Sharon Chingwaro is the founder and formulator at Mambokadzi Bath and Body. I first got to know of her in the Mambokadzi Facebook group which is a community of women who are passionate about beauty and health. My first Mambokadzi purchase was the Clarifying Gel which made my skin silky-smooth and gave it an undeniable glow. That’s when I started getting more and more products and the one thing that stuck out for me was that Mambokadzi had a product for any feminine ailment you can think of. As an added bonus, Mambokadzi products are made from natural ingredients with minimal to zero side effects. I had the opportunity to speak to Sharon about Mambokadzi Bath and Body and I hope you find something you like.
What are ancient age secrets?
It comes as no surprise that our ancestors were quite the beauty enthusiasts. They indulged in beauty rituals they believed not only enhanced their appearance, but also had magical and religious powers. Ancient beauty secrets included various natural ingredients that have stood the test of time. Age-old remedies for clogged pores and dry skin are anything but antiquated, with many antidotes for dull skin sitting on the shelves of the common kitchen cabinet, the garden and the forest. This is the backbone of Mambokadzi Bath and Body.
What inspired you to get into cosmetics?
l got into cosmetics because l was broke and l liked good, expensive cosmetics which l could no longer afford. This pushed me to explore alternative methods of taking care of my skin. My route of ending up in the beauty industry is probably different from most. My background is in Hotel and Catering. After getting pregnant with my second son, I became a single mother. I was broke and couldn’t afford high-end beauty products anymore. So l decided I would make my own. I am beauty and wellness obsessed, so that helped, but really just research, gift, determination, and a lot of passion got me to where I am.
How did you choose the name of the business?
Our government name is Wild Child which means from the wild (harvested) but over time as l delved deep into my roots, I am from the Royal House of the Soko Wafawanaka Chingowo Dynasty. Besides that, in African Spirituality, Culture and Tradition, the Woman is Sacred. She is protected and served by African values, principles and taboos making her a natural and divine royal archetype by design. She is Mambokadzi.
What was your very first product to make?
The Mambokadzi Demabrasion scrub was our first product! My clients call it miracle in a jar.
What’s your best selling product?
the miracle jar! Mambokadzi demabrasion scrub because results are instant and Vhunze remoto from our wellness products.
What makes your products stand out from the rest?
It’s simple, they work and our clients are proof. We get most of our business from referrals. Our products are organic and handmade from indigenous herbs and oils that grow wild on the Zimbabwean landscape. They’re are carefully handpicked using environmental friendly methods, mostly by women in marginalised communities who in turn sell them to us at fair prices. Using old age beauty, healing and wellness secrets, we turn them into user friendly and recyclable products.
What have been some of the obstacles and how have you overcome them?
Our biggest obstacle was our own people. Self hate. Until we learn to love and embrace ourselves and appreciate what our ancestors and nature has given us, we will always look outside for self-actualisation and help. We have created a toxic relationship with consumerism. We consume everything, as long as it’s from outside our borders and our people. In the end, we fail to create a value chain amongst ourselves making other people and nations richer while we remain poor and average. Instead of just selling the products, l started educating consumers about natural beauty products so they could appreciate before buying.
What are some of the treatments that women can get at your spa?
Yoni-steaming is an ancient practice used in our culture to promote overall vaginal health with gentle and effective care techniques that utilise heat and organic herbs/salts to assist the body’s natural cleansing processes.
River luxe is a full body exfoliation treatment using a textured glove, oils and herbs that removes dead skin cells and layers of grime. It stimulates circulation and leaves your skin silky smooth. Complemented with a milk rinse and a relaxing oil rub.
How did Mambokadzi become the popular brand that it is now?
My mentor always says, “get good, get seen, make money.” I spent years getting good and my people accepting and embracing the brand is a result of all that work
Which 3 products do you recommend to women as essentials they can’t live without?
Definitely the Gogo Moyana steaming herbs, Vhunze Remoto and Makanaka Liquid Gold you will thank me.
Your products deal with some of women’s top issues such as period pain, skin care and womb health, how do you stay informed about the plight of women?
Firstly l am a woman healing women that certainly helps. Then as a brand our products are designed to be solutions to every day challenges. So we have social media groups my team and l interact with women of different backgrounds about all kinds of issues.
You offer Chinamwali sessions, why are they relevant to women?
What is Chinamwali? Chinamwali is not a new concept. It is about teaching women about their bodies, about interaction with men and about managing a household. Our Chinamwali class is rooted in the understanding that sexual energy is the creative life force at its most elemental. The Chinamwali Class provides insightful instruction that will empower you as a sexual and sexually actualised woman no matter what your current experience of sex is. The course is structured to prepare individuals to conduct meaningful relationships and interactions.
How can someone become a distributor for Mambokadzi?
It is easy all you need is to get in touch with us, purchase products worth US$50 and you are automatically part of strong team changing lives.
How did you build your virtual community of women in your highly interactive Facebook group?
The ‘Beauty, Health and Wellness Zimbabwe’ Facebook group was built upon being real. l had to be honest about who l am and my experiences and l guess many women identified with this. Also posting daily! To keep the pages active.
What’s the big picture vision for Mambokadzi Bath and Body?
The beauty and wellness industry is still dominated by colonial or foreign products. It does not address the needs of our own people’s skin, hair nor immune systems. It’s not from our own cultural, traditional and value system. My inspiration comes from that imbalance and void. Above all, I am inspired to continue from where our grandmothers left off to evolve and grow the legacy and create nhaka for myself, my family, our nation and our people globally.
I aspire to merge natural, organic skin care and wellness products with high pharmaceutical standards only using nature’s own pure ingredients. Building a global personal care brand which encourages a more conscious culture is our vision.