"Inspired by and made for my children" A slogan that drove Amina Mango to success.
Amina’s Skincare is a local Jordanian brand for natural skincare products. It is the first and only certified organic skincare manufacturer in larger Middle East and North Africa region. Curated and created by Amina Mango.
Amina Mango, is a mom, a wife, a woman and a Jordanian entrepreneur. An artist at her core, Amina holds an art degree from Florence Italy. Her company slogan is “Inspired by and created for my children” an honest and genuine statement that stands true at the core of everything that she does. We sat down with Amina to talk about the inspirational women that she is and how she’s achieved her success.
Every brand has a unique trait. What is unique about Amina’s Skincare?
A: Aside from being the first and only certified organic skincare manufacturer in Middle East and North Africa region, what makes us even more unique is that we mostly use local hero substances; organic virgin olive oil, Dead Sea salts and Aloe Vera in addition to other certified organic substances from all over the world - it is at our core to create a sustainable structure and be beneficial to our local communities first.
A: Apart from your dedication and precision, who gets the credit for Amina’s Skincare seeing the light? What do you say to them?
The origins of this brand started when I first started creating skincare products for my kids, my eldest daughter was suffering from eczema and finding natural, safe and effective skincare products for sensitive skin was what drove me, After all “Necessity is the mother of invention”. My kids were both my inspiration and my motivation. Throughout the journey of making all of this happen, I had the support of everyone around me; my kids, my husband, my brother, and my family. If it wasn’t for their constant support, these products might not have seen the light.
A: How did you start and how was your journey?
I started making soaps in my kitchen, then moved it to a spare room I had in the house. When I started to make products for people other than my family and my friends, I realized that this room is not enough anymore and I need more space. I made a small workshop in the backyard and moved my production. I didn’t have a shop or any online presence at the time. In 2008, I decided to register and start the factory. Needing to import raw materials and grow further, I had to go into the agonizing registration process. Registering a factory that is a first and one of its kind, took us years of convincing the ministry to allow the registration of the factory; especially that it was going to be in a non-industrial area.
Ever since then, it has been only growing. Now, we’re aiming to expand the size of the factory with more production lines. The number of employees is now twelve but we look forward to making it larger.
A: From all the challenges that a new business could encounter, what would you list as the top three?
The first challenge I faced was that I did not have the knowledge I needed for manufacturing and production, especially when it comes to organic products, but I managed to intensively learn everything on my own.
The bureaucracy, the random enforcement of laws, registration requirements and the massive amount of time this process needed was another challenge I had to overcome. The lack of information in every step of the way was a challenge. Trying to find raw material in itself was a main one as many of the suppliers are not listed nor online. Finding a reasonable designer, or finding out the steps and requirements is hard as well. Jordan is well-equipped for large businesses which makes it a lot harder for small businesses to see the light nonetheless survive. Cash flow was another challenge, we had to smartly manage. Raw materials become cheaper when you buy in bulk but cash isn’t always available. It's a vicious cycle really.
A: How did you first hear about liwwa?
My brother first told me about liwwa. We’ve been using the cheque discounting service, this has and is still helping us with the cash flow issues. I truly believe that the key to development and sustainability in our economy is through small businesses. Supporting these businesses will lead to income growth and more job opportunities, this in itself will grow our economies. Small businesses need support; especially at the beginning; and this is what liwwa is doing. Without liwwa’s support; we wouldn't have been able to reach the growth stage that we’re at now.
As a new business, surviving COVID19 must have been hard. Tell us how you managed? Decisions you had to take or new business rules you had to apply.
A: COVID 19 was challenging. The pandemic has affected us in many ways. The closures that took place at the beginning were hectic. With the factory being forced to close for quite some time, we were not able to fulfill the demand. The demand has increased on the sanitizing hand cream and we have sold more than we anticipated. We couldn’t meet this demand with more sales as the factory was closed at the time. Raw material shortages, packaging shortages, shipping delays came also as a result of COVID 19. We were struggling but we managed to learn, cope and adapt to these changes. The purchasing behavior has changed as well. Orders have become more frequent but with less volume as people were struggling with cash flow problems as one of many problems people have faced during the pandemic. We’re still adapting to the current situation, we’ve become more resilient and leaner when it comes to our business, which in itself has its implications. But at the end, we need to keep it up and keep going.
The sanitizing hand cream was not a popular product of ours but it became a hit as soon as the pandemic started. The fact that it is a non-irritating chemical-free sanitizer made it more popular, increased the demand on it and made it easier for us to promote.
How was liwwa’s support during the pandemic?
A: The support has been very good and very fast and we appreciate that. It would have been very challenging for us to overcome these circumstances and sustain our cash flow if it wasn’t for liwwa’s support. liwwa has enabled our sustainability throughout the past few months.
Have you faced any challenges as a female entrepreneur?
A: One thing I found and was surprised with was the number of female industrial engineers in Jordan. Although males dominate these kinds of jobs, I found that there is a huge number of females in this industry. These engineers are not in Amman only, but also in other governorates. In terms of finding the right labor force for my factory, it was easier than I expected.
I have assumed that I would find discrimination against a woman running a factory, but what I found was the opposite. I didn’t feel any discrimination at any of the entities I had to work with. Unfortunately, what I noticed that discrimination came from women holding medium to senior positions in some entities and made it harder for other women.
To anyone who is thinking about turning their passion into a business idea, what would you say?
A: Find the reason why you’re doing this, then match this reason to the product. Supporting your income is one we all share. If you can find something you’re actually good at that is beneficial to other people, this is it. If you don’t have the passion for it, you won’t keep going. Your passion will lead you and keep you motivated.
As liwwa, we also found that small to medium sized businesses are more resilient as they are either a product of a passion or a personal or a family business. So, the will for protecting these businesses is bigger and their owner will do anything it takes for their businesses to survive. And this is what we’re for and this is the core of our business: creating more income and more job opportunities.