Jambo Africa Online’s Publisher, SAUL MOLOBI, profiles a young dynamo who has begun to disrupt the cosmestics industry with her own brand, KebaaSkin

The affable and sassy 27 year old Matshepo Molotsi is a creative Architectural Technologist by profession, a beauty enthusiast, an entrepreneur by passion, and a self-taught makeup artist. This is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of KebaaSkin Organic Skin Care.

After matriculating in 2012 at the prestigious world class Lebone II College of The Royal Bafokeng, Matshepo spent two years at the Pretoria Technical College’s Engineering Department pursuing N4 and N5 qualifications in Civil Engineering. She then went further to the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) to deepen her knowledge in the engineering and built environment by registering for the Bachelor of Technology in Architecture which she completed in 2018. Striving for excellence, she then registered for a two-year Master’s degree in Architectural Design, and she has one more year outstanding to bag it as she then decided to augment her academic achievements with practical business learning. So she then participated in the “Business and Enterprise Development Cohort 14” of the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI), and last year in the Standard Bank Basali Development Programme – both programmes intended to develop the entrepreneurship skills.

“I am a hardworking, dedicated and passionate individual, with a strong creative background and entrepreneurial skills in the architecture, design and beauty field,” Matshepo says with a tinge of confidence but couched in humility. “I am committed and motivated by keeping up to date and learning about all the latest trends in the business and entrepreneur industry, through research, attending business conferences, enrolling for entrepreneurship and business development courses, hosting business networking events and analysing what the target market needs are.

It is often said that adversity breeds innovation and invention. “My passion for the beauty industry was revealed and discovered through an adverse situation in my life. From Grades 7-9 I was bullied because of a birth mark I have on my left cheek. I then started experimenting with makeup during my late high school years, trying to hide it with foundation and powder. Being the creative that I am and always willing to learn, I didn’t just stop with foundation and powder, but I wanted to explore the art and creativity of makeup. After seeing what these creative hands of mine could do, I knew immediately that I wanted to be part of this amazing industry.

“My entrepreneurial journey began when I realised that I am blessed with so many talents, the main one being my creativity. It was in second year of my Architecture studies when I started turning the makeup passion into a business and offering one on one makeup tutorials, where I also used to stock makeup in bulk from local suppliers and re-sell it to my makeup clients. I also used the skills I learned from the softwares we used for design, to start my graphic design business where I designed invitations, posters, and business logos. Since then, I have enjoyed turning my talents, skills and all the ideas that come with that into business ideas.”

Although she was automatically accepted into the Architectural Design master’s degree, and did the first year of the programme, the entrepreneurial fire burning within her forced her to respond positively. “I decided to not continue with the course anymore. I really felt that I wasn’t fully fulfilled, and I was not passionate anymore about studying architecture. I didn’t know what the beauty industry had in store for me, but the fire that burned inside me pushed me and gave me hope and assurance that this was the right decision for me. I am proud to say I have found contentment and fulfilment from following my passion and I am certainly on the right path to discover my purpose.”

A brand emerges

Her escapist hobby became the source of her livelihood. “Just like the saying ‘If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life’. I love how the work that I do doesn’t feel like a job, mainly because I wake up every day, with the joy of looking forward to doing what I love and enjoy. I also enjoy the process of learning every day. Every step comes with different lessons and challenges which inspire growth. I love the process that comes with concept inception, development and one getting to see the final product come to life, it makes me want to keep on creating new ideas. Lastly, I love being my own boss, I love the freedom of creativity, decision making and control it gives me over my own life and my career. I’m a visionary, detail oriented and I love creating, and introducing new ideas.”

She then established a company, KebaaSkin. This is an emerging South African brand in the beauty industry – 100% black female owned, led, and managed. Based in Rustenburg, North West province, they specialise in Organic Skin Care products and hotel guest amenities supplies.

Kebaa is a Setswana name, it comes from Matshepo’s late mother’s name, Kebaakae. Her mom passed on from COVID-19 complications on 27 December 2020. “I buried her on my birthday, 3 January 2021,” remembers Matshepo almost overtaken by emotions. “But having named my brand after my late mother has brought me nothing but peace and healing – healing in all possible forms, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. It has in a way, birthed a new presence of my mother’s spirit into my life. It has given me new hope and meaning to life. It gives me the urge and motivation to want to do more every day, and on the days when I feel like giving up, I remember that I have never wanted to disappoint my mother. It also represents the kind of person she was, a perfectionist, also a beauty enthusiast, she loved everything elegance and luxury, and that is what my brand truly represents.

“As a beauty enthusiast, I have always had the passion for the beauty industry and I have always known that I want to have my own brand one day. Though I had not anticipated that I would start my own brand this soon, I felt that I had to do it to honour my mother as she has had a great impact in my life with regards to my passion for the makeup and beauty industry.

*** Matshepo Molotsi with Hon. Ms. Desbo Mohono, MEC:Agriculture and Rural Development North West Province ***

“My mother always used to shower me with cosmetic gifts as she was a big fan and loyal customer to brands such as AVON, Justine and Revlon.”

Matshepo is glad that her mom became her first brand ambassador when she first started out. “She also used to market my makeup business for me, support my ideas, events and always found new makeup clients for me. Therefore, naming this business after her is one of the best ways I can make sure that her name and memory lives on forever.

“Our products are organic, cruelty free, our manufacturer is SABS tested and approved, and are carefully crafted using luxurious, plant ingredients, butters and oils, fused with the latest scientific technology, while thoughtfully made to provide effective skin care solutions for all skin types. We are currently in the process of establishing our online store, acquiring our IP testing and certification with the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) and getting barcodes for our products, in order for us to be able to get the products into big retail stores.

“We encourage and promote healthy skin care lifestyle and routines. With my experience in the makeup artistry industry, I have come to realise that most of my clients opt for makeup as a solution to hide skin imperfections or mainly because they don’t feel beautiful. So being the problem solver and creative that I am, I identified a problem, did my research, and found a solution which will help my clients and help me as a makeup artist because makeup really looks good if the skin underneath is well taken care of.

“KebaaSkin proudly supplies the finest and luxurious amenities that are an asset to establishments such as guest houses, hotels, lodges and B&B’s. Our goal is to supply across South Africa and beyond. The quality of our products is unfailingly impressive and ensure only the best raw materials from reliable, reputable suppliers are used.

“Venturing into the hospitality and tourism industry was an innovative and creative solution which allows the business to scale up and explore other revenue streams. With KebaasSkin being a luxurious lifestyle brand, it made perfect sense and was an organic shift to merge the beauty industry and the hospitality/ tourism industry using my brand.”

KebaaSkin’s range has 13 products and these consist of Vanity kit; Sanitary bag; Shower Cap; 25g Guest Soap; 40ml Shower gel; 40ml Body Lotion; 40ml Sanitizer; 40ml Shampoo; 40ml Conditioner; 40ml Conditioning Shampoo; 310ml Hand wash; 310ml Hand Lotion; and 100ml Sanitizer.

Always seeing a silver line

“Considering that I am in a challenging and forever evolving industry, challenges will always be there, but it is in the constant effort to learn and see every challenge as a lesson and not as a failure.

“I started this journey with the end in mind, and I always plan ahead, so with this strategy and mentality, it is always easy for me to deal with obstacles, destructions and challenges. My resilience, tenacity and self- discipline are also what keep me motivated when I face challenges as an entrepreneur. I also have a strong support system, being my family, my partner, and my friends. I am also blessed with loyal and supportive clients.

“My entrepreneurial journey thus far has been so fulfilling and rewarding. There’s nothing as fulfilling as using your creativity and talents to make and build a career for yourself.

“I am a strong believer in women empowerment, an advocate for gender equality and equity, women in business, feminism and independence. I believe that women are capable of leading and bringing change in our societies, and I believe that all this is possible through and with education.”