A heavenly touch

A heavenly touch

Own Correspondent

ROMA – THE National University of Lesotho (NUL) trained soap maker ’Mathekiso Ramositli has produced a 98 percent organic soap which she says “will leave your skin feeling soft and moisturised”.
That is a face wash called Heavenly Touch.
Ramositli, is a BioChem NUL graduate.
Her creative face care products, refined and distilled judiciously and patiently over a period of two years, are a testimony to her enduring spirit and thirst for good merchandises.
It is becoming an undeniable trend. NUL students and graduates are no longer talking about creating businesses only. They are creating businesses.
From remarkably humble beginnings, the upbeat NUL pacesetters are slowly laying a foundation for Lesotho’s knowledge-based economy.
Ramositli developed this idea when she was a BSc Biology and Chemistry student and she can still vividly remember her Industrial Chemistry lecturer saying these words: “Folks, there are no jobs out there. Please start thinking about how you will use the knowledge gained from this course to do business.”
Until that time she had never thought about a business project or what she would do once she finished school and the idea quickly faded to the back of her mind.
However, months later, after joining thousands of other graduates carrying a legendary “brown envelope” hunting “jobs” that just aren’t there, “a passionate plea from my lecturer resurfaced in my mind,” she says.
“What if I start my own business?” she asked herself.
From that moment, she says she was forced to look at the world around her from a different angle altogether.
“I saw people, young and old, mostly uneducated, starting their own businesses,” she says.
“Whether they sold sweets and apples or built houses and made furniture, these people were doing something.”
“So I thought, if these people, some of whom may not have half the education I have, are in business, where are we, NUL graduates?”
As a student, she used to volunteer for a paid service of helping first year Chemistry students in the laboratories.
“I did not waste any more time. I used the money I saved there to start my own business.” She made and sold cakes!
Apparently, she does not think so highly of herself as to think of selling cakes as being beneath her dignity, an attitude which has killed many a skilled mind in Lesotho.
That was a temporary stop. She was already planning a journey into chemical products.
“I took all my laboratory manuals starting when I was in first year to the fourth year.”
Her interest was in seeing what products she could do which were both in demand and of low cost. Soap!
Soap was going to make it.
But her product had to be different.
From the money she got from her temporary employment, and from selling her only laptop, and from taking care of a three-year-old child in a preschool, and from an insignificant loan from her cousin, she added the money from selling cakes to buy soap ingredients and equipment.
After extensive experiments, she settled for face wash after trying a number of soaps. She did plenty of sensory analyses as well, making samples and asking her family members and neighbours to assess her products in terms of look, feel, lathering power and thickness.
In the process, she learned the virtue of being humble as people were freely teaching her on how to improve her formulations.
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall,” she might have taken this hint from the Bible book of Proverbs.
The ability to listen would prove to be a valuable skill when it was time to meet customers.
“At first customers rejected my products outright,” she says.
“Customers advised me to make changes mainly on packaging,” she says.
Again, she had to swallow her pride and comply, only for the same customers to reward her by buying her products.
Also, her old friends and fellow NUL graduates who run a Hi-Tech company called Shopa Lesotho helped her with the branding.
Her products can now be found at Hospi-Tech Chemist, near Shoprite in Mafeteng, High-way Public Phone business at the High-way Complex and from an independent agent within the TEBA premises all in the same town.
They can also be purchased at a Bridal Shop opposite Fruits and Veg City in Maseru and lastly from another independent agent in Quthing.
The rather humble and soft-spoken lady says she has one or two words to the aspiring youth out there.
“I haven’t made it yet, so I am not a model for success. But I have learned the importance of patience and persistence.”
“I am also a faithful follower of NUL innovation stories from thepost newspaper, which keep me inspired.
“I start by reading them every week, before I read anything else on the paper.”

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