Name: Thobile Malinga
Business: Thobs Creations
Location: Pretoria, South Africa
Industry: Apparel & Accessories
Reason for starting? I started this business because I have passion for fashion and have entrepreneurial drive. I didn’t want to wake up in the morning and go work for an organization or a company but rather for myself. It’s mostly men who are designing fashion, so I wish some women who are passionate about fashion would starting looking at this in a different perspective. Even though sometimes there are challenges that I face — like delayed payments, cancellation of orders, and sometimes I receive lots of orders — it becomes a challenge since I’m working alone. So I work hard to meet the deadlines. Sometime I don’t sleep at all, just up designing the whole night.
How do you define success? By helping other people who think that they cannot make it, fear taking chances, and those who think you need lots of money to start your own business. Satisfying my clients is also success for me. When my clients are happy then it makes me happy.
Biggest success: My biggest success to date is having been part of couple of fashion shows and showcasing my designs, which I never thought would ever happen. This is my biggest success for now.
What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? Marketing. So far I market my business on social media and through friends, so I decided to market with fashion shows as well. Personnel and management are another challenge; managing that kind of a business that needs so much of your attention is a challenge for because I’m working alone. I have to make sure that I meet my clients deadlines. Finance and cost management: Sometimes clients pas only half of the amount or don’t pay at all until they receive their designs. It’s difficult sometimes because the materials are expensive, and I have to use money from my own pocket to cover them.
Who is your most important role model? My mother is my role model, she made something from nothing. I don’t even know how she does it. She’s not employed and my father is on pension but still runs her own business. She started from scratch, buying building material to build her business, and it’s a big building now that she’s running. And she’s doing it herself without any help from anyone. She encourages her friends not to depend on their husbands. They need to wake up and build their own empire. She is very strong and intelligent.
Edited by The Story Exchange