1. Can you please tell us more about your business?
A. I am the founder and blogger at byMaletsatsi – a lifestyle brand born from my passion for celebrating women; from those who know and fearlessly embrace who they, to those who are still exploring and searching for themselves.
2. When, how and why did you start your business?
A. byMaletsatsi was an idea I pursued in July 2014 after years of wanted to start something to keep me in the fashion industry. I wanted something that will be impactful while not giving me the sewing anxiety – the solution became the start of the journey of selling doeks (head wraps). A doek is the simplest item to add to any ensemble but its representation is so powerful. A doek resembles a crown (a global representation of power, royalty, and glory) in this, is the role of every byMaletsatsi doek once it’s worn – to remind the wearer of their greatness. The blog came years after.
Through connecting with the byMaletsatsi tribe (family, friends, and some of my customers) there was a pain-point that steered them away from believing in the “greatness” in them because of personal and women issues – of which I could relate to as well. I then started the blog in 2016 where I spoke about my own struggles and things I celebrate in myself. The posts have inspired and encouraged a level of self-awareness, self-acceptance, and confidence to BE and the doeks then compliment this narrative.
3. What is your role in the business?
A. My role in the business is everything you can think of. I am the CEO, Accountant, Marketer, Salesperson, Social Media Manager, Operations Manager, etc. The business is still quite small and I’m fortunate enough to have to help hands from friends for projects like the annual byMaletsatsi Wrap Party and Picnic or if I’m producing a lookbook for new prints.
4. Where did you study and what did you study?
A. I studied at UJ. I started with Fashion Design in the first year (2009) and moved on to Corporate Communications the following year, where I finished obtaining my BA Degree.
5. How did you finance your business?
A. I started my business with my allowance from my mother. My first range of doeks were headbands and I sold them from as little as R15 to build up more capital to expand. I am now able to stock doeks that fully cover the wearer’s head and the quality material of the materials has also improved.
6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists?
A. Shuuu! I have a 9-5 that keeps me busy during the day and in-between that and after work, I get to focus on client orders, blog and social media content, updating the online shop, and working on an upcoming byMaletsatsi project (series, event, photoshoot). Every workday is just never the same.
7. How do you balance your home life and your work life?
A. My work life is my 9-5 and my home life is my business really (that’s if I’m not taking time out binge-watching Netflix and sleeping). I own an entertainment website called Le’Afrinique and through it, I get to experience the fun side of life. In essence, my businesses let me work and play at the same time.
8. What drives you and inspires you?
A. The byMaletsatsi tribe drives me. They push me to keep doing what I do knowing that I’m helping change lives…even if it’s one doek at a time. I’m inspired by Africa, it’s people, history, and culture.
9. Where and when do you have your best ideas?
A. When I have my music loud in the car driving to work or wherever the destination is. Also, on those other days when I’ve had a glass of my favorite wine, lol.
10. Where and how do you market/advertise your business for sales leads?
A. I usually use Word Of Mouth to market/advertise my business. It works because doeks are such a personal thing – and most of the time my customers need help to tie them. I also use PR and social media a lot – that Corporate Communications degree is being put to good use.
11. What is next for your business?
A. The big dream is to open a physical store which will also be a space for events that I host. I’ve recently started doing tutorials at events and I want to keep that going as well.
12. What advice would you give to female entrepreneurs hoping to start their own business?
A. Start small if you have to, what matters is you taking that action to pursue something you are passionate about. Things like start-up capital are a myth – find ways to build up capital until you have the product you want. Also, throw perfection away, businesses are generally “messy” before you find your groove.