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MammaMia Boerseep

Sometimes you're lucky enough to cross paths with someone that in certain ways thinks the same as you and shares in the same interests as you. Or rather have the same "needs" as you. Especially the need to create and enjoy the pretty in our world. Five minutes into our first coffee-meetup me and Mia from MammaMia Boerseep chatted as if we are old friends. Mia is warm, friendly and one of the most likeable people I have ever met. She thinks creatively and shares her ideas and excitement about her new venture with an open heart. 

I fell in love with MammaMia Boerseep on Facebook after reading Mia's story in the bio. Her boerseep is made using her great-grandmother's (Ouma Sophie) recipe, but Mia puts her own modern and stylish twist on these reliable laundry soap bars by wrapping each bar herself. It is as if Mia gives you a part of her heritage and letting you share in a treasured family secret when using her soap.

Two weeks ago Mia invited us to their home for a mini-photoshoot and some delicious coffee with koeksisters. And what fun we had!!! See below our interview with Mia.

Tell us a bit about “Mia”! Who you are and where you are from.

I am originally from Hout Bay and now reside in Sunningdale with my high school-sweetheart husband, Jacques, and my 2 year old son, Liam.
I am a full time teacher at Parklands College, teaching Afrikaans to high school learners. As a creative outlet, I enjoy baking, interior decorating (or mostly dreaming of it!) and now being a "momtrepreneur"!

Where did you get your idea to sell Boerseep and how did you recognize the gap in the market?

I grew up in a home where my mom often used the product, but I never really took notice of it. That is, until I struggled to get those stubborn yellow poop stains out of my baby's babygrows and my mom suggested I use Boerseep. 
It's as simple as wetting the soap, rubbing it hard on the area and then letting it dry. After a while (an hour or so should do the trick, or for tougher stains, leave to dry overnight), rinse the area and apply the soap again. This time not rinsing, but washing it with your other washing on the cycle you would normally use. You can even grate your bar of boerseep and use it as laundry detergent in your washing machine. 

Through working with Marcelle van Niekerk (a dear friend and exceptional graphic designer) I am proud to wrap each bar personally with the most beautiful packaging! Except for the fact that I couldn't do washing without it, it also makes for the most perfect and pretty gift for a baby shower or kitchen tea.

Where is your soap manufactured and what makes it different from other soaps?

MammaMia Boerseep is made with my great-grandmother, Ouma Sophie's, recipe. The trick of the trade was handed down to her grand children and my mom's cousin, Marianne "Sweet Pea" Botha, who resides in Mossel Bay on the Garden Route, still continues with this family legacy today. She makes each bar by hand. 
Who designed your beautiful packaging?
My packaging was designed by my dear friend and graphic designer, Marcelle van Niekerk. The packaging ended up being totally different to my original idea, but I love the final product. Needless to say, we went through quite a lengthy process to find the perfect look and feel and Marcelle was with me every step of the way!

When and where did you make your first sale and thought “I can do this!”?   

My first sale only happened a few months in. As mentioned, the design-process took a couple of months, so when I eventually held that first bar of soap in my hands, I knew it was something special. My very first bar was given as a gift to my cousin's wife for her birthday. As soon as she opened her gift, she bought another 5 bars as gifts for her friends! 
I suppose there wasn't one particular moment that I thought "I can do this!". I have been quite the little entrepreneur all my life, selling home made cookies and fudge to my family over December holidays, making birthday cards and tags to sell at my mom's exercise class, and the list goes on! I would love to, someday, spend my days being creative. To own my own gift/coffee shop would be a dream come true!
How/where can Burst-readers get hold of some of your Boerseep?
I have quite a few interested suppliers and we are in the process of finalising these deals. 
At this point in time, MammaMia Boerseep is available for purchase via e-mail (mammamiaboerseep@gmail.com) or at De Malle Meul in Philadelphia. We were also at the recent Afri-French Ideas Market in Simondium and will be participating in the Boerevintage Gift Market in George on the Garden Route from 19 to 23 December. All details can be found on our Facebook page.

What did you learn so far from MammaMia with regards to business and becoming an entrepreneur?

Firstly: you have to spend money to make money... unfortunately! I  had to invest in my own idea. And don't be in a rush to make it all back at once. These things take time.
Secondly: If you are not passionate about your product, it is not worth investing your time, money and effort into it. The nights can become long, but if you enjoy what you're doing, it is all worth it. Selling that first product brings a wonderful feeling of achievement!
Thirdly: Be organised. Use spread sheets to keep tabs on all your products, expenses and income. Make sure you know whats going on in your own business.
Any advice for other creatives who want to start their own product line?
Just go ahead and do it! If you are dreaming of becoming a "full time creative" you have to start somewhere, so just DO!
Tips on how to juggle work and being a mom and wife WHILE following a venture like MammaMia Boerseep.
It's not easy, I won't lie. But if you're passionate about your venture, you will FIND the time and MAKE it work. 
Family time always comes first, though. It reminds me of the analogy of the jar that needs to first be filled with the "big rocks" (the most important things in life), then the "little rocks" (things that aren't as important, but which you still have to do), and then the "sand" to top it all off (all other things that you would like to do). If you start with the sand, there won't be any space for any of the rocks! I think effective time management (and I am a "list person"!) helps me immensely with this. If I write down everything that needs to be done for the day, I can tick off each activity as soon as it has been done. This also gives me a sense of accomplishment when I finally put my head down to rest in the evenings. 

To celebrate her new venture and all the love MammaMia Boerseep has been receiving thus far Mia is giving away a stunning glass vase containing 4 boerseep bars to the value of R200. It is great to keep in you kitchen, bathroom or washing room OR to use some of the bars as gifts for your girlfriends. Just do the following in order to win:

Each of these will secure one entry:

  1. Like A burst of life on Facebook
  2. Like MammaMia on Facebook
  3. Tag 3 friends in the post on our Facebook page
  4. Like A burst of life on Instagram
  5. Like MammaMia on Instagram
  6. Subscriber to A burst of life newsletter

The winner will be announced on the 12th of August 2016.

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