Botanical Wares on Winning at The eSwatini International Trade Fair and What They’re Currently Working On

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Botanical Wares is an organic and natural plants extracts inspired skincare brand. They, together with other entrepreneurs and cooperatives from Lesotho, won 2nd place after USA, as Lesotho, through BEDCO at The eSwatini International Trade Fair, an exhibition held annually in the Kingdom of eSwatini.

We caught up with Ntsoaki Mabejane, the Managing Director of Botanical Wares, to find out about their win and what they’re currently working on.

What’s your background?

I studied B.Sc. Microbiology and Industrial Quality Management at the University of Free State. I also studied Biochemistry as part of the course.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

It’s always my daughter before myself. I’ve set a standard for her and in order to maintain it I can’t afford not to get out of bed and work.

What problem is your business solving?

We are solving skin problems and minimizing the use of chemicals in cosmetics, thus reducing chances of skin cancer. Also, as we grow, we’ll be able to create jobs for our unemployed youth. This will also bring a positive impact on the country’s economy.

Share about the exhibition in eSwatini, and what you have achieved that side

I was joined by nine other entrepreneurs and cooperatives at the Fair, representing Lesotho. BEDCO had bought a stall for us though I don’t remember exactly how much it cost, but it was over M50,000. We won 2nd prize after USA for best display and quality as Lesotho, through BEDCO. BEDCO then personalized the certificates for us as the original certificate was for BEDCO. This was also Botanical Wares’ first time to attend.

The eSwatini International Trade Fair was a great experience. The people received the products quite well. I even found a distributor who lives in Mbabane. When I came back to Lesotho she had sold half of the lip balms she had bought from me already. There’s a great potential of good business that side.

With such opportunities and partnerships, do you feel you’re penetrating larger markets, and what’s your plan to deliver regionally?

Yes, I feel we’re penetrating larger markets and that’s our vision actually; to have our business reach the whole of Africa and eventually go global. We’re currently using distributors to deliver but we’re working on having an online store to give a chance to those whom distributors can’t reach.

What are the biggest issues for running this business?

Getting our products tested and accredited as per ISO is still a challenge because we are struggling to find the right laboratory to run the tests. So far our products have been tested at the National University of Lesotho. After having our products accredited and standardized it’s only then that we can penetrate bigger and international stores. Shortage of funds is also a big issue.

What’s your best sales moment?

Working with clients who come back with feedback and visible results is the best. We appreciate all kinds of feedback and constructive criticism.

Tell us about your products

Our products are lip balm and body butter named Waxeline, both made of beeswax. We also have petroleum jelly. All these products have been enhanced with propolis and prickly pear cactus extract. Benefits of propolis to the skin include lowering bacteria which cause acne, rash, pimples and eczema on the skin as it is a natural disinfectant.

It has minerals such as magnesium, calcium, nickel and zinc which are beneficial in rebuilding damaged skin cells as well as promoting healing and enhancing cell growth.

Beeswax is a natural and nontoxic waterproof that helps lock in moisture on the skin without clogging pores. It’s a good source if vitamin A which helps exfoliate and rejuvenate the skin. It’s anti-allergic and can be tolerated by even sensitive skin. It also has SPF properties. The lip balm also heals chapped lips.

The cactus detoxifies, moisturizes and protects the skin that has become dull due to stress from the harsh weather conditions.

Botanical Wares has also been nominated as the best newcomer in the Southern African Startup Awards.

Where can people find your products and how can they get in touch with you?

Our products are available at Beauty and Body Shop at Maseru Mall, Healthy By Choice at Pioneer Mall, Perfect B Spa at Victoria Hotel and S&T Pharmacy at Sefika complex. We also allow individuals to buy in bulk at discount price and resell for profit.

We also sometimes advertise on other online platforms and we attend exhibitions and flea markets whenever we can. We can be reached through our social media platforms, Facebook; Instagram; LinkedIn; and Twitter, as Botanical Wares.

WhatsApp and calls: +266 63213403

Telephone: +266 22350099

Email: botanicalwares[at]gmail[dot]com

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