The rosehip and the cactus are wild plants that many dismiss as valueless. However, Mampho Tjabane, Florratt Cosmetics Founder and CEO, found ‘gold’ in them. In 2014, she turned the rosehip and cactus plants into a thriving business to date. The rosehip, known as “morobei” and the cactus, as “torofeie” in Lesotho have provided the raw materials for a flourishing international cosmetics business.

Mampho Tjabane

Mampho, an Electrical Engineer by profession says when she started her business five years ago, all she looked for was something special and unique to separate her from her competitors. She turned to two local plants that have often been regarded as insignificant and made something meaningful out of it. The plants grow abundantly in the Lesotho Mountains.

“Through careful study and experience, I realised that the rosehip oil can have a soothing effect on human skin, so I began experimenting and using the product to produce capsules for the skin and hair improvement. I also began mixing the rosehip oil with other oils extracted from other indigenous plants to make tissue oil for stretch marks, blemishes, scars to improve skin moisture levels as well as reducing wrinkles and fine lines. The rosehip oils have also been used to make lip balms. We also use extracts from the cactus to produce body creams and glycerines. Other products are made from aloe extracts,” says Mampho.

She says all their materials are harvested in Lesotho and they create employment for many families in the Mountain Kingdom. Mampho also indicates that, ‘according to experts, the rosehip oil offers several benefits when applied externally due to its primary constituents such as essential fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin C and B-carotene, a form of vitamin A. It also has the anti-aging characteristics due to the antioxidants and the oil’s ability to penetrate deeper layers of skin. The vitamin C antioxidants stimulate collagen production. It also helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles.’

Vitamin A improves the skin’s moisture levels and reduces wrinkles and fine lines. Ultra Violet rays of the sun damage the skin and cause ageing. This results in wrinkles and discoloration. However, the combination of properties in rosehip oil seems to combat the damage. The antioxidants and vitamin A, combined with the oil’s essential fatty acids, help improve skin tone, texture and pigmentation. The cactus helps to improve the skin, hair and facial appearance, according to the biochemical experts. It was based on this research that Mampho launched Florratt Cosmetics.

“I started operating the business from my home in Maseru East in 2014. Today, Florratt has grown in leaps and bounds. We now have Distributors and Consultants in all of Lesotho’s 10 districts as well as in all 9 Provinces in South Africa. The demand for our products has aided the opening of a second factory in Johannesburg, South Africa, where I’m based,” she says.

Florratt Cosmetics currently employs more than 10 full time workers in that factory. Mampho says the company is a centre of excellence in the production of high quality natural cosmetic products that meet customers’ needs. The mission of the company is to create results-oriented natural and scientifically formulated cosmetic products that give the skin and hair a consistent colour, texture and hydration.

“We have started to rebrand our products to ensure they are sold in tubes. Florratt’s aggressive marketing campaign has resulted to more than 6 000 South Africans and Basotho joining the company to make a living from selling the products. We are also expanding our reach to Distributors in Botswana, Mauritius, India, China, USA and Australia,” says Mampho.