We spoke to writer, radio host and entrepreneur Lerato Mpolaisi, who is the founder of the beauty business Bontle Ba Mosadi, about her company
Who is the person behind Bontle Ba Mosadi?
Lerato Mpolaisi is a 22-year-old female born in a small area in the Vaal known as Evaton. When I was 2-years old I lost my father and we had to move back home to Soweto to take care of my grandmother. I was raised by a loving single mother. I am self-driven, self-motivated and truly am inspired by black excellence. I hold a National Diploma in film and television and am currently enrolled for a degree in accounting science. I am a writer by profession, I own an online magazine called Tsoga O Phande and a haircare line called Bontle Ba Mosadi and work part-time as a radio host.
What inspired you to start Bontle Ba Mosadi?
The name translates to “the beauty of a woman”. Bontle Ba Mosadi was inspired by a number of things; seeing women growing so confidently in who they are is amazing to witness. We spent so many years looking for beauty and validation in different places, products, make-up and using all kinds of hair chemicals not realising that we are damaging our hair and skin at the end of the day. As a black woman, I wanted to create something for my black sisters. something that will define beauty for what it truly is, this is a brand by a black woman for black women. My aim is to highlight our true beauty and teach women how to own and take their power.
Tell us more about your business/ when did you start and how long has it been in operation for?
Bontle Ba Mosadi was established in the year 2021. It’s an organic hair line that soon aims to venture into skincare, our products are 100% organic and homemade with love. We have been in operation for 10 months and we are growing strong. When I first started, I never thought it would grow to what it currently is today. It’s been a roller coaster ride having to mix everything up was a big challenge. It took me 8 full months of research and 3 more additional months of development which cost me a lot of money because I didn’t seem to get my mixtures right. My mom saw me going through different emotions and would always encourage me to never give up and so I did and I eventually got it right. I would say the hardest product to make is the shampoo, It took me 6 months to get it right.
What kind of products do you offer?
We currently have three products, a shampoo( African Black shampoo), a moisturizing conditioner and shea butter enriched with coconut oil and lemongrass oil which is used both for hair and skin.
What sets you apart from Competitors.
1. Our products are 100% organic, we get our ingredients originally from Ghana.
2. We cater to women with different hair textures, even if your hair is relaxed you are able to use the products.
3. Our products are super affordable and easy to use.
4. We teach women about their hair, how to keep it healthy and to take care of their hair.
Where are you based and how many people do you employ?
I am based in Gauteng and haven’t employed anyone as yet so everything from development, mixing the products and distribution is done by me. I am currently looking for ambassadors who will collaborate with the brand.
How have you been received by customers?
My customers mean everything to me, the love I have received is out of this world. I would like to send a big shout to my mom, she is my number 1 supporter to this day, she was one of the first people to purchase my products. One thing about this industry, it taught me one thing, which is people buy quality more than anything. My clientele grew enormously, I had clients from different parts of South Africa. I remember making an order for one lady who resides in the Eastern Cape and I was shocked because I didn’t realize how huge my clientele is. I’ve learned not to underestimate the power of “word of mouth”. My followers are always engaging which makes me happy. Running a business is not easy, someday you just want to give up and leave everything but my clients kept me going and I will forever be grateful.
What are your hopes for Bontle Ba Mosadi?
Adding a new range before mid-year and introducing a skincare line that will include a number of products from body lotions, bath salts, organic soaps and face masks. We are also looking into getting into distributing online, collaborating with online stores and also distributing in local stores.
Where can people find you?
What is the one thing you’d say to young people out there who may be sitting on brilliant ideas?
Time is money, we are not getting any younger. Invest in your future because it will eventually pay off. Know and understand why you started. Don’t doubt yourself, you will fail along the way, that is the sad truth, It’s normal to fail and when you do, don’t be hard on yourself. Learn to pick yourself up and continue where you left off. You are amazing in every way.