Lets get the… feel good.. aww that’s soo cool.. he’s sooo lucky kinda stuff out of the way..
THE “NICE” SOCIAL MEDIA STORY is as follows…
The business idea was initiated when I tried to sell off excess stock of hammocks (that I designed and produced in my spare time whilst working in the family business) to a furniture store. The store had no interest in the hammocks, but inquired if I could make upholstered headboards as there was a demand for it. The business referred a customer to me and she wanted to see the pics of the work I had done, which at the time was only the hammocks.
Having no experience in upholstery I watched “how to” videos on YouTube teaching me the basic skills. Using an incentive bonus of R1500 that I was paid from my full-time job as an assistant buyer at Edcon, I bought manual tools and raw materials and made my first headboard on my lounge floor of my rented apartment. I then posted the image on Gumtree and it got sold after a few days. I left the advert on Gumtree and I started getting enquiries which lead to sales.
Often sleeping 2-3 hours a day was taking its toll on me, I knew I had to choose between my corporate job and the small business. My concerns at the time, was that it was just making some extra cash which was not nearly covering my household expenses. I knew If I focused my attention fully on it, it could possibly work.
I had done research and looked at how many people were searching for “headboard”, “headboards” etc. on google in South Africa. I looked at the assortment and range that was available in stores. I spoke to the customers who bought from me and asked why they purchased from me instead of purchasing from a store. Having achieved a National Diploma in entrepreneurship and small business management as well as BTech in business administration and the experience I had gained by working in the family business as well as in Edcon, I felt there was a chance of success however little it was but I needed to take it. I had to take the leap of faith.
After 5 months of selling the first headboard, I resigned from my corporate job.
Some of the highlights thus far:
- Being asked to speak at the Google small business conference based on the website I designed on the free google website builder platform because I could not afford to pay for a website when I started the business.
- Being selected as young entrepreneur and having a trip to Germany sponsored to gain work experience and mentorship in a custom furniture factory.
- Because of our story of how the business was started, I was national prize winner for advertising to the value of R400 000 from Trudon, Mother company of Yellow Pages
- Being selected to do an Entrepreneurship course at the Richard Branson centre of entrepreneurship
- Our business being featured in the Sunday Independent as well as other smaller newspapers and magazines
- The most recent highlight was a visit and confirmation of order by the President of our country himself.
This is the type of “story” one would find in an entrepreneurship magazine that would read by aspiring young entrepreneurs (like I once did) or people stuck in corporate clinging to a dream of one day being free of their shackles.
Getting to this part of the journey was fraught with challenges .. many obstacles, some boulders!!!!!
Bleeding fingers.. little sleep a night.. over coming crippling fear.. having Dyslexia.. failure (ways of how NOT to do things 😊)
These are the experiences I would like to share…😊