Moeng’s life was on track. She was happy as the Executive Officer for the Bonang Eye Centre – until a car accident landed her in hospital for a month, with 150 facial stitches.
“I was very self-conscious about the scarring,” she says. “I tried many different treatment options, but nothing really helped.”
She resigned herself to having to live with the scarring until she went on a business trip to Morocco and was introduced to cold-pressed argan oil.
“The Berber women in some communities were making it and I tried using it. I was very surprised by the results. Within three weeks, the redness surrounding the scars went away and the lesions started healing. My doctor was impressed with my progress. Even my family and friends started complimenting me on my skin.”
But it was only when Moeng was retrenched, that she and her husband Fabien faced the prospect of losing their home – that the idea of starting a business importing the oil took hold.
“Fabien had just started his own business, so we were weren’t doing very well financially. I cashed out my pension and used R10 000 to start Afri-berry, with Fabien and I as co-Directors. My first order was from the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda), which was very supportive. They even helped us get the product tested with the SABS and it passed with flying colours.”
Seda also helped Moeng negotiate a better rate with the Berber co-operative for the argan seeds, assisted her with import duties and guided her through registering for a business course at the Gordon Institute of Business Science.