How home-made skincare recipe set Mmoni up
Rising entrepreneur happy she found niche
An Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria, woman is living with more purpose after she quit her corporate job three years ago to start her own business.
Mmoni Sehlapelo, 56, said: “I did not like what I was doing. I had gotten to a point where I was no longer happy. I [initially] did not just want to leave my job, so I stayed a bit,” she said.
Sehlapelo, who founded Mamoa Skincare in 2014 which produces a range of skincare products, said she had a lightbulb moment when her home-made skin lotion grew popular.
“My daughter had eczema and no matter what I tried it would never really go away. I tried to mix a variation of things at home over time but I later tried shea butter, which seemed to work. Then someone told me about essential oils. I tried them and mixed [them] with the shea butter and it turned out to be the best decision. Then my family and friends started asking that I make it for them and I did, at no cost. Later, I realised I could make a living out of it,” the entrepreneur said.
Sehlapelo said she started informally mixing the solution for her daughter in 2010. It was after a referral to the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) that her business started to take shape.
“After quitting my job, I approached Seda and they referred me to a business incubation hub. One lady at the hub suggested that I get my product tested with the SABS [SA Bureau of Standards] and it was subsequently approved.
“I later met a lady who was in pharmaceuticals and we agreed that we try [selling] the product in her pharmacy, although we only got paid after [the sales] because the product was taken on consignment,” she said.
Mamoa Skincare experienced other challenges.
“My product was not shelf-ready. I found that when it was cold it would get hard and when it was hot it would get runny. So I had to go to a factory and get into a contract with them so that they could get the product shelf-ready. That was in 2015,” Sehlapelo said.
Although the business seems to have grown, Sehlapelo said she had to sell her house and move back home to raise the capital for her business.
She said to support herself she also gives motivational talks and has recently become chief operating officer of a new insurance company.
Her efforts are slowly being recognised as she has been nominated for Entrepreneur of the Year at the Pheli Awards, which will take place later this month.