Promoting Namibian products

By Rosalia David

TWO young women Rousa Shikoha and Ndeshimana Nghimwena have opened a shop in Independence Avenue, Local Merchant, which specialises in local products from cosmetics to locally made sauces.
Recently, the two women also held a Local Merchant market day at Funky Lab which was attended by more than 100 people.
“We had over 100 people coming to look at our products while some even bought a few items. Obviously people just came and went since we were not allowed to have more than 50 people gathered at one place,” Shikoha explained.
She went on to express gratitude towards the turn up saying that it proved to them that Namibian people are interested in local products.
Shikoha told Confidente that the idea was planted in October 2020 to give SMEs an opportunity to shelve their products in their shop.
“We can help (SMEs) grow their brands. We intend to have the market day at least once a month from this point forward. We also intend on giving all our suppliers training to help them grow in terms of branding, sales and packaging,” she said adding that they will soon launch an online store to allow people to also shop for local products online.
The online shop, she said, will not only allow locals to buy online but gives an opportunity to international customers to also purchase and get familiar with Namibian products as well.
“The products will be available to the international market and that is why we are calling on Namibian business owners to come on board as sponsors or investors to grow this initiative.”
Shikoha is a 28-year-old, co-founder of a company called Kufindi Investments under which they are currently running Local Merchant. Her partner Nghimwena is 34 and has experience in the fields of project management and marketing.
“The aim is really to create a Proudly Namibian store that facilitates the selling of locally manufactured and produced goods while the Local Merchant simply aims to provide a retail platform that showcases the Namibian products from different consumers from different parts of Namibia. And by doing this, it’s going to create motivation and encouragement of buying Namibian products.”
Shikoha further urged Namibians to attend the market day that will now be taking place every month.
“Come and be with us on this particular day to be educated and well inform about the different kinds of products out there and how we can expand them in the future,” she said.
“The shop is open every day and people can always pop in and see what Namibians have to offer.”
She went on to say that the dream had been a long time coming but Covid-19 came into existence.
Apart from availing shelf space to designers and entrepreneurs, Shikoha said they are indirectly also creating employment amongst the Namibian youth.
Passionate about elevating Namibians she reveals that they are also planning on launching a non-profitable organisation named ‘Take Charge Nam’.
Local Merchant currently has over 25 suppliers and sells products such as accessories, handbags, cosmetics, CDs, books, carpets, immune boosters, baskets, chocolates and marshmallows; all locally manufactured.
“We have a lot of products. We sell things like Nam Aloe Vera, Esther k cosmetics, Chrishla Essentials, Afro Bella, Ndapanda’s Creations … everything is locally produced.
“In conclusion as a Namibian child, I believe that we can create opportunities for ourselves and by working as a collective, you will not need a lot of money to grow your business and we all can contribute to this change. Producers, bring your products to us,” said Shikoha.