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The rise and rise of Cograbig brand

Business

Pheello Mosesi

At the age of 26, ‘Mamokone Connie Liphoto, fondly known as Cograbig, is making waves in the beauty and fashion industry, aiming to redefine the scene in Lesotho.

As a makeup artist, designer, and entrepreneur, she is the proud owner of Cograbig, a brand that has flourished for four years since its inception in 2020.

Liphoto named her brand after her middle name, Connie, and her two daughters, Grace and Abigail—hence the moniker “Cograbig.” Beyond the successful Cograbig PTY LTD, she has recently ventured into education with the establishment of the Cograbig Institute of Arts.

“This is a fashion and beauty brand I built from my passion for design, makeup artistry, and empowering women. Cograbig creates stylish crocheted clothing designs, streetwear, and other innovative designs while providing creative beauty services,” Liphoto shared with Newsday.

Liphoto has showcased her makeup talents at major fashion events, including the Sotho Kids Winter Fashion Show, Lesotho Fashion Week, and her in-house events like Cograbig Fashion Parade Carnival, Halloween Fashion Week, and the Winter Fashion Show.

“My mom is a fashion designer, and I started doing knitting and crochet work since elementary school. I fell in love, and in high school, I asked my mom to teach me how to make my own clothes, and my passion grew,” she said.

After completing high school, Liphoto pursued an Honours degree in fashion and retailing at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology. It was during her third year that she was introduced to make-up and hair through a module called hair and make-up.

“I didn’t know anything about make-up or how to apply it or even the products,” Liphoto admitted. “But after that module, I fell in love. With time, I wanted to know more to challenge myself further, which is why I delved into effects makeup.”

Despite her undeniable talent, Liphoto faced challenges in her journey. Some individuals misunderstood her makeup skills, associating them with Satanism rather than recognizing them as an art form. Additionally, she encountered resistance from those who viewed effects makeup as having side effects.

Addressing the challenges, Liphoto expressed, “I overcame all that by being consistent with my makeup and explaining to some people the difference between effects makeup and beauty makeup. I perfected my craft in beauty makeup to attract more clients.”

Liphoto emphasized that the journey was not without its share of difficulties. “I did a lot of gigs without payment. They would always say our payment is exposure or making connections, working with different brands, shows, films, and short scripts.”

Despite setbacks, Liphoto persevered and continues to do so. “I am now in a comfortable place where I get paid for my work. I see myself as a bigger and better brand beyond doing things for exposure,” she asserted.

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