Namibia’s beauty and cosmetics industry has grown exponentially under the spell of social media as more people are looking to age gracefully, skin and hair care regimes have become a priority for many people who struggle to maintain healthy skin on a daily basis.
Entrepreneur and founder of Ilotu Cosmetics, Mareka Masule is shaking up the dynamics in Namibia’s beauty and skincare industry with a range of products designed to cater for various skin types.
Ilotu which is a Subia word for “it is beautiful,” specialises in the production of natural, essential oil based, range of skin and hair healthcare products.
These include (but are not limited to) full body detox clay, foot creams and scrubs, body washes and scrubs, face washes and creams, shampoo and conditioners as well as hair masks & butters.
For Ilotu it’s never too late or to early too to use a skincare regime. They promote preventative skins care lifestyles but also cater to people who have already experienced challenges with their skin where prescribed by medical professionals.
Our products have emollient properties which provides the skin with an extra protecting layer and also due to our key ingredient being, Essential oils, they contain natural SPFs, making them appropriate to help protect Namibians from the harsh weather conditions as many of the current international brands on the shelf, don’t always cater to our climate.” said the entrepreneur.
Their products aid in treating various hair and skin related conditions, such as acne, oily, dry and sensitive skin as well as fungal infections such as Athlete’s Foot.
The Ilotu product line consists of products under the ranges of Tea Tree, Sweet Almond & Rosemary, Lemongrass, Lavender, Cocoa butter & Coconut oil and Peppermint & Green Tea.
The business started operating since the beginning of 2018 after Masule received funding from Sanlam Innovation Works to start the business.
After a family member passed away from skin cancer a few years ago, the entrepreneur realised how many individuals lack knowledge about certain reactions, sicknesses and illnesses due to something as simple as what they eat, what they apply onto their skin.
Our skin is the largest organ in the human body and therefore its crucial to pay attention to what we apply to it. I decided to take my own DIY products/routines and share it publicly through the different products to help others and educate them more on the importance of skincare,” Masule said.
Masule described the process of starting the business as “surprisingly easy” because a good business plan was drawn.
Once we had the Blueprints, we knew what paperwork to get done and who to talk to. It all happened so quickly and amazingly,” she recalled.
Although she was nervous about how clients would react to her products, many clients had a positive approach to what she was doing in the cosmetics industry.
After hearing clients’ amazing testimonies on what the product did, it was so heart-warming and encouraged us to keep going,” Masule said.
Today Ilotu consists of a team of four employees of which fall under Finance, Sales & Marketing, Strategy & Projects and Production.
The business’s target market include middle to high income earners however, Ilotu products are conducive to the Namibian demographic as their products are modified to suit people who are constantly exposed to harsh weather conditions, in particular mine workers, athletes, and physically active children.
Their niche market also includes people with sensitive and problematic skins conditions including and health conscience individuals.
The current goal for the cosmetic business is to get their products onto retail stores and pharmacy shelves. So far, they have just made it into their first shop in Swakopmund namely, Natural Namibia Shop.
Although the business is based in Namibia Mareka Masule has plans to expand the business beyond Namibian borders to other Southern African countries.
Our vision is to be the first choice in body wellness and natural beauty products in Southern Africa,” Masule said.
Our Mission is to educate our customers on the importance of internal and external personal health care and to meet the expectations of all our stakeholders, including our customers, employees, shareholders and others,” she added.
We made sure to attend and to keep attending various Export-Ready Workshops and Networking events, as different countries have slightly different cosmetic product requirements, therefore, its vital for us to make sure we understand exactly what we are getting ourselves into,” she said.
The qualified Graphic Designer is now pursuing her qualification in Skincare & Body Therapy. For more information on her products email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +264814318581. Operating hours are from 08:30 – 18:00 Monday to Friday.