(JollofNews) – Twenty-one-year-old Marie Ndow was just in the advanced stage of her diploma course in college and was contemplating going to university to study health and social care when she became pregnant.
Chances are the average woman would have forgotten the idea of going to university or the dream of owning a cosmetic line and just focused on the baby and depend on their partner/husband or parents.
Like in many African countries including the Gambia where she grew up, there is a strong belief that the role of women in society is to get marry, have kids, depend financially on their partners/husbands and be the headmistress of the kitchen.
But not Marie. Despite the morning sickness and other illnesses pregnant women go through, she continued attending classes until five days before her delivery date. And with a young daughter to look after, she still continued with her classes and would sometimes even take the baby to college when she had no childcare.
“I continued to go to college with my little girl and my tutors loved her,” she said in an interview with JollofNews. “At that young age, she didn’t cry at all and she wasn’t hard work. She slept most of the time in her pram while I attended lessons in class. So when graduation day came, I took her with me to the ceremony and the course coordinator and other tutors were pleased with me.”
Marie was not born with a silver spoon and from a young age, she was told by her mother and grandmother that she is beautiful and intelligent and can be whatever she wants to be in life if she works hard for it. They taught her to be independent and to see life as a journey that is full of challenges. They also taught her to dare to dream big, set a vision and not allow her critics and fears to cloud her judgement.
With that advice in the back of her mind, she jumped on a train to the University of Bedfordshire to enquire about their courses. She also took up a job in the health and beauty industry and worked on her plans to becoming the first Gambian to own a cosmetic line. She also sought the advice of various labs and other professionals in the business and after nearly five years of research, she is making her dream a reality.
Now in her second year in university, Marie’s Crowned Cosmetics business has successfully been registered and will soon commence operations.
“It will not contain synthetics, binders, paraben preservatives, emulsifiers, or fillers. Crowned is 100 per cent organic made of botanical and minerals,” she said. “Crowned will offer a wide range of organic beauty items that are 100 per cent natural. Wearing these products will not create an appeal of applying too many cosmetics. Instead, it creates a flawless look while feeling light on your skin.”
Marie’s love for cosmetics and colour began way back when she was growing up in Banjul, the Gambia, where women always look their best even when they are busy with their endless domestic chores.
“I love colour, and cosmetics is all about colour,” she added. “I think what truly made me go for it all is the prospect that you barely ever see natural beautifiers, assuming any. I get irritated by certain cosmetics, particularly foundations, due to a particular ingredient in it or ingredients over all.
“Understanding this, I said to myself, beauty care products with a difference sounds great, and natural was the primary thing I considered. I contacted a couple of labs and I was so fortunate to run into a lab that makes just natural beautifying products. This is the lab I will work with. It’s the ideal opportunity for a change and Crowned Cosmetics will be that change. I want women to feel and look impeccable in the solace of their own skin.”
Marie’s cosmetic line is already appealing to women in far away countries including Morocco, the Gambia, Senegal, United Arab Emirates and the US according to her Facebook page, which gained over 12000 likes in just weeks. Commentators on the page say they are impatiently waiting for the launch of the beauty products.
She added: “My Gambian companions have been the best. Honestly, I never told a great deal of them until after I began. I think I only told two or three people, and they have been nothing but supportive. They help me inside and out conceivably and I am so thankful. After Crowned Cosmetics was announced, the amount of love and support received from all my Gambian companions was delightful, I was gobsmacked. The WhatsApp messages and Facebook shares have all been great.
“I plan and pray on making Crowned Cosmetics one of the best in the cosmetics industry. I want to be an incredible good example for my daughter and women. I am so excited for my future even though I don’t know what it holds. Furthermore, I am so appreciative for all that I have.”
On juggling between motherhood and running a business, Marie described it as a beautiful task. “I do all that I do for my little girl. Yes it is a lot to juggle but it’s always worth it,” she said. “And my advice to my fellow women especially young Gambian girls is, go for what you have confidence in and what you believe in.
“Never let anybody or anything cut you down. If you have a baby, don’t let it prevent you from being the best you want to be. Yes there are times you will sob late into the night, but you have to get back up with a smile and with a plan, a plan that will give you a better future.
“Whatever your dream is and where possible, get your diploma and degree as they never go to waste and will open so many doors of opportunities for you. Your qualifications, skills and experiences will always be yours and no one can ever take them away from you.”