Wild plants oil cosmetics business
MASERU– THEY are wild plants many have dismissed as valueless. Yet for ’Mampho Tjabane, 48, the rosehip, known in Lesotho as ’morobei and the cactus, (torofeie) have provided the raw materials for a flourishing cosmetics business.
Tjabane says when she stated her business in 2014 all she looked for was something special and unique to separate her from her competitors.
She turned to two local plants that have often been dismissed as inconsequential. The plants grow abundantly in Lesotho.
Through careful study and experience, Tjabane says she realised that rosehip oil can have a soothing effect on human skin. And so she began experimenting and using the product to produce capsules for skin and hair improvement.
Tjabane also began mixing rosehip oil with other oils extracted from other indigenous plants to make tissue oil for stretch marks, blemishes, scars to improve skin moisture levels as well as reducing wrinkles and fine lines.
The rosehip oils have also been used to make lip balms.
She is also using extracts from cactus to produce body creams and glycerines.
Tjabane’s other products are made from aloe extracts.
All materials are harvested in Lesotho.
A website, livestrong.com, says rosehip oil offers several benefits when applied externally due to its primary constituents such as essential fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin C and B-carotene, a form of vitamin A.
It also has the anti-aging characteristics due to the antioxidants and the oil’s ability to penetrate into deeper layers of skin. The vitamin C antioxidants stimulate collagen production. It also helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
Vitamin A improves the skin’s moisture levels and reduces wrinkles and fine lines.
Livestrong.com says the Ultra Violet rays of the sun damage the skin and cause ageing. This results in wrinkles and discoloration.
However, the combination of properties in rosehip oil seems to combat the damage. The antioxidants and vitamin A, combined with the oil’s essential fatty acids, help improve skin tone, texture and pigmentation.
About the cactus, which grows in arid regions, livelong.com says it is a source of fibre and contains 17 amino acids of which eight are essential.
The cactus helps improve the skin, hair and facial appearance, according to the website.
It was on the basis of this research that Tjabane launched her cosmetics company, Florratt Cosmetics, three years ago.
She says the company began operations from her home in Maseru East in 2014.
From such humble beginnings, the company has now grown and now has agents in all of Lesotho’s 10 districts as well as Botswana and South Africa.
Tjabane says the company wants to become a centre of excellence in the production of high quality natural cosmetic products that meet customers’ needs.
In its mission statement, the company says it seeks to create results-oriented natural and scientifically formulated cosmetic products that give the skin and hair a consistent colour, texture and hydration.
The company’s marketing strategy means that potential customers must register with Florratt Cosmetics so that they can sell to others in smaller packages.
Tjabane says the company is planning to rebrand its products to ensure they are sold in tubes. Despite carrying out an aggressive marketing campaign, Tjabane says she has sadly realised that Basotho are not too eager to support what is their own.
She thinks this is because “Basotho are not aware of the importance of local herbs”.
“We manufacture cosmetics with aloe herbal products from Lesotho, we use natural organic extracts to rejuvenate our customer’s skin,” she says.
An administration officer at Florratt Cosmetics, Lehloenya Naha, says the company had close to 3 000 distributors across the country.
“Our aim is to trend globally since our products are well known in Swaziland, South Africa and Botswana. We are aiming to satisfy our customers,” Naha says.“So far we have no competitors because we are selling our own products which are different from other products.”
He however adds that “the main challenge is that Basotho do not support or buy locally produced products”.
“We want to use pamphlets to market our products especially to foreigners or tourists,” he says, adding that they want “to show the world that Basotho can create their own products”.
“Our aim is to grow this business. We want to produce products that will satisfy our customers, we want our customers to have a reason to choose us amongst other products,” he says. Florratt Cosmetics currently has 14 permanent workers.
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