I have been LOVING experimenting with new makeup, and recently I saw a post from Marie on one of the Facebook groups I am part of, and I was instantly drawn to her charismatic personality as well as her gorgeous makeup that she has created. She has just launched a new eyeshadow palette, and it has given me all the feels – I can’t wait to get my hands on it (as well as everything else on her website!), and I am sure that you will feel the same when you see the beauty that is MlsBeauty!
Your name: Marie-Louise but I prefer Marie
Business name: Mlsbeauty (Marie-Louise’s Beauty lol), boring I know.
Tell me a little more about your business: I first started as a makeup artist about 7 years ago. I’ve always been inspired by American and British makeup artists and brands and always tried to import products from these countries. I saw the need to bring diversity in terms of makeup in SA and launched my cosmetics line 2 years ago.
How long have you been doing makeup for: About 7 years ago. I was looking for a simple eyebrow tutorial on YouTube and became hooked.
Why does makeup make you so happy: It’s a refuge for me. When I’m upset I grab a brush and just go with the flow. When things fall into place I’m suddenly in a good mood.
What pushed you to start your own makeup line: The need of diversity in the South African Beauty Market.
What is your personal favourite item from your range: Can I pick 2? Cause they are really good. The Black Magic Palette and the Matte Lipstick in Negra, it’s a warm chocolate brown, I mix it with different lipsticks from the range.
What have been your most popular items: The Matte lipsticks, so far. But there’s a growing interest for the Black Magic Palette. The Black Magic is pretty versatile in colours but is still a neutral palette. I didn’t want to create a palette full of brown shades only, we needed a palette that’s lively, magical but still wearable.
How much do you charge for makeup application: My makeup rates start from R550.
I see you do makeup lessons too – how can people book with you: People can contact me through emails, DM or WhatsApp. I’m working on a bookings section on my website.
How can people order items from you: I have all my items on my website, easy, fast and secure website.
What makes your makeup brand so different to others: Inclusivity in every sense of the word. I wanted to create a brand that caters to everyone and where everyone can identify themselves.
Quote you live by: Enhancing the Beauty that already exists. Because that’s the sole purpose of makeup.
Marie, thank you so much for allowing me to interview you! Your products are absolutely gorgeous, and so are you. I love that your products are inspired by Africa, for Africans.
Marie is also currently running a 15% discount on her Black Magic Palette when you use the code WOMEN, so it is under R250 for a really versatile, gorgeous eyeshadow palette. Please support this wonderful lady, and share her great products with all your friends.
One thing that I have learnt about myself recently is that I am completely overwhelmed by lockdown emotionally, and I often feel like I need to just word vomit my feelings down onto paper so they no longer creep around my mind’s dark corners and reappear at the worst possible times. I have been feeling so bogged down with the stress of trying to keep our family surviving on one salary, and just life in general that I have felt my little depression gremlin rearing his ugly head as he perches on my shoulder reaching his long finger deep into my thoughts. And I know that I am not the only one going through this!
And then, I met the most beautiful Sammy after a post on our local community Facebook group! My health coach had been telling me for some time that I needed to take the time to journal, but I often feel like I need more guidance and don’t know where to start – so it’s been easier to just “forget” than to push through this block.
But with my new favourite journal from KwirkNation I feel like I can laugh as I get down my “crap” and honestly record my emotions for the day – with a special mood thermometer that is unique to KwirkNation. I couldn’t WAIT to interview Sammy, and knew that she was the ideal start for Women’s Month. This #GirlBoss is powerful, fun, and so kind – truly one in a million. Plus she has offered all my readers a discount when you purchase one of your own and use code FLOWERCROWNS.
Keep scrolling to see why you need one of these journals in your life!
What are 3 fun facts about you: I’m really good at memorising numbers, my favourite colour is black, I have to end every meal with something sweet no matter how full I am.
Tell me a little more about your business: KwirkNation is a brand created for women, by women. What sets us apart from the crowd is our use of profanity to create lots of haha moments for all the quirky ladies in the country. There is this stigma that makes it seem as though using profanity as a woman is frowned upon or ‘unlady’ like which is something we would like to change through our content and merchandise.
Where did the idea for this come from: Last year I lost my hearing and a couple of other things were topsy turvy at the same time. I found myself just going through the motions, sinking deeper and deeper into a depression hole. This was until I took to writing my thoughts down more often, really focusing on not only the negative but also the positive that I had to be thankful for each day. I would make use of the regular journals with never ending blank pages that didn’t guide me down the path to gratitude or fill me with positivity to take on the day. This is why “Fuck this Kak” was created.
Have you always enjoyed journaling: I have. I consider myself a creative writer with lots of ideas and lots of things to say so I journal to keep track of all these thoughts and ideas.
Who do you think would enjoy your journal: Our journal is definitely for quirky women who love a good laugh and aren’t opposed to using cuss words. Women who are fighters, some fighting battles that everyone else may not see. Women who fall but get back up with optimism and a kick-ass attitude . Women who live, eat and breathe sarcasm and profanity.
How can people place an order from you: At the moment our journal is available on our store and all of your loyal followers can use the promo code FLOWERCROWNS to get 10% off.
I know you have another idea in the pipeline – can you tell me a bit more: We have an awesome new vent journal launching very very soon which will be our second edition in our series of quirky journals. Stay tuned to our Instagram page for the deets!
Quote you live by: “FUCK IT!!! Just do it!”
Anything else you want to add: We also have a “FORK” range launching soon with some exciting merchandise!
I’m also a sucker for amazing branding and packaging, and Sammy truly exceeded all my expectations with hers (that’s why I had to include all of the images above).
And honestly, if you haven’t yet, try journaling. You will be amazed at what it does to you emotionally, and this great journal for gatvol South African women is the perfect way to guide you on this journey whilst providing a guaranteed giggle!
Thank you Sammy for your love, passion and kind heart. I have never met anyone like you, and can’t wait for this lockdown to be over so I can finally give you a hug and not our regular elbow/foot tap. I wish you only success and happiness with everything KwirkNation, and can’t wait to see your Fork range.
I met Nick & Nicole some time ago through a media event that we were both at, & they then had me over for an interview about invisible illnesses. I was immediately drawn to their love & passion, & I clicked with them on a level usually reserved for friends for many years. We laughed, teased each other & felt so comfortable finding our groove together. I knew that I wanted to spend more time with them & learn more about their business, Smergos.
Time has run away from us as we all have busy lives with work, doctor’s visits & life plans (ahem – Nick’s wedding coming up!). So I was so thrilled when they reached out to me & asked if I would meet them at Starbucks for a chat one weekend. What was meant to be a quick half hour meeting turned into a 2 hour giggle fest (with plenty of frappuccinos!) along with discussing plans going forward.
The first to come out of the meeting was that I HAD to do a blog on them. I have never met people like them before, & their business plan is amazing. They are changing the world for differently-abled people, & showing society that we all belong together whilst constantly inspiring motion.
The second is that they are offering a discount code on their Smergos Life products to everyone who reads this blog (more on this at the end…).
And lastly, we are partnering up through the Rare Bear Project! You can now add a Rare Bear to your order through Smergos, & we are one of their chosen charities that they will be giving back to. How flipping cool is that?
Your names: Nick (Nicholas when I’m in trouble) Smit & Nicole Vergos
NS: I was injured in a car accident when I was 6 months old and as a result I have Cerebral Palsy with Hemiplegia. Basically this means that the right side of my brain was damaged which has affected the left side of my body. However, I don’t let this get in the way of living life. I have Bachelor’s degree in education with majors in Maths and Biology. I run a small tutoring company & Smergos and teach part-time. I’m a professional speaker. I love music and dancing (especially Salsa) and I play pool. I’ve also ticked off sky-diving from my bucket list.
NV: I was born with a genetic condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), otherwise known as Brittle Bones. To be put simply, it means my body produces some type 1 collagen but not a sufficient amount, and as result my bones are not as strong as the average person’s. There is currently no cure for OI.
I’m an account manager at a leading global market research agency, specialising in consumer insights. Although my goal is to eventually be involved in Smergos fulltime. I’m motivated by change – I’m always looking for ways to keep moving forward and to improve my self-development.
Tell me a bit more about Smergos: Smergos changes lives by designing, manufacturing, donating and selling accessories for wheelchairs. The products are very diverse as some are functional while others are to express one’s personality or are specialised to suit disabled sports teams and we even have a range of products that are for everyone, not only for those with a disability. We have recently also started working on an accessibility rating platform that offers an app to the public, accessibility auditing for buildings, etc as well as connecting the owners of these spaces to companies that can help them upgrade their facilities to improve their accessibility.
We are both very passionate about Smergos as we both have a disability and understand the challenges that face those with disabilities on a daily basis. Our slogan is ‘Inspiring Motion’ as we aim to do this in the disabled community as well as help break down the barriers in society between those with and those without disabilities.
Where did the idea for this business come from: The Smergos story began one morning back in 2012 as Nick was thinking about what he could give Nicole on her next birthday. He recognised that she often struggled to carry or keep her belongings on her lap while using her hands to push herself in her wheelchair. A wheelchair bag was the obvious solution. It would be functional yet also original and distinctively Nicole.
The more he thought about the idea, the more Nick began to see far bigger possibilities. That afternoon, he called Nicole and asked her if she would like to make something that could change lives. Her response? “Definitely! I’m in!” The concept of Smergos was born.
Why the passion for this industry: Through our personal experience as people with disabilities we have always found it difficult to find products that are created for us or work the way we need them to. We are tired of this being the case. Why can a person without a disability go to the shops and find, for example, at least 10 different bags to choose from? However, when it comes to one for a person with a disability we can’t find anything and have to scour the internet and then pay exorbitant prices, because it’s a ‘specialised’ item.
Why are your products so unique: We didn’t take any existing product (especially those created for a person without a disability) and try fit these onto a wheelchair. We design our products from scratch. Often sitting in my lounge and strapping paper / material onto Nicole’s wheelchair and doing some intense problem-solving.
We also try create a range of products that are functional but also some that help portray the personality of the person in the wheelchair so the wheelchair becomes an extension of them and not this dreaded appendage.
Where can people buy your products from: On our website – Vensy E-mall and Takealot coming soon.
Tell me more about the different parts of Smergos:
Smergos Original – Products specifically created to fit onto a wheelchair or to be used by a person in a wheelchair
Smergos Sport – Products specifically created to fit onto sports wheelchairs and help them train, excel during a game or for comfort.
Smergos Life – Products created to suit those with or without disabilities. Because we always want to make a person with a disabilities life easier we created a ‘Buy-1-give-1’ model for only this range of products. This means that for every product sold a product will be donated to a person with a disability who needs our products but cannot afford them.
Smergos Electric – In the next few years / sooner we aim to develop a range of products that can be fitted onto a normal wheelchair and give it some electric features. I can’t tell you more than that – The rest is a secret.
Quote you live by:
NS: “The greatest risk is not taking one.” – Unknown
NV: “We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us” – Charles Bukowski
Anything else you want to add: In our effort to break down the barriers between those with and those without disabilities we are hosting social gatherings once a month (usually the second / last Sunday of the month). Please follow us on social media to see the details of these events and see you at the next one.
Our big goal is to eventually open a ‘Accessibility Store’ in a shopping centre. It will offer a range of products (ours & other suppliers) to suit all disabilities.
Aren’t these amazing? And isn’t it great that differently-abled people are now FINALLY getting some fun additions to make their lives a little easier?
And now… You can get your very own laptop bag from Smergos Life. “Smergos Life offers a range of products that anyone can use. For every product you purchase from Smergos Life, we’ll donate a wheelchair bag to a person in need. This buy one, give one model is exclusive to Smergos Life.”
My discount code is “FLOWER” here so let’s spread the love during this month of love. Together we can make this world a better place!