I’ve always been inquisitive, creative and business-minded. I started my first company in 2017 called Lele’s Picnics that paved the way for bohemian picnic-style events. The business became bigger than I had anticipated, and I had to take a permanent break from it after I struggled to meet the demand.
The birth of S’Africa Lamp Designs was me finding a creative way to make art practical and more appreciated, while making a business out of it. I am also spiritually gifted – everything about the brand is about highlighting how proud I am of my forefathers.
Our audience ranges from anyone who just loves decorating and styling their home and space with bright colours, to those who want to embrace their culture through modern contemporary art. In addition, our lamps are for those interested in collecting and learning about African culture – its textiles and people.
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Our designs are inspired by the beautiful and diverse cultures found in Southern Africa and the rest of Africa. Our lamps are modern contemporary art that is unique and practical. We use different African textiles and fabrics to create lamps – ankara, wax, linen and polycotton.
The business is self-funded. I reinvested my savings into resources to help me start and run the business. Getting funding has not been easy to access but I strive to continue with my vision and execution of my brand regardless.
Our lampshades start from R250 and lamp sets range from R450–R5 000 depending on the design. We also custom-make our products to the client’s design requests and budget.
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My biggest highlight was launching the business on 9 November 2019. It was surreal and fulfilling. The publicity the business received through radio and online interviews has given me the confidence to continue believing in my brand.
Introducing a unique product, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge.
The biggest business mistake I’ve made was with my events company that, unfortunately, closed down two years ago. I was overwhelmed by the demand. I failed to meet the clients’ expectations because I hadn’t researched the cost of running a business properly. I have learnt to put in the work and research the industry I am in. Some lessons are learnt along the way, but an entrepreneur should never be caught by surprise. Our strength should be adapting to change and unexpected events that happen around us.
I’d advise aspiring entrepreneurs to do research. Make sure you know your brand and represent it well. Invest in the image of your business and the quality of your product or services. The rest will work itself out. Lastly, keep believing in yourself.