What began as a humble beauty business at home has grown into a thriving operation employing more than 50 factory staff, 90% of them women, with a further 12,000 multi-level marketing members across Africa and beyond.
The secret to Florratt Cosmetics’ success, says founder and CEO Mampho Tjabane, is a sustainable and fresh approach to the beauty business and community development.
While transitioning into becoming an international manufacturer of cosmetics and personal care products, Tjabane’s business is providing employment for many South Africans.
Amid the country’s job shortage black women in particular are finding themselves economically left out, with the Quarterly Labour Force Survey putting their unemployment at 31.1%.
Florratt, Tjabane says, is making a difference by creating decent and dignified jobs for a team of mostly female employees, many sole breadwinners.
“When you create employment for women and grow their skills, you empower people and uplift communities.”Florratt Cosmetics CEO and founder Mampho Tjabane
What makes the venture different is local manufacturing coupled with global distribution. Tjabane’s direct selling business model, perfected by the likes of Avon and Amway, offers entrepreneurial and income-generating opportunities with no education or training required – and it can be done from home.
The women earn rebates through their personal sales to customers and from sales made by their sales teams.
“In addition to manufacturing cosmetic products locally, we are committed to changing lives,” Tjabane says, adding that Florratt’s network of enthusiastic distributors across Africa is helping to grow the business.
“Our marketing strategy means potential customers must register with Florratt Cosmetics so they can sell to others in smaller packages,” Tjabane explains, adding this puts flexible and part-time employment opportunities within their reach.
Distributor Annah Thakane is one of thousands of female micro-entrepreneurs who on-sell the products.
“I love selling Florratt Cosmetics because my customers love them,” Thakane says.
“It gives me a chance to help others, while also empowering me to have my own small business and set my own schedule.”Distributor Annah Thakane
Tjabane, an electrical engineer by profession, started the business from home in Maseru, Lesotho, in 2014, and this led to the first Florratt Cosmetics factory.
A second factory soon launched in Kya Sands, Johannesburg, with a new one launching at MAP SEZ in Harrismith, in the Free State.
Tjabane, who now lives in Joburg, not only developed a professional production facility, but procured quality sustainable raw materials, and built up a loyal customer base.
Promoting the use of local plants and traditional expertise was important to her, and her products are largely based on two plants growing abundantly in South Africa and Lesotho – rosehip and the prickly pear cactus.
Fatty acids and vitamin A in rosehip oil moisturise skin, promote regeneration, and improve flexibility and permeability. Prickly pear has high levels of vitamin E, known to help skin and hair stay nourished, while linoleic fatty acid encouraging new cell growth and skin brightness.
“Through sustainable use of medicinal plants like these, and many others, we’ve developed a range of solutions for different skin and hair types, and different problems, including dry skin, acne, pigmentation, blemishes and cellulite, as well as dry and malnourished hair.”Mampho Tjabane
The business has grown thanks to referrals from happy return customers and an easy-to-understand network marketing model, she says.
About 6,000 South Africans and Basotho now make a living from the products, and distributors have been found in Botswana, Mauritius, India, China, the US and Australia.