The Formulage Effect

Promoting small business with big heart, Formulage is educating beauty therapists across the country, sharing knowledge about its holistic approach to out-of-the-box skincare.

Skincare professional and Formulage co-founder Mandy Gonsalves takes an education-first approach to running her business, sharing her hard-earned knowledge with women-owned businesses who believe in the brand and its holistic approach to effective but affordable skincare.

Helping small local businesses thrive in a challenging market is one of the founding principles that boutique skincare manufacturer Formulage has stood by since its inception in 2015.

With a special interest in treating severe scarring and acne, skincare professional and Formulage co-founder Mandy Gonsalves sees significant value in sharing her knowledge and expertise with the stockists who have invested in her products over the years – women-owned businesses who’ve proven their commitment to “the Formulage effect”.

It’s against this backdrop that Gonsalves and her fellow Formulage cofounders – including biochemist Wim van Nierop – recently hosted Formulage’s top five retailers at their Johannesburg premises, celebrating another year of success, sharing crucial industry knowledge, and discussing the future of Formulage as South Africa’s leading boutique skincare range.

“As the founders of Formulage, we take accountability and responsibility seriously, which is why our No 1 aim is to ensure that we support the retailers who live and breathe our brand. In turn, we’re here to support the brands that put us out onto the market,” said Mandy, in gratitude to her retailers.

Formulage sells itself

Responding in kind, the retailers were quick to agree that Formulage has proven, time and again, that it reduces acne, slows down any signs of ageing, and reflects beneficial results within two weeks of consistent use – if not immediately.

“On a personal level if I know something doesn’t work, I can’t sell it, and that’s saying something for an introvert with a retail store,” says Ronja Gossow, who owns the Health Warehouse in Swakopmund, Namibia.

“But I’m very confident when promoting Formulage, because it works,” she adds.

Like most of the other retailers, Ronja is sensitive to the fact that most clients are desperate, having already spent a fortune on other products that haven’t proved effective on their skin.  

“I want customers to feel comfortable with a product before their purchase, which is why I always hand out Formulage sachets for them to try first. All of them come back within a week to buy products because it’s guaranteed – Formulage works and sells itself.” 

Invest back into your growing business

In addition to their proven efficacy, Formulage’s products are developed and manufactured in-house, which shortens the supply chain to ensure that their prices remain competitive. This means every Formulage stockist makes enough profit from product sales alone to restock their shelves and invest back into their business.

“You never feel like you’re selling a product that gives you nothing in return,” says Heidelberg-based therapist Eureka Taylor (Face Ink/Revived). “When you sell a range you aways have enough money to buy something else for your shelf.”

Bloemfontein-based therapist Caren van der Nest (BodyInk) is testament to this, having made a living from selling curated product packages after a life-altering back operation prevented her from doing therapy work for several months.

“I had time on my hands to sell products and tailor packages for each customer. And I learned so much! New clients are quite sceptical, but my facial packages introduced them to new products and helped them stay consistent, which in turn made them loyal to the brand,” says Caren, whose resourcefulness shows how tenacious women in small business can be.

The same is true for Mandy, who first embarked on her journey as a beauty therapist after being overlooked for a high-level corporate job as a result of her acne.

“I started night school the very next day,” she says, adding that, because she’s had several people who supported her during  those difficult times, she decided to apply the same ethics at Formulage.

“I realised early on that education is the key not only to success, but also to respect. In my experience, you can earn respect by showing that you’re willing to share your knowledge. And, in my opinion, that’s doing business right. It’s the reason I can sleep at night, because I know there’s always a reward for doing business that way. We at Formulage are here to support and uplift women and other businesses,” she adds.

Out-of-the-box skincare

Using tried and trusted active ingredients, the team at Formulage works meticulously to ensure that their products have a positive influence on every skin.

For instance, Formulage’s specially formulated preventative range for sensitive and acne-prone skin contain a unique blend of active ingredients that help reduce inflammation while restoring the pH and dermal barrier of the skin. And, importantly, it’s compatible with oral medication for acne.

Meanwhile, the in-salon range was developed with beauticians and therapists in mind. It includes the full range of fan favourites in salon-friendly sizes, helping salon owners cut overhead costs without compromising the quality of their treatments.

“One thing I’ve learnt in life is to always think out the box and, with Formulage, you can think out the box with every single in-salon product,” says Mandy, who likens the Formulage salon range to LEGO blocks that work synergistically and can be arranged in varying orders to different effect.

“There isn’t one active ingredient in any in-salon product that will counteract another. It’s that safe… A box of magic containing products that salon owners and therapists can put together in different ways depending on the client and the treatment.”

Eager to share her trade secrets with other woman-owned businesses who believe in her product, Mandy and her team have embarked on an in-house roadshow ­which they’ve dubbed, ‘The Formulage Experience’.

The idea originated out of Mandy and her team wanting to show Formulage’s top retailers how Mandy uses the products to maximum effect in her own salon (the Scar & Skin Rejuvenation Clinic, in Roodepoort), so they can do the same with confidence. Testament to the team’s ongoing passion for what they do, The Formulage Experience bleeds into the way Mandy liaises with clients.

“Mandy has helped me with everything from education to after-sales service. Being able to phone a supplier and have not just a human voice, but the company owner on the other end of the line – has been huge. All it took to put me on the Formulage track was in-person support, and finding the right exfoliator,” laughs Kate Geddes, who’s owned her Roodepoort-based salon, Zemndhu, for close to 20 years.

“I’ve always felt supported by Mandy and the team,” she reiterates. “Not just with products, but with the way I run my business and deal with my clients.”

Promoting best-practice skincare

As a collective, top-selling Formulage stockists and beauty therapists across Southern Africa are passionate about helping their clients feel confident, each offering their own unique but equally holistic approach to skincare.

These are stockists who only recommend products they believe in, therapists who help cash-strapped clients work within their budget, and women who go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to both treatments and after-sales service. And, besides their passion for quality products that promote healthy, hydrated and, glowing skin, they each have a Formulage product that they cannot live without.

Ronja: “The Micro Peel works instantly. It’s a good all-rounder that works for many skin types. And, for clients who want a quick fix that isn’t too harsh, this is always a winning product.”

Caren: “Die acne reeks is my favourite. Dis só ‘n maklike produk!”

Eureka: “I like the Micro Peel for its visible results, but the Natural Vitamin A Cream is another product I love.”

Kate: “Micro Peel is what sold me on Formulage. It’s amazing! But I love all the other professional products too…Are you eager to delve deeper into the transformative Formulage effect and become part of the ground-breaking skincare movement? Reach out to Mandy Gonsalves at (011) 672-1686 or via email at to embark on this exciting journey.

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