Namibian Plants and Beauty
“Cut out the world and its preconceived ideas and feed your soul with your passion.”
With her proudly Namibian skin care range, Tammy Nott has become well known Namibian business name but not solely for the straight forward success she has seen but also because she is telling Namibian stories and using Namibian ingredients to generate that success.
99FM’s MYD Earth sat down with Tammy Nott, the owner of the Mbiri Natural Skincare Range to talk about business and the telling of Namibian stories.
99FM’s MYD Earth asked :
How did you get into the beauty business?
“If someone had told me three years ago that I would own a skincare company I would’ve told them that they were mad. I finished my studies in 2011 and returned to Windhoek in 2012. I spent the year editing short films. In October of that year my mum told me about a soap making course that I attended and it was after this that the whole business idea came to life. I had spent a lot time with my mum in the desert while she was getting the Namibian Myrrh project started but I had never seen it as a business opportunity until I went to the soap course. I then spent a lot of time using Myrrh in all sorts of ways. I experimented with different recipes.”
After this, “Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), Millennium Challenge Account Namibia (MCA-N) and the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) held a competition called Namibia’s Essential Oil Challenge Fund Competition. The purpose of the competition was to encourage innovative cosmetic use of Commiphora wildii. The entrants had to submit two or more product prototypes along with a packaging design and business strategy. I won the competition and got N$ 35 000 to start my business. Rare Scent was born.”
What is unique about your products?
“I launched Mbiri this year in April. The products are 100% natural and are endorsed by various institutions like Phytotrade Africa and the Vegan Society, as well as Beauty Without Cruelty. There are a lot of ingredients that go into a skincare product. The active ingredients are sourced from all over, however the Namibian Myrrh, Marula oil and Kalahari Melon Seed are sourced in Namibia. The marula and kalahari melon seed come from EWC (Eudafano Women’s Co-operative) which is a community based factory in Ondangwa. The other active ingredients are sourced from various other African countries.”
“Mbiri doesn’t just offer a skincare range, it offers a story about people and plants, and of course a story of Namibia. Mbiri is unique because it supports communities projects and focuses on Namibian community enterprises like The Opuwo Processing Facility which where I source the Namibian Myrrh from. The Opuwo Processing Facility is located in the heart of the Kunene Region. All the resin is processed there and the factory is owned by the communities. The resin is sustainably harvested making the whole process green in the sense that the resource is protected. The resin is steam distilled which means only water is used to extract the oil, no chemicals are used! The by product is also natural as it is just the left over resin which is plant material.”
What do you think Self Worth is all about?
“Self-Worth is realizing your achievements and being happy about them, however big or small. What other people think is irrelevant, as your self-worth is your happiness, your passion, your love and your soul. The biggest mistake people make is comparing themselves to others which often leads to us believe that we are not worth much because “look what they have done”. We need look at ourselves with our circumstances, our passions and our journey. No one is the same and we need to do what we believe in, this is the only way to take our self-worth to highest of levels. Cut out the world and its preconceived ideas and feed your soul with your passion.”
How important is it to know yourself and value yourself especially in business?
“It is imperative to believe in yourself, if you don’t believe in yourself then you don’t believe in your product and how is a customer then meant to believe in your product or you. You are your business so it is so important that you keep your head held high. People will criticize you and your product and this is a time to not devalue yourself or the business, it is an opportunity to learn and to reflect on why you started this in the first place, it’s key to tap into that initial starting point that drove you to do it in the first place. That point for me is the Himba in our beautiful desert.”
What has been the most important piece of advice you ever received?
“I have received two important pieces of advice, one is Just Go For It and the other is Focus on What You are Good At.
JUST GO FOR IT : We are all too scared and we need to set our fear aside and dive into what may be a scary venture but one we will only know if we try. An idea means nothing with no execution. We love to talk but no actions are taken. We fear failure but failure is merely a hard lecture taken at varsity, you learn and start again. There is nothing more exhilarating than seeing your idea come to life.
FOCUS ON WHAT YOU ARE GOOD AT : Starting a business encompasses so many different skills, I did them all myself to start, but slowly I am getting people to do other things for me which I am not good at. This is so important because you cannot do everything to the best of your ability so focus on the stuff you are good at and get other professionals/people to help you out with the other stuff.”
What has been your greatest success to date?
“I am so excited because I have recently made my first sale in the USA, which means Mbiri will be available in the USA as from next month.”
Where do you want to take your business?
“I want to take my business, which I look at as a story, to the world. This is an incredible way, through the products, to tell people about our country, our people and our plants. The Commiphora wildii plant grows nowhere else in the world, it is unique to Namibia and it is found in the most arid of places. A Himba women has hand-picked the a piece of resin that goes through the whole process until it gets to another woman sitting miles away is using it on her skin. I want to connect the world through my skincare range and its story. The world is forever changing and traditions and cultures are being lost, I feel that through my product I can keep this ancient tradition of harvesting Namibian Myrrh alive.”
Travel News Namibia tells the story of Namibian Commiphora and Tammy Nott in the article Committed to Commiphoras. Take a look at the article here : Committed to Commiphoras