This Cape Town handmade soap maker harnesses the unique natural qualities of indigenous herbs and plants from the world famous Cape Floral Kingdom to produce world-class skincare products.
Talented handmade soap crafter and entrepreneur, Zikhona Tefu, owner of O’live Handmade Soaps, was born into a family of highly creative women in Mdantsane near East London, South Africa, all of whom possessed a unique can-do spirit. Today, this businesswoman, wife and mother of three beautiful children, now lives in Cape Town, and reflects on her upbringing and the creative spirit and natural sense of curiosity which led her to questioning the ingredients in the skincare products she and her family where using. She remembers buying a bar of natural handmade soap at a local health store and reading the ingredients on the back of the packaging. She noticed it was only made with natural oils. When she compared this with the traditional store bought soaps she had been using, she couldn't believe the difference. The store bought soap was full of added chemicals and fillers. She began to wonder if the handmade, all-natural soaps could be made by herself.
What initially simulated Zikhona's interest and her research journey to find more natural alternatives, was the need to find products that would help alleviate her daughter’s eczema
In early 2011, while working in the retail industry as a fashion buyer, she began her research into natural skincare products, especially soaps. What initially simulated her interest and her research journey to find more natural alternatives, was the need to find products that would help her daughter’s eczema. She wanted something that wouldn't irritate her daughter’s skin further. Later that same year she produced her first batch of completely natural and chemical-free soaps, and realised how effective they were in helping her daughter’s skin condition! Shortly thereafter, friends and family were soon buying her soap. In late 2012, when she moved out of her retail career, she began to further her research and refined her formulation of fynbos olive oil based soaps, deciding to make it her career. As she was determined to use only the finest plant-based natural ingredients, she became more aware of the value and properties of indigenous herbs (fynbos) from the Cape Floral Kingdom. Harnessing the power of the plant kingdom, every single bar of O'live handmade soap is today made in small batches, using a secret blend of wild-harvested fynbos herbs, locally grown olive oil, and pure essential oils. This is what makes each individual bar of soap skin-loving, moisturizing and conditioning. Each of the ingredients plays a vital role in ensuring that one of these soap bars not only offers hydration and cell regenerating properties, but also helps with eczema, sensitive skin and other skin conditions.
Through sourcing the raw materials for her soap bar manufacturing, she has also become acutely aware of the role that African farmers play in the skincare industry. As part of her company's mission, she aims to source her ingredients directly from farmers as far as possible, from honey and beeswax, Rooibos, Buchu, and olive oil, through to the essential oils that give each bar of soap its unique fragrance. She values the ability to source directly, from 'her backyard', and to create empowering relationships with the farmers. The company's dream is to create a high-end African skincare brand using the best botanicals Africa has to offer, supplying both the local and international markets. Zikhona is hoping to open a manufacturing plant, in the Western or Eastern Cape, which will create jobs and also offer a local buyer for the growers of essential oils. Besides creating a premium-quality product, the company is passionate about providing customer satisfaction though in-depth product knowledge. The O’live Handmade Soap range of products are currently sold directly through e-mail orders, at the Old Biscuit Mill and in various stores around Cape Town.
To find out more about O’live Handmade Soaps, contact Zikhona via email at
Olivehandmadesoaps@gmail.com or call her on +27 (0) 83 3398539.
Why LoA Loves it....
Women have always been great natural networkers and in this book, it demonstrates the power of networking for women entrepreneurs. It shows how women who network and build businesses are changing the face of entrepreneurship as we know it. A great read, and one that makes you want to get out there and step up your own personal networking to make things great things happen. --- Melanie