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By Mosa Matela
While attempting to recover from the effects of lockdown restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic, Matšeliso Letsie dabbled in a variety of different business ventures before successfully mastering the production of briquettes and later launching Tseli’s Eco Briquettes.
Matšeliso Letsie, who was born and bred in Maseru, is a fierce and inspiring woman who has taken notice of the gaps in the country and has made it her to not only fill them, but to profit from them as well.
Coming from humble beginnings, Letsie can quite literally say she has managed to build herself from the ground up.
Residing at Kena Ha Adam in Maseru, Letsie went to two different primary schools before ending up at St Rodriguez High School, where her eyes were finally opened to the tough conditions she was born into.
Using that as motivation, she furthered her studies and obtained a certificate in emotional counselling and took it even further by obtaining a diploma in private investigation where she immersed a lot in the world of forensics.
Just as she had found stable footing, life showed how truly unpredictable it could be with the emergence of the pandemic, causing business to shut down and her to unfortunately run out of work. Due to her strong will and determination, this did not deter her at all.
“After businesses shut down, the only thing I had access to was Wi-Fi. I did not take that for granted and began considering it as a very useful tool. I brainstormed and eventually found hustles that I could venture in to,” Letsie said.
Luckily, she had already realised how excellent she was at influencing people through personal interactions, and decided to use this skill to help boost her family’s income and become an entrepreneur.
That was the beginning of her journey in the production of cosmetics. They came out well. However, due to an extremely high yield in the production of cosmetics, the oversaturation and the amount of competition in the industry, Letsie did not make much of a profit and had to brainstorm about other business ideas she could possibly go into.
Letsie had her ‘lightning in a bottle’ moment and decided to try and produce environmentally friendly briquettes. Due to her wanting them to be environmentally friendly, she did her research and decided to utilise widely accessible recyclable goods: such as, water, paper, cardboard and sawdust.
As she began her journey in the production of briquettes, she decided to enhance her knowledge and attended a workshop specialising in the production of briquettes. This enhanced her skills and knowledge immensely and allowed her to fully begin production, packaging and distribution.
Asked about the challenges she faces, Letsie informed this publication about both recent and past issues.
“Currently, I’m being challenged by the fact that we do not yet have proper equipment and producing everything manually is proving to be daunting,” Letsie said.
A challenge she once faced was the fact that giving away details in regards to her work would allow people to attempt to copy it. She overcame this by pushing non-toxic and eco-friendly products.
She conducted tests that determined how long her briquettes burned and how toxic the emissions were. The emissions were non-toxic and the briquettes were overall safe to use, so it was immediately a green light for her.
Do not think this is all that she does. Letsie still produces and sells cosmetics, perfumes and bath bombs. That’s not all, as she produces drinks, sour porridge, marsh mellows, ice cream and boerewors. The cherry on top of course is her briquettes.
Letsie makes sure that she works hard today in order for her to have a greater tomorrow. She urges up-and-coming entrepreneurs to turn lemons into lemonade and to overcome every challenge that comes their way.
Her services are available at Maseru Roller Mills Building, Stationeng. You can contact her on 50244828/ +27 68 570 3989.