. That in itself is extremely time consuming

8. Would you ever go and work for a boss again?
No, yes, maybe…depends on
the opportunity and where i am at in my life then. But certainly not in the foreseeable future.

9. Do you ever take work home with you?
Intially Clive and myself had a house rule of no work or work discussions to be done after a certain time at home, we decided this in order to keep business and personal life separate. However we found that this didn’t work to well, some things needed to be discussed and worked on due to deadlines etc and by trying to avoid doing so would lead to tension or arguments. We now understand that the business coming up at home is inevitable. The same goes for work, sometimes home life gets brought to work whether it be bringing the children to work with me or leaving work to collect the children from school. It works for us, i don’t think there is a hard and fast rule here, you need to find what works for you and your family.

10. What do you do to relax?
Go to the spa, have a massage or facial, reading and yoga

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11. What would you like to know more about to run your business better?
I would like to be updated with the latest software, applications and programmes that can benefit the business and i wouldn’t mind a couple of years to do my mba

12. If you had to start again what would you do better knowing what you know now?
Nothing really – we have done it well, there is very little i would change now or in future but I wouldn’t trust people so easily with running the business and handling the money. We tried that initially and a very good friend stole 1million rand from us. It hurts when it happens and it does make you realize that ‘’when it comes to money you don’t really know someone as well as you think”’.

13. Did you have to borrow money and if yes what route did you follow?
Yes and No, we were fortunate enough not needing to borrow money at first, we had savings which we put into the business, but as a business grows off course that changes. We have very good relationship with our bank Nedbank and they are great to work with. They fortunately also think we are great so there is never concern for future endeavours. Having a good bank that does more than just keep your money in the sky is vital to success.

14. What satisfaction do you get from running your own business?
Seeing the business grow, and the snowball effect of success and of how everything falls into place when you don’t focus to much on making more money but rather the passion you have for the business .

15. What makes your business successful?
The amazing people who work for it

16. What form of marketing do you use?
A combination of traditional and modern marketing. The traditional ways of marketing we use are done in a modern way. We make use of social media, online, media promotions, networking, brand building and public relations. We have 2 pr agencies and an incredible marketing team, a group of ladies who blow me away every day and who are passionate about what they do. We try to be innovative and stay on top of the trends and have good relationships with the media.


Telephone Cosmetix on 021 534 0287 or email Chris on