Skin! Skin! We all have it, and like it or not everyone has the obsession of wanting to have it looking as good and flawless as possible. However having or maintaining good skin doesn’t come easy and cheap unless it’s naturally God given.

With hundreds if not thousands of skin products in the skincare markets worldwide, and new ones surfacing daily, Mbiri Natural Skincare, founded by Namibian entrepreneur Tammy Nott, has a distinctive story it holds. After completing her high school, Tammy went on to a film school in Cape Town to become an actress and never in a million years did she ever imagine she’d one day own a skincare brand.

“I worked in the film industry for a year as a video editor and I started my first skincare range in 2013. My business begun in my garage and in April 2015 I upgraded the range and launched Mbiri Natural Skincare.” The brand now comprises of body lotion, oil, lip moisturiser and body wash; made from various local ingredients including omumbiri,  marula and Kalahari Melon Seed oil. 18342700_1377552088948028_1418560526583713934_n

Growing up, she explains how she always had a passion for Namibia, its people and plants. Having her mother as a plant ecologist who worked with many of the Namibian communities doing research on plant ingredients, Tammy spent her childhood in the desert with her. This, she says has played been a key role in her development. “I started Mbiri Natural Skincare because I wanted to support the Namibian communities and also to put Namibia on the map in the international skincare market.”

The true inspiration for Mbiri skincare is that it comes from Namibian Myrrh, which is traditionally known as Omumbiri.  The oil is from a resin plant which is harvested in the Namib Desert by the Himba women during the dry seasons and is sent to a community owned factory where it is processed and the oil extracted

Namibian myrrh oil is favorable to the skin because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and is used in all her skincare products such as body lotions, hydrating lip moisturizers, body washes.  It helps fight many skin infections such as bedsores, boils, eczema and acne just a few to mention.

Tammy with some of the Himba women who harvest the resin used to produce Mbiri skin care.

Tammy with some of the Himba women who harvest the resin used to produce Mbiri skin care.

Like any existing business or aspiring start ups, one has to have a strategic plan on how to penetrate the market, sell and prosper. Uniqueness is one the factors that can determine how far along a product or service can sustain itself with its industry. In this case of Mbiri skincare range it is simply the story it holds, which is of Namibian women sustainably harvesting 100% natural potent African ingredients. “The reception my range received when I first started was very much positive especially in Namibia. Opportunities lie in international markets as people are becoming more conscious consumers and want to buy an ethical product that tells a story, the overseas market is huge in this regard.”

Not only is it a high-end effective range but it supports communities in Namibia and Africa too. The range has been accredited by Beauty without Cruelty and The Vegan Society.

Tammy’s view on the Namibian/ African entrepreneurship is that is continues to grow and that people have started to actually see the value of owning a business. However just like in most countries, access to finance remains a big challenge but her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to just ‘persevere’. She concludes by saying that entrepreneurship is a constant problem-solving situation which requires one to always strive through the tough times and remembering why they started the business in the first place.

With the skincare industry being highly competitive, Mbiri only started making its mark recently since it its inception two years ago, as it takes time to build and get brand recognition. Last year Tammy was selected to represent Namibia on the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Programme in the USA for three weeks.

By: Kamogelo Masokwane