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Baking with love



…..A story of how hard work overcame adversity…..

MASERU – FROM baking scones to sourcing for sea shells, Seithati Tlali has always had a knack for money spinning ventures.
A native of Berea now residing in Ha-Foso, her company Luna Holding Pty (Ltd), is trying to penetrate the market and establish itself as a household name.
Conceived “a long time ago”, the company was only officially registered in January 2019.
Tlali started out by baking scones but later expanded to sea shell products, a move she is sure will help turn her dreams of becoming a successful entrepreneur into reality.
She is now making ornaments, fashion earrings and necklaces using sea shells.

This second year Hospitality Management dropout from Lerotholi Polytechnic has refused to let her future be buried in the sand. So she pushes on despite the odds.
The 28-year-old says she realised her desire to venture into business in April 2018 when she was employed at one company in Johannesburg as a casual worker.
“Well, my working hours were abnormal and that’s when I started thinking to myself about what I could do during the early hours of my time instead of being in bed,” she says.
Tlali says it was during that period that the idea to bake scones struck.
But start-up capital was a challenge for someone who was battling to fund her own personal needs. Undeterred, she dug deep into her pocket and spent her last M300 to buy the necessary ingredients to start baking.
Fortunately for her, the venture performed better than she expected and in two days she had doubled production.
“That’s when I saw potential in me as an entrepreneur and saw my purpose being unveiled,” she says.
While her scone business was showing signs of success within the first three months, she had to stop due to illness.
She says she was diagnosed with TB and had no choice but to stay in bed.

Taking a deep breath, Tlali says those were the worst days of her life when she couldn’t continue with her business.
Tlali says all her hard work came to naught as she had to use all the resources and money she had generated to cover her medication which was too expensive due to the severity of her illness.
She says after her recovery, she started to move from pillar to post seeking a job and luckily she got one at a company called Chumile Holdings, which is owned by a Mosotho woman based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
“There I got a job as an administrator. I was still on TB medication and my early days were not the best days because I had to be at work wearing a surgical mask,” she recalls.
Tlali says within a week she was forced to go on unpaid leave for a month.
“All that did not pull me down,” she says.

As rough as it was, Tlali’s entrepreneurship spirit kept on burning.
She says after three months in Port Elizabeth, she began visiting the beach to collect sea shells that she would use to make ornaments during her spare time.
And, boom, a new business idea was born. At the back of her mind she knew that this was where the real money was.
“Well in my collection, I had mussel shells and when I was busy washing the sand out of them, a new idea was born,” she says.
She says in November last year when she arrived home from South Africa, she told one of her cousins about the idea.
They formed a partnership and JaneMarshells was bred.
“I have an idea of making jewellery and ornaments, wall arts and anything that will need the life of an ocean,” she says.

Tlali says they both worked on the idea and she then reintroduced baking.
That was when Luna Bakes became the second subsidiary to the registered company called Luna Holdings (Pty) Ltd, she says.
She says Luna Bakes is doing wonders.
“It looks like Basotho have a sweet tooth and that’s what keeps the company moving,” she says.
She says so far she is supplying Thapelo Donny Ntsiki with biscuits when holding workshops called Molao le Khoebo.
Tlali says she also supplies Chumile Holdings, a company she once worked for in Port Elizabeth.
In a good month, the baking company makes a net profit of about M3 500.
But JaneMarshells’ performance is still low because its market depends more on exhibitions that are held in Lesotho.
“I think people are not aware of it. I think the whole idea will take people by storm on one of these good days,” she says.

She says what makes the Luna Bakes the preferred choice for many Basotho is that they do not use any ready-made ingredients.
Tlali says their products are an end-product of “what was made from scratch with all the necessary ingredients to make any product”.
“So far I can safely say I am pushing for the market. A word of mouth and the feedback we are receiving shows that we are doing great work,” she says.

Refiloe Mpobole


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