By Fortunate Obey Mangombe.
Hello! My name is Fortunate Obey Mangombe an entrepreneur, CEO of Probey Beauty Products, and founder of Alpha Female support group. Chief Editor of Me Today Digital Magazine.
I’m here to share my business journey with you. I will give you a brief history of me.
I grew up with my parents in Kadoma and for some reasons they didn’t believe in letting me go away from them, ndisu taigara mumba, no friends no visiting just church, school then home, which resulted in me running away from home (ndichitizira) just so I can move away from home. I longed for freedom.
I thought after I eloped I would then leave the man and stay on my own but well life isn’t that simple. I went ahead and got 3 kids and the man was possessive in his way; I wasn’t given that liberty to explore the world. I became a kept woman again I wasn’t allowed to go anyway until I decided to leave. This time I was 25, with 3 kids not knowing what life is all about. I was all over… “getting over divorce, finding myself, and discovering how the world works.”
I discovered kuti agh kune mafaro, nice places to travel, mafaro, etc but I had no money. I tried finding work as a maid it didn’t happen. Worked in a bar, it was harder than I thought. I tried buying and selling, I was duped and I was like maybe I should go to South Africa where everyone is going but my mum said: “no go back to school”. I did and after that, I did a course in culinary arts, I wanted to be the best chef there is but unfortunately, I didn’t succeed in that. Eventually, I made my way to SA, and oh my I faced reality. It wasn’t easy there I was barely surviving at one point I was about to go stay under the bridge. I then got a job as a kitchen assistant in a supermarket it was during that time I decided to get spiritual help to find myself and heal.
We worked from 5 am to 3 pm. I had to work up at 3.30 to get to work on time. As I was working, I asked myself why not put this effort into my own business? I will be as successful as the people I work with. I started preparing to buy my kitchen equipment, unfortunately, I lost my job. But from the long working hours in the supermarket kitchen that destroyed my cooking passion, I was tired.
I visited back home here in Zimbabwe and I was in a kombi I noticed something is different, it was stuffy and smelly then I learned one thing in South Africa, the people always smell nice, even the lowest of them there know that you ought to have a roll-on and deodorant.
How I started
I was thinking I need to do something as I relocate a home, and I was thinking it will be nice to have a fashion line then, I thought of my new obsession that fragrance and scents. I decided to have a fragrance line and started researching online perfume schools but they were expensive. So, I scratched that, thought of doing a car wash (state of the art) no one from this side wanted to help me or rather partner with me, and then decided to just come home. I sold some of the property I had in South Africa, took the money, and came back. I tried doing events that weren’t successful, tried buying and selling again then before I knew it the money is gone and left with a little. One day I was browsing through Facebook and boom, saw an advert for online perfume training then I felt God is speaking to me. I joined, learned and we came up the 8 of us to try and start a company.
With the 8 of us, only 5 managed to bring money together and we purchased our 1st batch of perfumes. 3 of us managed to register a company, I was happy. Problems came one left and it was 2 of us and we became best of friends more like sisters, we became one, we managed to start a poultry project and boom the love of money and outside influence came between us, I walked away with nothing and started all over again at least I had learned a lot from the previous partnership, I knew how to correct the mistakes.
I managed to start Probey Beauty Products, I registered, opened a bank account did the tax clearance then my finances ran out. I had to invest in the business and I managed to go to South Africa to do my purchasing. Just as I finished with manufacturing lockdown happened. My product includes: Bubble bath and washing gel, Body lotion for both men and women, Roll on, Perfume, Essential oils like Carrot oil, Turmeric oil, lemon oil, orange oil, and Rosewater
Some of the challenges were:
- Having men asking for sexual favors in return for a connection has been my biggest challenge so far.
- It seems it’s hard in Zimbabwe to get a small shop.
- Hard to get investors to help you grow in business.
- People in society don’t believe in black entrepreneurs they don’t believe we can do better than imported products they would rather go to the shop then give u a chance.
- To be able to supply in big supermarkets
- To have a shop
- To be in a cycle of businesspeople network cycle
From other people’s stories here I’m learning to persevere, to be courageous. The lessons helped me improve my mentality, manage my finances, and that networking matters. And the chance to advertise and meet like-minded people
Probey Beauty Products