ENTREPRENEUR Olga Maphutha is a born nurturer.
After spending 20 years in a hospital intensive care unit caring for the sick, Maphutha decided to hang up her nursing uniform to start Olmog's Bathroom Essentials.
The business, launched in 2003, offers people soaps and lotions specifically made by her to suit the individual's needs.
After completing a basic and advanced soap-making course, Maphutha, who hails from Ferndale in Johannesburg, used all her savings to set up her business.
Using her home as business outlet this feisty woman turned her cosy kitchen into a lab and started making and supplying body care products.
Word about her exclusive skin products spread in beauty circles and Maphutha, who offers a wide range of accessories that include gift packs, started getting orders from people from all walks of life - among them celebrities and government officials.
Her creativity has turned her into a household name.
Some of her favourite work includes putting together personalised gift packs for infants and wedding gifts with the marrying couple's names and wedding date printed on the items.
Q: Have you always wanted to venture into this type of business?
A: Not really. I had a very dry and sensitive skin and products on the market did not meet my skin's needs. I always had to add glycerine to lotions, which helped for a while. Soaps and foam baths used to leave my skin ashen grey.
One day I received a hand-made soap gift that addressed my skin's needs. The results were noticed and loved by those close to me and I then bought and sold it to them.
Only after I sold a few soaps, bath salts, bath frolics and gift packs did I realise there was a definite need. When my supplier left the country I had to learn quickly how to make the soaps since I already had a customer base.
Q: Why this business?
A: I chose this business because it's challenging and unique and I can express my creativity, showcase Africa's rich heritage through the designs in soaps.
I use some of our indigenous fruits and herbs, such as marula and rooibos, while helping people get products that meet their skin's needs.
The other thing is that bath products are the basis of your daily hygiene.
When your skin feels and looks good, you gain confidence before you even start putting on smart attire.
Q: What makes your products unique?
A: My products contain no perfumes or alcohol. I use fragrant oils that are gentle to the skin.
Some of my products can be personalised and exclusive because we understand that people are different and so are their needs.
We make glycerine soaps with African designs and other exciting shapes, using fragrances and essential oils that gives the skin the love and care it needs.
Body lotions, scrubs, bath foam, salts and soaks are also made to enhance the soap action.
Our products are made with great love, care, passion and creativity, which is echoed by our customers and our pharmacist makes sure that the base of our products deliver what they are intended for.
I also personalise towels and gowns by embroidering names. These are of superior quality. I go the extra mile for my customers.
Q: What's next on your agenda?
A: An outlet is in the pipeline so that customers can walk in and choose their products. I would also like to export my products and participate in exhibitions.