UK-based Zimbabwean lawyer appointed magistrate

Codilia Gapare
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UNITED Kingdom based Zimbabwean, Codilia Gapare has been appointed to the Justice of the Peace of England and Wales with effect from July 28.

The Justice of the Peace is a local magistrate empowered chiefly to administer criminal or civil justice cases.

A justice of the peace may, in some jurisdictions, also administer oaths and perform marriages.

Speaking to The Zimbabwe Mail, Gapare said: The appointment means so much to me. I grew up working in only my perceived limitation, being able to go beyond those limitations is self-actualisation to me.

“This responsibility is not something that I am taking lightly. I have been called to serve and I will do that to the best of my ability.

Gapare is also an entrepreneur having invented the first ever false lashes range for chemotherapy patients and those suffering hair loss.

She is the founder and chief executive officer of of C-Lash

Codilia bought lots of sets of false eyelashes and set about modifying them on her kitchen table. She realised she needed a thin band to go across the eyelid that blended with the skin and really strong glue to make the lashes stay on but was hyper-allergenic and skin-friendly because cancer treatment makes the skin super sensitive.

Researching how to make prototypes on the internet, she found most companies were based in Asia and she wanted the lashes to be made in the UK. Also she didn’t want to go to an existing lash brand as she was worried that, having not done this themselves before, they would tell her it was not possible.

So, she boldly tried something completely different. She took the eyelashes she’d created to an engineering company that normally makes car parts and asked them to make her prototype.

“Sometimes it’s better to come from a completely different point of view,” she explained. “They said we don’t know anything about lashes and I said that’s fine, I just want you to take what’s in my head and reproduce it without telling me it can’t be done. And I said please don’t discourage me, because I will get discouraged and I don’t want to.”

Codilia Gapare came up with the idea of C-Lash false eyelashes for chemo patients after losing her eyelashes to cancer treatment
Codilia Gapare came up with the idea of C-Lash false eyelashes after losing her eyelashes to cancer treatment

She added: “I didn’t want to create a new face, I wanted my old face back so I wanted something natural-looking that would mirror my own lashes. I talked to people and realised I wasn’t the only one having this problem.”

Once she had her prototypes, Codilia took them to every chemist and supermarket she could think of. Eventually Boots said they were interested in taking it on but that it needed to be trademarked or patented.

“I looked this up online and realised it would cost between £15,000 and £22,000 to do this – I didn’t have that money,” she said.

“So I sat down for six weeks printing off everything I could find on registration of design and I put it all together myself. It saved me £15,000.”

Next Codilia pitched her product, now called C-Lash, against 36 other companies in front of a panel of Dragon’s Den-style judges at The Business Show in London. She came first, winning the Innovator of the Show award.

As a result, she got a partnership with a brand called Eylure, with whom she spent the next couple of years working on making sure the product was safe for people who were immuno-compromised.

Eylure C-Lash false eyelashes on sale in Walgreens USA
Eylure C-Lash false eyelashes on sale in Walgreens in America

C-Lash was finally launched at the beginning of 2019, some four years after Codilia had first come up with the idea. The lashes are now sold in Boots, and Walgreens in the USA, grossing just under £500k in the first trading year.

In the final quarter of 2020, they started being sold in Australia and are now available across Scandinavia too. Her lashes are recommended in hospitals and in cancer treatment centres and the brand is now worth around £1.2 million gross worldwide.

“I could never have imagined it would have gone the way it has,” she said. “I’d never run a company in my life, I didn’t know what I was doing.”

C-Lash wins Allure magazine's Best Beauty Breakthrough award for 2020
C-Lash wins Allure magazine’s Best of Beauty Breakthrough award for 2020

She added: “My business adviser was Google. I did everything backwards. It doesn’t make sense that a girl like me who was always bottom of the class, who grew up on a farm in Zimbabwe, managed to do as much as I have.

“I’d always been at the bottom of my class. I never knew why I couldn’t get things when I was able to retain information. From the age of eight, I’d decided I wanted to be a lawyer after watching an Australian series on TV. When I came to England in 2004, at the age of 26, I was diagnosed as dyslexic but it didn’t stop me.”

Codilia says that if she could go back, she would have handled her diagnosis differently with her children.

Source: Agencies