#WIB- Q&A With Lolo Ntshiqa Founder of Curated Fashion

Lolo Ntshiqa Founder of Curated Fashion
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1. Can you please tell us more about your business?

A. Curated Fashion is an e-commerce marketplace. What this means is that we have sellers and buyers on our platform. Our main activity on the platform is thrifting, which is the selling and buying of previously owned clothing and accessories. All of our business is handled online, meaning that sellers are able to open shops where ever they might live in South Africa; and buyers are able to purchase products where ever they are based in the country.

2. When, how and why did you start your business?

A. I knew I wanted to become an entrepreneur in my 3rd year of University. I got a friend to help me build an online magazine and I used to blog about construction news and updates in the industry. I was convinced I was going into the construction industry because I had seen my father in it as a child, and so the entrepreneurial pursuit began. After about 6 months of great content but no revenue (and no viability), I decided I’d jump on the wave of e-commerce and have a marketplace where building material manufacturers would sell material to contractors. I thought this was it; I finally found my calling [laughs].

So I got a developer to build this marketplace for me, and it took almost a year for me to own it. It wasn’t because the developers took a year to build it – I had no financial income to pay it off. I personally believe that this was a blessing because, within the year, I had a change of heart. I realized I wasn’t really interested in construction after all, and how could I endure the tough times of a business my heart wasn’t invested in?

So after a period of spiritual seeking, the idea of Curated Fashion came to me. It felt right, and most importantly, it was an idea I was willing to fight for. I have loved dressing up, and styling myself, ever since I can remember. Clothes for me are liberating, in the sense that, they continue the conversation of who I am and what I stand for. So it is a treat for me to run a business that I can have fun with and not be so serious!

3. What is your role in the business?

A. When you run a start-up business, you don’t get to have a specific role – you do everything! So I can be the graphic designer, the strategist, the social media manager, the sales representative, and the accountant, all in one day.

4. Where did you study and what did you study?

A. I completed my primary and secondary schooling at Crawford Lonehill. Thereafter, I went to the University of Cape Town to complete my undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Social Science in International Relations & Sociology. Upon completion of my first degree, I wanted to get right into entrepreneurship, however, it was my father who insisted that I pursue my honors degree. I decided to complete it back home in Johannesburg, at Vega School. Vega turned out to be a huge blessing for me, it exposed me to the world of branding and marketing in a way that a textbook could not. At the end of 2017, I was an Honours graduate with a BA (Hons) Strategic Brand Communication.

5. How did you finance your business?

A. Family played a big role in how I was able to finance the development of my website, without having to find an investor or seek funding. My father contributed some, and I also worked for my aunt, helping her with all her company tasks for almost a year.

6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.

A. I wake up at 06:30 switch off my alarm and set another one for 07:00. I am at my computer by 08:00 and I put on the hats of graphic designer, social media manager, and sales representative. I am privileged to be able to work from home, so my time is flexible. One constant thing is exercise in the afternoon, and listening to a meditative audio/video just to unwind and reflect on my day.

7. How do you balance your home life and your work life?

A. Right now, neither of the two are too demanding on me, so my work-life flows with my home life seamlessly. Check with me in 2 years, I might have a different answer [laughs].

8. What drives you and inspires you?

A. I am inspired by change and doing whatever it takes to be a part of the solution and not the problems that are holding us back as a society from realizing true change, which liberates. I don’t like complaining, and equally, I get frustrated with people who complain and insist on taking a passive approach towards their lives. I know that all things are possible, and I just want to experience that and live in that reality of possibilities.

9. Where and when do you have your best ideas?

A. My best ideas usually come at night when I am alone in my bedroom and everything around me is silent (even my own mind).

10. Where and how do you market/advertise your business for sales leads?

A. My marketing is all done online because we are an online business. We have company pages on most social media platforms. So far, we are using our social media to get the word about us out there and drive traffic to our website.

11. What is next for your business?

A. Next for us is solidifying who we are in the minds of our customers. It’s to encourage young people to consider “thrifting” as a cool, economical, and environmentally friendly alternative way of shopping.

12. What advice would you give to female entrepreneurs hoping to start their own business?

A. You need to know why you’re in that specific business, and your “why” needs to be abstract enough, so that there is an incentive for you to transform yourself into the person that is needed to actually run that type of business. No one enters entrepreneurship, and stays as the same person they were before they began. The process is transformative, and your survival in the business world, or your probability to endure the gut-wrenching moments, rests in your “why”.

Curated Fashion is an e-commerce marketplace geared towards the young people of South Africa.

Contact Info:

Email: lolon@curatedfashion.co.za

Website: www.curatedfashion.co.za

WhatsApp Business: +27 81 591 1677