For all those who experience the challenges of sensitive skin, hope is at hand from Botanical Wares (Pty) Ltd, a Lesotho woman-owned company inspired by its founders who needed to find a skincare and cosmetics solution for themselves and their families.
LoA chatted to founder Ntsoaki Mabejane in Lesotho last month to find out more.
What does your company do?
We produce organic cosmetics and refined petroleum jelly. Our lip balm is made of beeswax, propolis and prickly pear cactus extract. We also have a body cream made from the same ingredients as our lip balm and we have named it Waxeline. Our refined petroleum jelly is enhanced with the extract of prickly pear cactus and propolis too. All these products are the first of their kind.
"We have daughters who had very sensitive skin when they were infants and this was very frustrating for us. So we decided to make our own organic products that would suit their skin and all skin types."
What inspired you to start your company?
My partner, Miss Mpona Semoli, and I have daughters who had very sensitive skin when they were infants and this was very frustrating for us. So we decided to make our own organic products that would suit their skin and all skin types. When we saw the good results we achieved on the skin after making samples, we decided to start the business.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
Our products are organic and in producing them we are also not harming the environment. The ingredients and their benefits are as follows;
Propolis - this fights acne, rashes, pimples and reduces burns; it is a natural antiseptic and preservative; and it rejuvenates the skin.
Beeswax - this helps to calm and soothe the skin; it is a good source of Vitamin A, which exfoliates the skin giving it a new young look; it soothes temporary itching caused by dry and/or sensitive skin; It is antiallergenic, thus it is easily tolerated by even those with reactive skin; it soothes skin and helps heal wounds; when applied to the skin, beeswax forms a protective barrier that helps protect it from environmental assaults, while also holding in moisture and reducing dryness. It is known to have both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities which make it good for sensitive dry skin, minor infections and reduction of irritation; it promotes the retention of water in the skin; and finally, beeswax has a natural honey fragrance that always leaves the product with a pleasant, light aroma regardless of other added fragrances.
Prickly pear cactus - this detoxifies, moisturizes and protects the skin that has lost its luminescence over time and has begun to dry, and the dull appearance due to the amount of toxins encountered everyday; the plant is cold tolerant and can protect the body during times of stress; it is rich in vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium and Potassium (Vitamins A and C are important vitamins that play a role in protecting and repairing the skin while also supporting the production of structural proteins thus supporting the skin's shape).
"Our products are organic and in producing them we are also not harming the environment."
Tell us a little about your team
Botanical Wares is owned by two young single mothers. Miss Ntsoaki Mabejane is the Managing Director, whilst Miss Mpona Semoli is the Chief Executive Officer. We do all the production and packaging work ourselves, as we just started the business in April 2017. We have outsourced a marketing team which also takes care of our branding. We also outsource a harvester for the cactus that we use in our production.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
Our parents did own some businesses but not anymore. We actually resorted to entrepreneurship after being unemployed for a very long time. After the conception of the business idea we struggled a lot in finding funding to start our business. We only got as far as registering our company and producing the few samples in hand that we could not even sell to generate money. Our big break came when we were chosen as one of the Bacha Entrepreneurship Project (BEP) beneficiaries. This is an initiative by Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation (BEDCO), Standard Lesotho Bank and Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) that awards funding to the best three business proposals from unemployed Basotho graduates. Not only has BEP given us funding to start our business, these three cooperates are always there to assist every step of the way. This is how we got to know about the Lionesses of Africa....thank you Standard Lesotho Bank!
"We plan to introduce more products as we grow and by so doing, we will become job creators and thus contribute towards the country's economy."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
We plan to introduce more products as we grow and by so doing, we will become job creators and thus contribute towards the country's economy. We wish to export our products internationally also.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
We love being our own bosses and having to make our own dreams come true.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Starting a business has challenges and if your heart is not in it, then you are going to give up when you come across the challenges. Be passionate about what you want to start, you need to persevere, work hard, be dedicated, do your research thoroughly, do not take shortcuts and be open-minded. Align yourself with people on the same mission as you and never be afraid to ask a winner how to win.
Contact or follow Botanical Wares
Why LoA loves it….
At Lionesses of Africa, we are constantly inspired by women entrepreneurs who make the decision to take control of their own destinies through the businesses they build and the products and services they create. For the founders of Botanical Wares, their inspiration came from two needs - firstly, to create their own source of employment, and secondly, to find an organic skincare solution for themselves and their children. That inspiration has now led to the creation of a great new business that is set to thrive and grow. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa