A passion for creating contemporary fragrances led entrepreneur and perfumier, Bhatupe Mhango to launch her own unique label, Bha’s Fragrance Boutique, creating perfumes that are inspired by Africa but for women of the world.
LoA found out more about this uniquely African fragrance brand this month from founder Bhatupe Mhango
What does your company do?
Bha's Fragrance Boutique creates high-quality fragrance products, including perfume, body oils and aromatic scented items. The company also provides fragrance consultation to clients, training them on body chemistry, perfumery and giving general tips on perfume.
"Bha's Fragrance Boutique produces high-quality fragrance products, including perfume, body oils and aromatic scented items."
What inspired you to start your company?
I got involved with a fragrance design company whilst studying for my MBA in California in 2010 and got hooked onto the art of perfumery. Thereafter, I began training in perfume design with this company, worked under their brand for a few years, before eventually embarking on my own journey and creating my brand. It just came! During one of my workshops with clients, I shared a perfume I had been working on at the time. It was the very first draft of my signature scent, BU by Bhatupe. The workshop participants loved it so much and encouraged me to launch this as my own creation and start my label. I did.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
BU by Bhatupe is a warm, sweet and citrusy eau de parfum for today's modern woman who knows herself, is confident and expressive. It is long lasting but subtle, meaning it’s not too strong but still makes a statement. It’s that one extra item that any and every woman could use to enhance her confidence level just a tiny bit. I say, you can forget mascara, eye shadow and maybe even lipstick for a day, but don't forget your spritz of perfume. It's like that last piece of ammunition you need to get you through the day. Because of its properties I coined this tagline which is so appropriate: 'Be Fresh, Be free, B U". The perfume will literally keep you feeling fresh, give you a sense of (physical) freedom to live your life out loud and more authentically as "You" and not some carbon copy of someone else.
"I got involved with a fragrance design company whist studying for my MBA in California in 2010 and got hooked onto the art of perfumery."
Tell us a little about your team
I don't have a team, for now it’s only me. I am a solopreneur on this journey, although I am working now with a select number of stockists (boutique owners), and some representatives on the ground who may handle shipping orders online, as my boutique is a mostly online retail platform for the moment.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
Yes and No. No in the sense that I always worked in the corporate/public sector space and was brought up as such. But yes in that whilst working I've always had respect for entrepreneurial women and artisans, and have always carried on with a number of small scale businesses that I could take from place to place. But taking time out to study in 2010 and graduating with an MBA from a city as entrepreneurial as San Francisco, really gave me that big push to say "Yes, I can set up something of my own", "I can dare to build a brand".
"BU by Bhatupe is a perfume that will keep you feeling fresh and give you a sense of (physical) freedom to live your life out loud and more authentically as 'You' and not some carbon copy of someone else."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
I would like to grow the brand and have local teams in place in all the cities I plan to launch the perfume and fragranced products. For now, the perfume is available by online order in Geneva, Switzerland, Lilongwe, Malawi and in Lusaka, Zambia. I am also planning to do in-flight sales, so have begun working on this development for 2017. As my fragrance, BU by Bhatupe is now my main offering and inspired by Africa, I want to focus on making this a household name across the continent of Africa. I would like African women to come to know and love the brand and think of themselves as brand ambassadors, as this is ultimately my message - that every woman gets to a place where she recognizes her own unique beauty and worthiness.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Creating. Story Writing. Exchanges with my product end user. Personal fulfillment. The unpredictable journey.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Start where you can, with what you have, right where you are. All these brands we see out here started off as little seeds, so we should do the same. Don't compete with those who are not in your lane.
Contact or follow Bha’s Fragrance Boutique
Why LoA loves it….
There is something highly evocative about perfume, it reminds us of places, people, experiences - so it’s only fitting that there should be unique perfumes and fragrances created in Africa but for the world that evoke the uniqueness of the continent. Bhatupe Mhango is a talented Malawian perfumier who is creating unique fragrances for today’s modern woman, wherever in the world she may be. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa