Special Feature II Health Care
Improving Women’s Quality of Life in Africa
Kanekalon, a Brand for Women Exploring Their Future
“When I was fitting a young girl with a wig for the first time in her life, her face lit up the moment she saw herself in the mirror, as if she was saying: I can't believe this is really me! It was also a wonderful moment for me. Kanekalon is a brand that makes a difference to women exploring their future.” (Yukiyo Oda, Technology Management Department, Kanekalon Division)
Kanekalon’s wigs can be styled in various ways, because they are light, easy to braid and is naturally beautiful. The hairs of African women are difficult to comb through because of their curls; wigs enable them to realize their gorgeous and elegant self. In the spirit of helping women working hard toward their dreams, we held the Miss Kanekalon beauty pageant in Nigeria in 2015. The winners, who were chosen based on the two selection criteria of inner and outer beauty, gave speeches about their ideas on African beauty and their dreams. “Forming the women’s self-identities is the same as creating a culture. In the future, we plan to expand the Miss Kanekalon beauty pageant to cover the whole of Africa.” (Koshi Imazu, Marketing Group II, Kanekalon Division)
From among more than 3,000 applicants, the top three winners are expected to actively work in many fields as Kanekalon brand ambassadors for one year.
Taking Root in African Countries, Supporting the Value Chain
Kaneka Group started cultivating the African market more than 30 years ago, in the early 1980s. An employee, staying at New York for a business trip, saw a Senegalese buying large quantities of Kanekalon wigs, and was prompted to fly to Africa to study the market. Confirming that there was a potential market in Africa, we entered the Senegalese market together with our business partner in the U.S. Today, we cover the market over the whole of sub-Saharan Africa in partnership with various wig manufacturers.
Kanekalon’s business model is unique, as we have built our own value chain instead of just being upstream as a raw materials manufacturer. For hairdressers working in beauty salons, we hold training seminars on correctly assessing quality and new styling methods, and styling beauty pageants. For wig manufacturers, we have introduced new styles in the African market by providing advice on quality control and proposing plans for marketable products based on our market research.
Supporting Job Creation
Kaneka Group is joining hands with a group partner, a wig manufacture in Kenya, who has been assisting local hairdressing schools for many years. “To deliver the message of Kanekalon’s quality and attractiveness to end-users, it is important to send out to the world more hairdressers with the right knowledge and skills. Training professionals in hairdressing schools also supports job creation and economic independence for the youth.” (Yukiyo Oda)
Marketing Group Ⅱ
Kaneka is also planning to start initiatives that are more deeply rooted in Africa as soon as possible. “In 2016, Kaneka Group will establish the Kaneka Africa Liaison Office. With the new base close to our partners and end-users, we can further collaborate with various stakeholders and capture the constantly changing trends in Africa to meet people’s and community's various needs.” (Koshi Imazu)
We will further strive to be trusted by our stakeholders through new job creation and other efforts for the community while strengthening our value chain by offering products and creating frameworks to meet local needs.
(1) (7) Yukiyo Oda and Koshi Imazu visiting local stores to explore market trends
(2) (3) (6) Miss Kanekalon beauty pageant. Over 700 people from the hair industry and corporate partners attended, including hairdressers
(4) Local hairdressers holding a Kanekalon product (5) A lively Ghana market
(8) Smiling local woman wearing a Kanekalon wig
"Kaneka is like family to us,
spreading high-quality hair goods together."
Ms. Grace Amey-Obeng
CEO, FC Group of Companies
President, Professional Cosmetologists and Beauticians Association of Ghana
The FC Group of Companies provides safe and high-quality beauty to Ghanaian women through the management of beauty salons and hairdressing schools, and production and sales of related products. Also, the beauty salon association, which I chair, is composed of about 100 salons, and endeavors to maintain and improve the standards of the beauty industry.
Kaneka’s wigs do not just provide a variety of styles to Ghanaian women; they also have a high-quality feel and do not easily fade and discolor under light. We trust Kaneka like family; they train local staff well and share useful information with us. We are looking forward to Kaneka’s future products and services that will contribute to African women’s health and beauty.