1. Can you please tell us more about your business?
A. Sama Oeuvre Brand Communications is a conferencing and brand communications company that was founded in 2018. Our services include conferencing services, brand management, personal branding and communication skills training. In the short time, we have been operational; we have had the privilege of working with some of South Africa’s greatest minds.
2. When, how and why did you start your business?
A. I started my business in 2018 with the vision of changing brand perceptions and providing platforms for African businesses to tell their stories, as this is something that I am really passionate about. My goal is to change the African narrative.
3. What is your role in the business?
A. My role in the business is that of Brand Strategist. My core function is helping clients to build their brands and helping them to be able to compete at par with global companies in their different industries. I also work on strategies around the different conferences/events that we manage for clients.
4. Where did you study and what did you study?
A. I hold an honours degree in English and Communication from Midlands State University (in Zimbabwe) and a post-graduate diploma in Intercultural Communication from Stellenbosch University.
5. How did you finance your business?
A. When I came up with the idea of building my own business, I saved up for a whole year before leaving my job. It was tough because I had to give up some luxuries to ensure that when I left work I had enough money to operate the business and to also sustain myself until the business started generating income.
6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.
A. My day is different, based on what I am working on. I am in the office most of the time; however, there are days when I need to meet with clients outside the office. Some of my days are spent in Johannesburg, as I am based in Cape Town, and the bulk of my clients are based in Johannesburg. When we have big events, the day can get rather hectic and is spent running around to make sure that we have everything that we need to make that particular event a success.
7. How do you balance your home life and your work life?
A. I try my best to get most of my work done during working hours so that I can enjoy a relaxed dinner and some family time in the evening. However, if there is a tight deadline I will work extra hours to ensure that the deadline is met. I also value my leave, so if I feel burnt out, I will take leave and recuperate. I do believe that it is important for our general well-being to have a good work-life balance.
8. What drives you and inspires you?
A. I draw inspiration from different people and different things around me. One person that inspires me is my 3-year-old daughter who is such a fire-cracker and always willing to try out new things. It’s like there is no ceiling for her. So watching her helps me realise that we should never limit ourselves and that our potential is never-ending. I am driven by the need to get the world to hear our African stories. We are always side-tracked and not many people believe in Africa’s potential. I want everyone to know that we have such brilliant minds that are doing phenomenal things on this continent.
9. Where and when do you have your best ideas?
A. My best ideas always come to me when I am showering in the morning. I guess this is the time of day when my brain is most alert, as most of my strategies are developed during my morning shower session.
10. Where and how do you market/advertise your business for sales leads?
A. I attend a lot of networking events. I have met so many business contacts at these events, which have eventually turned into paying clients. Other marketing channels that the business uses include social media marketing and digital marketing which help us tap into potential clients that are not in close proximity to us.
11. What is next for your business?
A. Sama Oeuvre would like to explore bigger conferences than the ones that we have done in the past, as we feel that we now have the expertise to handle mega conferences. We look forward to all the partnerships that we will forge this year and hopefully, they will take us one step closer to being the preferred conference organiser for business events that seek to tell Africa’s story.
12. What advice would you give to female entrepreneurs hoping to start their own business?
A. My advice to female entrepreneurs is to dream big; dream very big. There is nothing that stops you from achieving those dreams. Do not despair if things do not seem to make sense when you start out. Be prepared to put in the hard work and also know that the entrepreneurial journey is not at all glamorous. There will be tough times, but you will get through them and make your business a success if you stay focused on the bigger picture.
Sibonginkosi Mlalazi is the Founder and a Brand Strategist at Sama Oeuvre Brand Communications. With over 12 years working experience in the Public Relations, Communications, Marketing, and Advertising industry, she has gained valuable insights and knowledge which have helped her excel and advance in her career. Sibonginkosi holds an Honours Degree in English and Communication and a Post Graduate Diploma in Intercultural Communication. Her passion lies in influencing brand perceptions.
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