The world already knows of the unique beauty of the Cape Floral Kingdom and the amazing indigenous biodiversity that exists there. Entrepreneur Yolanda Methvin is demonstrating through her LithaFlora African Botanicals company that it is possible to capture the essence of this unique environment as the source of her environmentally friendly and luxurious wellness products.
As part of this month’s focus on the beauty and wellness sector in Africa, LoA caught up with the environmentally passionate founder of LithaFlora African Botanicals, Yolanda Methvin, to find out more about this wonderful company.
What does your company do?
LithaFlora African Botanicals is a health and wellness, lifestyle brand with a heart. And our heart beats in tune with the indigenous biodiversity of the Cape Floral Kingdom and Southern Cape. We create and produce accessible but luxurious consumable lifestyle products; a “five senses” exploration in indigenous African Botanical health and wellness, which includes Herbal Health Teas, Cold Processed Cleansing bars, and Solar salt pans Bath Salts, derived from the Kalahari Desert, and infused with African essential oils. The products we manufacture, market and sell are locally sourced, produced, packaged and distributed. No need to pay a premium for natural health and wellness when it’s right at your doorstep; under foot and in sustainable supply.
"LithaFlora is an African story. Sourcing indigenous healing wisdom through use of natural botanicals which are regionally grown; pure, wild harvested, steam distilled, hand blended and then handmade."
What inspired you to start your company?
An emotional reflection and memory connecting me to the spice trade of the early 1800s, along with the understanding that our DNA is intimately connected to the flora underfoot, which resonates globally through the human footprint and heartbeat. Too often people confuse the use of traditional medicine, complementary medicine, and functional health and wellness. I hope to dispel some of this confusion and to inspire remembering and connection to the African continent, through the use of source plants from the Cape Floral Kingdom in easily accessible products. Tea for example is used the world over for health and healing on all levels. Everyone needs a good healthy soap with no nasty ingredients. And what can be more soothing than a relaxing salt bath; uplifting body and spirit!
Why should anyone use your service or product?
LithaFlora is an African story. Sourcing indigenous healing wisdom through use of natural botanicals which are regionally grown; pure, wild harvested, steam distilled, hand blended and then handmade. No artificial colourants, no additives, no preservatives, no sulfates, no sugar. And all products have been sourced, crafted and produced including the packaging, within a 200km radius. So, treading lightly on the environment as well. Why would you want to buy a tea grown in Asia, shipped to France for production and packaging, then shipped to South Africa for consumption?? Madness! Local is Lekker.
"Why would you want to buy a tea grown in Asia, shipped to France for production and packaging, then shipped to South Africa for consumption? Madness! Local is lekker."
Tell us a little about your team
Me, Myself and I, plus a courier and a dozen suppliers between the Helderberg, Overberg, Cederberg and Heidelberg!
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
Originally, a television producer based in Los Angeles, I came to South Africa in 1992 to work on a local television project. I visted Cape Town then and knew I'd return. In 1998, my husband and I moved to Cape Town and we've been here ever since.
In 2006 I launched Gimme That!..., Newspapers, Magazines and More! Initially it was an innovative mobile retail newspapers and magazines distribution enterprise. We designed and manufactured, custom tailored unique mobile vending solutions, for the informal trade sector in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2008 we successfully disrupted that business model, to include outdoor advertising sales and billboard placement. At that point, Gimme That!... (PTY), Ltd., no longer distributed media or media related products, but focused solely on providing a never-before-had, combination of informal trade retail infrastructure, within the urban centre, funded exclusively by commercial advertising income. This Enterprise Development Zone initiative, as an out-of-home media channel in turn, further supported micro-retail enterprise development, mobile vending, market cluster development, special events and micro-retail sectors.
In 2013, I founded, "LithaFlora African Botanicals”, a premium retail brand, featuring functional health and wellness lifestyle products. LithaFlora triangulates African botanical-based herbal wellness products sales, Conservation and Community Education.
"LithaFlora triangulates African botanical-based herbal wellness products sales, Conservation and Community Education."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
My vision is to see, hear, taste and touch authentically African botanical health, put forward via LithaFlora African Botanicals’ products in South Africa and around the world. And with the expansion in my botanical product range, to continue to help to positively reshape global consciousness around the endemic and indigenous productivity, health and wellness which has always been born of and exported out of Africa. Into the future, I intend to further enhance the local value addition by producing “farm to product”; managing the complete value chain on a local farm; creating more employment and becoming less dependent on suppliers.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Having the 1, 2, 3 step ability to develop a vision, achieve a successful concept and manifest direct impact in the marketplace. And on the soft side, showing my teenage daughters through actions, not just words, that one can create the life one intends.
"Into the future, I intend to further enhance the local value addition by producing “farm to product”; managing the complete value chain on a local farm; creating more employment and becoming less dependent on suppliers."
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
This is a multi-leveled response: Do not be afraid to cross-collaborate, toward getting your goals achieved. One must seek out continued education opportunities. One must seek out opportunities to share existing knowledge achieved via life and other career experience. And one must continue to work toward self-actualisation. We can only achieve that which, we've already become internally. “See. Believe. Achieve”, that's my motto.
Contact or follow Yolanda and LithaFlora African Botanicals
Why LoA loves it….
There is something really inspirational and uplifting about a women entrepreneur who is dedicated to producing truly African, world-class wellness products that show the rest of the world that having a kinder environmental footprint is not only possible, it is the way forward. LithaFlora is a great example of a fabulous African story that celebrates not only our indigenous botanical heritage and the importance of local conservation, but also the beauty of hand-created products. The world of wellness is better for it. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa