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The business of massage



MASERU – ONE day, some 18 years ago, Nkamoheng Mautsoe asked if she could rub her grandmother’s sore feet. Her grandmother said it soothed the pain and helped her relax.

Soon, it became a nightly routine before bed and Mautsoe would revel in her grandmother’s praises.
Little did she know that years later she would be rubbing people’s backs and feet for a living.
Mautsoe, 30, is the owner of Perfect B Spa at Victoria hotel, a small but growing business. Hers is a story of poor girl who never dreamt of owning a business.

Growing up in Roma, the future looked bleak. A plan of sorts had been set out for her. She was to drop out school and get married to one of the local boys.

She was to work the land for food.  That is what other girls had done and were doing.
Mautsoe did not see her life beyond the village. She was raised by a single mother who struggled to pay her school-fees and mostly relied on her parents for financial help.

When she was in Form A Mautsoe had to live with her grandparents after he mother died.
It was during that time that she decided she wanted to be a counsellor.

Her mother’s death had ignited in her a passion to help other people in their time of grief.
She did not want other people to go through her experience after her loss.
Yet fate had other ideas. After secondary school Mautsoe found herself studying cosmetology at Madge Wallace Beauty College in Bloemfontein.

The dream of becoming a counsellor has rescinded as she immersed herself in cosmetology.
She was fortune to be hired by one of South Africa’s famous beauty spas, Perfect 10 Silver Oaks, in Pretoria, soon after graduating in 2012.
She return home three years later with a mission to start her own spa.

By that time her dream of being a counsellor had been revived.
Mautsoe says she wanted to start a business that would take care of the body (spa) and mind (counselling). The plan, she says, was to create a counselling centre within a spa.

But only when she tried to put her ideas into action did she realise how tough it is to start a business.
She turned to those close to her for help. A close friend loaned her some money to set up a small spa in Ha-Matala, a suburb in the southern outskirts of Maseru.

Her beauty spa, Perfect B Spa, is named after the one she worked for in Pretoria.
They say you have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days, so Mautsoe had to endure long days without business.
Despite her passion and the skills the business was struggling.

The problem, she later learned, was that the location was not ideal for her business.
After a few months she relocated to Victoria Hotel where her “business would be in the eyes of everybody”.
It is here that she started seeing some success, at least in summer, spring and autumn.

What about winter? Mautsoe says that Basotho don’t go to spas often and it is worse in winter.
One thing she learned “slowly and painfully is that you have to think outside the box to make a successful business in Lesotho”.
To keep the business open during winter Mautsoe started working as a makeup artist.

“I always wanted to be a counsellor from a very young age,” she says. Mautsoe puts her moderate success down to hard work, the support of those around her and the entrepreneurial spirit instilled in her by her mother.
She recalls how she would sell sweets and potato chips after school.

That was meant to bring some income into their home but it helped her appreciate the value of money.
Later her grandfather would allow to work as his small store as a shopkeeper on weekends and holidays.
Mautsoe has become a mentor to many make-up artists in Maseru.

She is offering training on make-up art, manicure and pedicure. She has so far trained staff for a local beauty spa, Phano ea Bophelo.
She has also trained staff for a spa that will be opened at Lehakoe Recreation Centre soon.

“The struggle of branding your name in this country is real,” Mautsoe says. “Changing Basotho’s mentality of Spa is also a challenge,” she says, adding that she wants to make people aware that a beauty spa “is not for rich people, it is a necessity for everyone’s health”.
Apart from training individuals, Mautsoe supports the Beauty Pageant Association of Lesotho which includes Miss Lesotho, Face of Lesotho and by sponsoring all the queens. She also supports the Ultimate Radio Music Awards.

“I do whatever it takes to make my business grow,” she says.  Mautsoe also says it is only a matter of time before she becomes a famously known skin and body therapist in Lesotho.
One of her main goals is to empower young women so they may believe in the power of their dreams.

Tebello Maine

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Why invest for the future



AN investment plan forms a critical pillar of a financial plan, says Tokiso Nthebe, a local author and financial services adviser.

Nthebe, the founder of TKO Financial Wellness and Advisory, says when people invest, they can use their money to buy assets that will increase in value over the long term.
He says these assets can help them build wealth.

“When you invest, your money starts to work for you by providing returns that will beat inflation,’’ Nthebe says.

Nthebe says there is a huge difference between saving and investing.

He says investing requires that you take some level of risk in exchange for an expected return or growth.

Nthebe says Basotho should consider many factors before they decide to start investing.

“It is important to have a clear strategy that guides your investment decisions and to work with qualified professionals,” he says.

Nthebe says one should consider their growth mind-set, investment goals, and their risk tolerance.

In addition, one should consider what kind of growth or return they expect.

He says one should find out whether the institution they invest in is licensed or regulated and how long one should invest.

Nthebe says one should further consider what risks are associated with the investment option and whether there are any associated costs.

He says it is also important to remember that investments take time.

“There are no short cuts to building wealth. Do not fall prey to get-rich-quick schemes,” he says.

Moreover, Nthebe says the investment landscape comprises commercial banks, asset management companies, and insurance companies.

He says each provides different financial products and services.

Nthebe says the Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL) also offers investment solutions such as treasury bills and treasury bonds that Basotho can consider.

Depending on your investment goals, he says financial service providers have a wide range of investment solutions to choose from that cater for short, medium, and long-term goals.

“I encourage Basotho to do thorough research and seek professional advice before making financial decisions,” he says.

Vince Shorb, the United States National Financial Educators Council CEO, writes that “many of the financial problems people face today started when they were young and making their first financial decisions”.

Shorb further says taking on too much debt, not investing early, and failing to plan can take one decades to recover from such.

However, it takes financial literacy to make good decisions, he says.

Financial literacy has been perceived as a tool that gives you the opportunity to be confident and empowered to live the quality of life you have worked hard for.

Shorb says one of the wisest decisions one can make to prepare for the future is to invest.

Investment has been defined as the commitment of funds with a view to minimising risk and safeguarding capital while earning a return.

Refiloe Mpobole

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When Covid-19 hit and the government shut down all gatherings in April 2020, there seemed no way out for ICONICS (Pty) Ltd, a budding events management company based in Leribe district.

They had two options: shut down or innovate to keep the business going.
They chose the latter.

Three years down the line, ICONICS (Pty) Ltd has completely transformed itself from an events management and public relations company into a manufacturing company that is now the envy of Lesotho.
“The closing of events translated into the closing of our business,” Rapitso Mosebetsi, one of the co-founders of ICONICS (Pty) Ltd told thepost this week.
Mosebetsi established ICONICS in partnership with Tumo Mahapa.

Faced with collapse, Mosebetsi say they began buying Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) such as surgical gowns, disposal coveralls and safety apparel for resale.
Eventually they decided to manufacture the PPEs and safety clothing. That was the turning point.
But since the company was already down, Mosebetsi says diversification was a hard nut to crack.

“It became quite a long journey (for us),” he says. “We had to come up with something new for the industry.”
He says they had to overcome stiff competition from giant companies and come up with something unique that would set them apart.
“That was how thermal heating apparel was born,” he says.

“We are the first company to produce thermal heating apparel,” he says.
The company manufactures thermal clothing, which is electric clothing, using power banks of five voltages.
“The voltage is so low to electrocute a person,” he says.
The clothing also has a power button to turn it on and off.

Mosebetsi says the thermal heating apparel is on corporate clothing as well as high-visibility clothing.
Mosebetsi says they started the journey with the support of several organisations, such as the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) and the Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation (BEDCO), to build their capacity.
Mosebetsi says they also got mentorship support from organisations such as the Global Entrepreneurship Network.
The results of years of hard work are now all out for everyone to see.

In 2022, ICONICS won the M100 000 Business Plan Competition hosted by BEDCO.
This grant enabled them to acquire land and buy five more industrial machines.
This did not only enable the company to increase their production to 100 worksuits a week, but it further created permanent jobs for five people as well as three temporary workers.

Last year, the company took part in the Exporter of the Year event hosted by the LNDC in partnership with the Lesotho Post Bank and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Mosebetsi says they won the award for Lesotho’s most innovative and versatile exporter.
He says this did not only put them in the spotlight, but it further encouraged them to do more.
ICONICS was announced as the best exporter of the year at an event hosted by the LNDC earlier this month.
Mosebetsi says this made them proud, as the award is aligned with their vision.

The award further gives the company an opportunity to participate in the regional competition.
He says this opportunity will further give the company a competitive edge in terms of production locally and globally.
“It will be an honour if we can win the regional competition,” he says.

In terms of markets, Mosebetsi says the company has had the opportunity to list their products in the African Trade Market since 2020 with the support of USAID.
This is an e-commerce platform that opens up the market for African countries to list their products.
Mosebetsi says the company did not only get publicity, but the client database also increased.
He says they moved from supplying individuals only to big companies, different organisations, and different government departments such as those involved in mining and health.

Considering the decline of the Lesotho textile industry, Mosebetsi says their secret to success has been their being innovative.
“Our sustainability is matched with innovation,” he says.
Mosebetsi says it also requires patience coupled with lots of investment in terms of time.
“Rome was not built in one day,” he says.

He says working as a team also plays a critical role.
Despite their achievements, Mosebetsi says the market for innovative industries is one of the hardest nuts to crack.
He says the company is in the process of not only making their products known but also educating people about their safety.
Mosebetsi says the other challenge is the decline of the South African Rand as compared to the US Dollar.

He says some of their materials are sourced from China.
Therefore, it is more expensive to buy such materials.
ICONICS is not only seeking to make their brand well known globally, but Mosebetsi says they are also seeking to create more jobs for our youths.

Own Correspondent

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LetsGo and Win!



LETSHEGO Financial Service has launched the LetsGo and Win loan consolidation campaign where customers win weekly and monthly cash prizes of up to M150 000.
The campaign, which was launched yesterday, will end on November 8.
The LetsGo and Win campaign rewards customers for consolidating their loans.
It is aligned with Letshego Lesotho’s version to offer competitive products that cater for the evolving needs of its customers.

The financial services company operates in Lesotho, Botswana, ESwatini, and Zambia.
The Marketing Manager and Business Partner, Tšotetsi Seema, said Letshego Lesotho is committed to delivering increasing value and options to customers.
Seema said this programme is a testament to that commitment.

“The campaign invites customers to consolidate their loans into one low and easy repayment with reduced rates and they stand to win weekly and monthly prizes,” Seema said.

“The weekly cash prizes will be won by lucky customers randomly selected and notified through Letshego Radio shows,” he said.

Additionally, he said two lucky customers will be randomly selected each month and given a chance to spin the wheel of fortune with a chance to receive a maximum of M20 000 each.

“The loans consolidation campaign makes it easier for customers to choose Letshego Lesotho as their preferred financial services partner.”

He said this innovative campaign aims to help individuals streamline their debt payment while benefiting from reduced interest rates.

“Debt consolidation can help customers get a lower monthly payment, pay off their debt sooner, increase their credit score and simplify their life.”

Letshego Lesotho’s Head of Sales, Distribution and Marketing, Motebang Moeketsi, said managing multiple loans can often be overwhelming with varying interest loans due dates and terms.

“The campaign addresses this challenge by combining multiple loans into a single, easy to manage repayment plan,” Moeketsi said.

He added that this simplification not only eases the financial burden on borrowers but also potentially leads to significant savings over time.
Moreover the new consolidation campaign invites customers to take advantage of their best-in-class financial services provided through Letshego Lesotho branch network and digital platforms.

“Letshego Lesotho is committed to increasing financial inclusion through its efforts to serve underbanked communities, promoting financial literacy and delivering positive social impacts for its customers and communities.”

Alice Samuel

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