1. Can you please tell us more about your business?
The name of my company is “CreativeswithThabi” we focus on manufacturing beautiful handmade home interior decoration products. We make mirrors out of pampas grass and wooden beads, we make handmade scented candles and we supply our products to retail clients across South Africa. We also conduct training for women who want to venture into the same line of business, where we transfer skills and supply all the information and tools required for them to start their own businesses.
2. When, how and why did you start your business?
I studied Interior Design at Design School Southern Africa in 2015 then I have been in the DIY space since then. I have always been passionate about working with my hands, so I would do home improvements for family and friends when I was still new in the industry. In 2018 I decided to formally register a company then I made nice wall décor which friends loved, I went around Johannesburg markets on Sundays to sell my products and I got a positive reaction from customers, then I decided to take it to the next step.
3. What is your role in the business?
I am the founder and director, I basically take the credit when my team does very well 😊. I decide on the direction and future of the business, how we can position ourselves to secure other retail clients, how to make a bigger impact in the training space within South African communities and how we can find partners to help us achieve those goals. I conduct workshops monthly with the help of my assistant.
4. Where did you study and what did you study?
I studied Interior Design at Design School Southern Africa in 2015.
5. How did you finance your business?
Securing retail clients like Lemonade chain stores has really helped to purchase more stock with the proceeds. Since the stores are located inside malls, they have more customers purchasing my products, it allowed me to continue buying materials at a growing pace.
6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.
Sending out emails to show the world our company portfolio and company profile hoping to secure a meeting. Making bookings for the next training, getting in touch with suppliers as we are always looking for the best products for our customers, marketing the business on the socials, responding to leads, running ads, taking orders from different platforms, purchasing materials etc.
7. How do you balance your home life and your work life?
I have an automated response on my business phone when I get a message after hours. It helps to manage the client’s expectations that we will only respond when we are back online. Sometimes clients call us during bedtime stories and I don’t want to miss out on why the crocodile was upset with the duck because children need time and attention so I try my best not to allow business to take over their time.
8. What drives you and inspires you?
The concept of being in-charge of our time before retirement is what drives me. I believe the ultimate success is having time, money, wealth and family all in my control. As soon as time is controlled by a different factor, it affects all the other pillars of potential success.
9. Where and when do you have your best ideas?
In the morning when I wake up, I pray, then I go and meditate, at that time, the house is quiet because I wake up before all of them. I have 45 minutes quite time and fresh morning breeze, and that’s the best time for me to get ideas.
10. Where and how do you market/advertise your business for sales leads?
I run social media ads on Instagram and Facebook. I post my work on WhatsApp. I have previously had the luck of securing a community radio station interview where I had a chance to market my business. I also attend markets on Sundays around Johannesburg with my children to go sell, that also gives me an opportunity to talk to potential customers about my business.
11. What is next for your business?
Online classes. I have a big client base in Durban, Nelspruit and Cape Town who want to attend my training sessions. I am planning to teach them online in 2024, so I’m still working on finalizing the recording and content. I would also like to secure other retail clients to supply them with our products, so I’m working very hard towards that.
12. What advice would you give to female entrepreneurs hoping to start their own business?
You are the only one who feels your passion and understands your vision no matter how hard you try to explain it to someone else. Don’t seek validation from loved ones, family, or the world. Your passion is enough to keep you going, it’s the only tool you need. If you happen to have other tools like support structure, it is good for you, but always remember that the key and mandatary tool is your passion and it’s enough. The absence of others is not a big deal, forward is where you are going.