AHDORA MBELU-DANIA: PASSION IS GREAT, BUT PURPOSE IS BETTER

Ahdora Mbelu-Dania is currently a Director at Trellis Group (@trellisgroupco). Trellis group is a group of companies in the brand development and experiential marketing space that has worked on several projects across various industries, with brands such as Microsoft, Google, Sterling Bank, Union Bank, Lagos State Government, Nokia, Diageo, Absolut.

Ahdora has a passion for innovation and a belief in the power of creativity to achieve extraordinary business results. She moved to Nigeria in 2008 and found that there were so many young Nigerians in the creative sector that were unable to harness their creativity and build sustainable brand/business structures – Trellis group bridges this gap.

In 2017, Adaora was mentioned in Entrepreneur Magazine’s “11 Africans that are changing the business landscape in Africa.”

She was also nominated in the “Entrepreneur Of The Year” and “Prize For Media Enterprise” Categories of the Future Awards Africa. She has been featured among Nigeria’s Under 40 CEO’s, and Top 30 Under 30.

Ahdora talks about finding passion, purpose, and creativity.

 How did your family background and rich cultural heritage prepare you for the success you experience today?

My family background provided a diversity of thought. My parents are from different racial and cultural backgrounds, and this provided an opportunity for me to understand diversity very early in life.

Hence, I keep a very open mind, and this allows me to forge relationships with people without bias for their backgrounds.

You seem to value creative thinking above traditional practice, has this always worked for you?

I actually value both creative thinking and traditional practice. I think both ideologies have their place in my life’s journey. The important thing is that I know how and when to apply either one to produce positive results.

Many people view creativity as rebellion and going against the norm. But I believe that everyone is born with some level of creativity, and thus there’s nothing to really rebel against.

We just need to harness this creativity to solve problems and produce great work. I try to stay away from the tag of “Creative” vs “Non-creative”.

At the very core, what is your company – Trellis all about?

As the name implies, Trellis is about providing a structure/framework that supports people to get their greatest work out to the world.

Trellis Group was created from the need to solve and bring light to the existing challenges faced in the African creative sector. We are a creative consultancy made up of a group of companies in the sectors of Brand development (Gr8an), Experiential Marketing (A2Creative) Talent Management, and Community Development (Socially Africa).

You definitely fit the idea of a superwoman. Do you face challenges as a creative strategist?

Being superwoman definitely comes with various challenges – even the superheroes in the movies have to fight people, and even their own emotional struggles.

I have my fair share of challenges, especially as I not only work on the client side but also manage operations.

I am continuously dealing with solving people’s problems, and that sometimes means fully immersing myself in understanding the problem first, before I try to solve.

How do you identify ideas that are competent and sustainable and those that are not?

There two things I usually consider when I’m presented with an idea. Does it solve an existing problem And can it progress without the creator? I think the best ideas are the ones that can grow without the person who developed the idea.

The world has got this entrepreneurship game all wrong. From my perspective, it isn’t about founders, as much as it is about solutions.

It isn’t about who did it, but rather that it was done. This is why as much as I respect investor pitches and all that good stuff, I also know that Purpose will always trump what everyone else thinks.

What do you look out for in ideas/projects that come to your agency for actualization?

With the projects we work on, we choose our clients as much as they choose us. Many times we focus on the people behind the projects.

We have been through the start-up phase where we’ve worked with people and projects that we didn’t necessarily have a heart for because it was profitable. However, we are now at a stage where we measure value very differently.

These days, we choose peace of mind over financial gain. I know it’s a bold statement to make, but it’s factual. I’m not as concerned about quantity, as I am about quality. Hence, a lot of our business is either return business or by referral.

How have you been able to juggle your demanding career and your role as a mother altogether?

I am still learning to juggle it all. I don’t have a perfect response to this question, especially because I really don’t believe strongly in “work-life” balance. At least, I don’t believe that it must be 50/50, and thus I don’t put pressure on myself or feel that I am falling short in my responsibilities.

I take each day at a time, and give as much as I possibly can, per time, with the understanding that to whom much is given, much is expected.

I mean, my family and friends believe that I am an amazing mother, and I know I am. However, I have read mommy blogs that just make me look like child’s play. But I have learned to abandon comparison, and just enjoy my mommy moments – they are mine.

Your dress style is fiercely distinct and bold. How come you decided to stick with the classy suit and tie look?

This wasn’t a conscious decision.  My father was a banker, and he wore a suit every day throughout my childhood.

He’s a very stylish man, and I remember him having socks that match every one of his ties. I think it seeped into my subconscious.

It’s really just comfortable for me. I wear a suit (no tie) or Kaftan for professional outings. However, on my dress down days (which are very often now), you’ll find me in a T-shirt, Jeans, and a Hat.

We know Ahdora as a woman with many hobbies, one of which is horse riding. We’d love to hear all about it?

The Lagos city grind is intense, and horse riding is my way of tuning out from the hustle and bustle to relax my mind. For the few hours that I’m on a horse, I do not check on my phone or emails. It allows me to breathe, and while I’m riding, I often get clarity on some ideas or projects.

It is also a way of spending time with my Husband – we both get on our horses and ride off.

What do you say to young creative people who want to turn their passion into reality?

Passion is great, but the purpose is better. There’s a misconception that Purpose is about our “Why” alone. But the purpose isn’t just about “Why are we doing this”.

It is also about “Who will benefit”. When you understand that this journey is really about the solution, you’ll express yourself more confidently.

Be open to collaboration – if you don’t care about who gets the credit, you are more likely to do many amazing things. Finally, be Patient – Time is a great storyteller.

How have you been able to deal with multiple business ventures including your social projects in Socially Africa?

Socially Africa is a full embodiment of who I am. In fact, I run the for-profit side of my business, as a way to fund Socially Africa.

In the past 2 years, we have accomplished so much with the organization, with initiatives and projects funded primarily by Trellis, with support from friends and family donations.

With all the platforms that I deal with, there is an underlying philosophy that runs through them. So, as much as it sometimes seems as though I am doing too much, it’s actually one big circle with a thread of purpose running through it.

Recently you launched your first single, tell us about your singing career.

I don’t know if I can call it a singing career. I’ve always written poetry, and been a fan of conscious music – I’m intrigued at how the lyrics and intensity of a song can consciously influence people.

On a spiritual side, I’ve always likened myself to Joseph the Dreamer, as we share similar qualities and journeys.

Last year, I started reading closely about David’s transition from Shepherd boy to King, and how he wrote love songs to God through what we now know as the Psalms.

It’s very powerful. I ran away from music for a long time because I was worried about what my clients would think, and how people would perceive Lumina (The Rapper) versus Adaora (The Creative Industrialist).

Self-awareness is a beautiful thing  I’m now high up on Maslows Heirarchy of needs. I’ve hit Self Actualization, so I’m out here swag surfing as a “Rapper-preneur”. (I should copyright this tag).

Purpose is something you emphasize on. How did you discover your purpose?

I have always been interested in helping people become the best versions of themselves, and get their greatest work out to the world. I was always told that people were using me as a stepping stone and then abandoning ship once they were elevated.

At some point, it bothered me and it was very frustrating until I realized that it was a gift. Many people are searching for purpose, without realizing that it’s staring them in the face, but they’re too afraid to accept what it is. They think it’s too glaring, and they want it to be tough to find.

My purpose is simple, I am a Bright Light, and I shine on other people. Simple.

Your hair looks moisturized and beautiful always! What’s the secret?

The secret is…. wait for it… Water! I get this question a lot, but really I think my hair texture is as a result of my mixed heritage. I don’t have any regimen or specific preference for products.

However, I am sure that my hair would grow better if I considered product – I just don’t know how, and yes, I’ve watched YouTube tutorials.

By FAVOUR ONUKOGU

Source: She Leads Africa

BRUNCH+ BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER

The last Brunch+ was the start of new and great things, the aim is to give our guests a totally different experience using music,food and drink. here is how it works; after booking your ticket there are simple steps to follow…

Our Menus

the variety of menu items on our menus are complemented by the cocktails designed with the food in mind. Food and drinks goes well together, always. Thanks to GreyGoose and Martini Prosecco as our brands of choice at last month’s Brunch+. Their cocktails are easy to make while you are at home enjoying your chilled weekends.

Transitioning from summer to autumn our deserts are mouthwatering, simple and easy to make chocolate pancakes. Not forgetting bottomless Greygoose cocktails on the day.
So, save the date for the next Brunch +  to be held on Sunday, 24 June 2018 at SSHydePark.

One last thing

follow us on Instagram: @MANGERmanje
FaceBook: MANGERmanje
Twitter:       MANGERmanje

Tickets Available: http://qkt.io/brunchplusjhb

Bathu is the new sneaker brand on SA celebs feet

JOHANNESBURG – Entrepreneur Theo Baloyi says he wants to tell a proudly South African township story through his successful sneaker brand Bathu.
 
Bathu, which means a shoe in township lingo, was established in 2015 and has already gained a huge following from the country’s celebrities, trendy business leaders and the ordinary folk.
 
Baloyi, 28, from Phake near Hammanskraal is the founder and chief executive of Bathu. An accountant by profession, he says their sneakers are unique because of their attractive mesh edition design, which blows air into the wearer’s feet. 
 
The sole and rubber of the sneakers has striking bright colours resembling the happy socks trend.
Theo Baloyi says he wants to tell a proudly South African township story through his successful sneaker brand Bathu. Image: Itumeleng English.
Baloyi says this was deliberate because when they launched the brand on September 6, 2016 with 400 pairs, the season was spring.
 
The sneakers come in various colours including navy blue, grey, pink and light blue, and are priced from R900 up to R1200.
 
“Four hours after launching the brand, our website crashed because of traffic.People were curious about what this brand and what it represents,” says Baloyi, who holds an honours degree in accounting sciences from Unisa.
 
They then partnered with an alcohol brand to manufacture 1000 more pairs, and a further 1600 pairs of the limited edition sneakers available in white.
 
“Three months ago we offloaded a 14-ton truck and we moved to a bigger warehouse with more security and insurance,” he says, adding that last week they placed an order for 10 000 pairs.
Theo Baloyi says he wants to tell a proudly South African township story through his successful sneaker brand Bathu. Image: Itumeleng English.
The company delivers across South Africa and in neighbouring countries including Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia.
 
Baloyi says the celebrities who wear the Bathu brand are not their ambassadors but appreciates their support.
 
“A lot of celebrities love our brand because our story resonates with them so well. They take pride in our story, hence they wear the brand with pride wherever they go. Our brand speaks to the heart,” he says, in between taking calls on his cellphone, attending to client queries. 
 
Celebrities who wear the Bathu brand include Somizi Mhlongo, a reality TV star, choreographer and Idols judge, and his young fiance Mohale Motaung, and multi-millionaire forex trader Andile Mayisela, among many others.
 
Baloyi says he worked for auditing PwC for five years: two years in South Africa and three years in the Middle East, in Dubai and Saudi Arabia.
 
He resigned from the company in January this year to give Bathu his undivided attention.
 
The entrepreneurial bug hit him at the second year of his studies in Unisa, when he started selling door to door in Alexandra township.
 
“I have always had the love for selling and for business and identifying gaps in the market and fulfilling them,” he says.
 
During his travels to the Middle East when he worked as an accountant for PwC, he used to buy himself a lot of sneakers.
 
“They were limited editions and were not available in South Africa, my friends loved them so much.” 
Theo Baloyi says he wants to tell a proudly South African township story through his successful sneaker brand Bathu. Image: Itumeleng English.
He then identified a gap in the sneaker business but elected against importing the sneakers into the country.
 
“I remember this other time when I was going back to Saudi Arabia, I had a 7-hour layover in Dubai. I started a conversation with a guy who owned a retail store at the airport. The brand he was selling at the store resonated with the French,” he recalls.
 
Baloyi says he started asking himself hard questions about what Africans were doing to tell their story in the same way the French entrepreneur was doing.
 
“That’s how I conceptualised the Bathu brand. I worked in the concept for 18 months, doing research development, speaking to factories and being declined 15 times and so on,” he remembers.
 
However, his persistence paid off with 100 pairs manufactured during the proof of concept period.
 
Baloyi is clear about one thing: “We don’t want to be a fashion brand. We want to be a shoe retail brand.” 
 
He says they want to grow their brand as if it were a South African version of shoe companies Aldo or Spitz.
 
“If Spitz can come here and build their brand, why can’t Bathu go to Italy and build a brand that Italians could say is proudly South Africa,” says Baloyi, adding: “Africans it’s our time, let’s build our continent.” 

Source: IOL

Durban filmmakers, get your funding here

DURBAN – The Durban Film Office funding programme will be offering financial support to two Durban film projects worth R250 000 each.

The eThekwini Municipality Durban Film Office’s Development Fund aims to support intermediate and experienced producers based in Durban who need to develop feature fiction or documentary for both local and international markets.
The other programme, the Micro-Budget film programme aims to support local upcoming filmmakers and boost the production of local content in order to encourage the local film industry.
The Micro-Budget film programme offers R150 000 for the production of a feature-length film. The programme is aimed at emerging filmmakers with fiction feature projects and it runs for 12 months with the intent of producing four micro-budget films.
Aspiring filmmakers who are interested in the programme can still apply for the programme. Applications close on June 29th but there are criteria that have to be met in order for you to be eligible for this programme.
This is the criteria:
Development Fund Programme Micro-budget Film Programme
The project mist be capable of being developed
as a feature length film
The project must be capable of being developed
as a feature-length film
The fictional film must be minimum of 90 minutes
or the documentary must be a minimum of 60
minutes.
The fictional film must be minimum of 90 minutes
or the documentary must be a minimum of 60
minutes.
At least 50% of the key creative team must fall
within
the definition of historically disadvantaged individuals
as defined in the South African constitution.
At least 50% of the key creative team must fall within
the definition of historically disadvantaged individuals
as defined in the South African constitution.
CV/company profile which shows that you have experience
as a writer, director, or producer.
Principal photography must be located within the
eThekwini Municipality.
A producer with at least one completed comparative project A project that with a minimum total production budget
of R150 000.
Applicants may submit only one project per funding
cycle.
Previous grant awardees must wait two cycles
before applying for new development funds
For more information contact the Durban Film Office.
Source: IOL

ZuluGal Retro makes fashionable bags using recycled materials

DURBAN – Nozipho Zulu, is the creator of ZuluGal Retro a company that makes up-cycled handbags and fashion accessories.

The products from this Durban based business are made by unemployed differently-abled youth and their caregivers. According to Zulu, the people use their skills to produce handcrafted handbags and generate an income from the sales of the bags.
Zulu spoke about the business being a social enterprise. She said, “This social enterprise was founded with the belief that the arts and craft industry has a potential to significantly contribute towards economic empowerment and the improvement of socio-economic well being of disadvantaged groups.”
Her range if products include purses, handbags, backpacks and lampshades. The materials that are used to make her bags are upcycled and recycled laminated food packaging like packaging from potato chips, chocolates and sweet wrappers.
A ZuluGal Retro handbag. Photo: Facebook
Zulu who is a Fine Artist by profession, said that she was driven by the belief that the arts and crafts industry has the ability to significantly contribute towards the economic empowerment and the improvement of the socio-economic well being of disadvantaged groups.
ZuluGal Retro has received funding from the National Arts Council of South Africa and the Mandela Washington Fellowship social impact grants.
They are also a part of the RedBull Amphiko Academy which has allowed them to reach bigger marketing platforms like exhibitions and tradeshows of outside of KZN.
On her future plans, Zulu said that she wants to have a bigger impact through their projects and services to benefit more unemployed different-abled youth and their caregivers beyond this province.
A ZuluGal Retro handbag. Photo: Facebook

Source: IOL

The jewellery boss who turned $500 into a $1bn business

Low on cash, a heavily pregnant Kendra Scott knew she had to come up with a way of making more money.

On bed rest at home in Austin, Texas, awaiting the birth of her first child, she started designing jewellery in her and her first husband’s spare bedroom.

This was back in 2002, when the then 28-year-old Ms Scott had just $500 (£370) of savings with which to try to get her business up and running.

After her son was born, she decided that they would go out together to try to sell the earrings and other items.

“Once I had created my first collection, I strapped my infant son in a baby carrier and placed my jewellery samples in a tea box,” says Ms Scott, now 44.

“Then we went door-to-door to Austin boutiques, selling my pieces. I sold out in the first day. From there, I had a business.”

Kendra Scott would go out selling her jewellery with her son strapped to her chest

Today Ms Scott’s eponymous company Kendra Scott is valued at more than $1bn, and her personal wealth is estimated at $500m.

In Forbes magazine’s 2017 list of the richest self-made women in the US, she was in 36th place, above the likes of singers Taylor Swift and Beyonce.

Born and raised in the midwestern US state of Wisconsin, Ms Scott went to university in Texas, but a year later dropped out, and ended up living in Austin, Texas’ capital city.

She then set up and ran a business for two years, making comfortable hats for women going through chemotherapy. The inspiration came from her late stepfather’s battle with cancer, and she donated a portion of the profits to local hospitals.

The idea for the jewellery start-up came after she said she realised there was a large gap in the market – most jewellery was either very expensive or really cheap, with little in the middle.

So her plan was to try to produce quality gemstone pieces that she – and other women – would like to wear, at a more affordable price.

“Every woman, no matter where she stands economically, wants to feel confident and beautiful,” she says.

The company opened its first store in 2010

Initially just selling wholesale – supplying other shops rather than opening any outlets of her own – Kendra Scott grew slowly but steadily.

Ms Scott says she was bolstered by hiring good people, who helped her to grow the Austin-based business despite some challenges in her personal life – her first marriage ended following the birth of her second child.

“I focused on building a team of talented people to help me grow the business, and seven of my original employees – all women – are still with me today,” she says.

It was in 2010 that the company made the switch to retail, opening its first branch in Austin. Ms Scott says it was a pivotal moment for the business, and she was determined that her jewellery stores would be different from the norm.

“Jewellery stores are known for being intimidating and formal, with velvet ropes and closed cases,” Ms Scott says. “I wanted to create an experience that was warm, interactive, and most of all fun.”

As a result, customers at Kendra Scott stores are encouraged to pick up and try on the jewellery. Shoppers can also design their own pieces in-store, by mixing and matching different gem stones with different earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings.

Kendra Scott says she noticed a gap in the jewellery market for high quality, affordable pieces

Today the business has 80 retail stores across the US, and a website that ships globally. In addition, its jewellery is stocked overseas by the likes of Selfridges in London.

The company has about 2,000 workers, 96% of whom are women. And while it is now backed by investment companies, Ms Scott remains the majority owner.

“Kendra is like a unicorn in our industry,” says Karen Giberson, president of the Accessories Council, a trade body that represents fashion accessory brands. “She defies trends. If you look at it, you are left thinking why is this brand on fire when others are struggling?”

Ms Giberson says that a key reason behind Kendra’s success is that the designer is “the real deal” – she was a young mother who worked very hard to get where she is.

“On top of all that, she is really nice, and that trickles down in the company, into the stories that foster a sense of community which customers enjoy,” says Ms Giberson. “It’s the shadow of the leader.”

In terms of her actual jewellery, Ms Scott has succeeded in offering customers exactly what they want, and at the right price, says Ken Downing, fashion director at department store group Neiman Marcus.

“What Kendra has done well is offer jewellery with a personal sense, and a strong look, at a price the customer can feel good about,” he says.

Ms Giberson adds that customers are also impressed by all the charity work done by the company.

Most of the company's workforce - 96% of staff - are female

Last year the company donated $5m in cash, and thousands of pieces of jewellery, to a number of charities, primarily for women and children.

One example of the company’s philanthropy is its Kendra Cares Program, whereby patients in children’s hospitals can make Kendra Scott jewellery – for free – for themselves, or a parent or other care giver.

Kendra Scott staff also committed more than 2,000 hours of volunteer work, and its stores across the US hosted more than 10,000 fundraising events.

Ms Scott says that the company is committed to continue to do all this charity work because she established the business on three core pillars – “family, fashion and philanthropy”, which “guide everything we do”.

To meet the “family” pillar the company offers generous parental leave for both full and part-time employees, adoption and infertility financial assistance, and a fund that supports families in times of crisis. Staff can also take babies and small children to work with them.

“While jewellery and fashion may seem like a superficial industry, I see it much more importantly as an opportunity to do good in our communities,” says Ms Scott, who is married with three children.

Source: BBC

How To Start A Clothing Business

Content in this guide

  1. Create a blueprint for your business
  2. Name your clothing line and company
  3. Register the business
  4. Basic design skills
  5. Production Plan
  6. Manufacturing
  7. Get the pricing right
  8. How to find a clothing manufacturer
  9. Networking is a valuable tool
  10. Market your line
  11. Online marketing
  12. Workshops and training

The South African fashion industry has the talent to develop original products with inspirational style and creative detail to compete very well with popular international brands. However, designers too often fail to deliver through lack of basic planning and business acumen,” says Amanda du Plessis.

Du Plessis launched the retail consultancy Evolution 4 years ago to help top South African brands to realise their potential. A doyenne in the industry, she started her career as a buyer at Truworths, developing in-house ladies wear and accessories ranges.

She joined Stuttafords as a brand manager where she developed three private label ranges – Define, Excursion and Oaktree – and managed six local and international brands. She left Stuttafords to head up retail development at Polo before starting her own consultancy.

Create a blueprint for your business

Blueprint advice

There are a number of business matters that must be in place before you can start a clothing line.

  • No matter what kind of business you start, you must have a business plan.
  • In the plan, you must consider all the costs and include your goals. Once you have done this, everything else will fall into place.
  • Start small. Many business ventures begin small; then grow with time, lots of hard work and patience.

Name your clothing line and company

Naming your business for success

Think of a creative and catchy name that represents you and the product. Once you have worked out a name, you must protect your label by registering the name.

Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) in Pretoria is responsible for the registration of companies, trademarks and patents. Contact them to register your brand name and logo. Protect the brand name under trademark law as well, but don’t forget to do a trademark search before you register it.

Register the business

Have you registered your business yet?

Set up a business entity by registering the business as a Close Corporation or a Private Company and get all of the necessary licenses and tax registrations that are required by the South African Revenue Services (SARS).

Basic design skills

If you want to start a clothing line, you should have some design skills such as sketching, sewing, pattern making and textile knowledge.

The Design Process

Before you start a clothing line, you need to understand the design process as a whole. Research current trends to predict what styles, colours, and fabrics will be popular

  • Conceptualise an idea
  • Sketch preliminary designs
  • Select fabrics

“To have a successful business, you need to have items that are more accessible to a greater audience both price and style-wise. This does not mean that you need to create pieces for the mass market. Instead you need to consider a range of pieces and prices within your collections,” explains du Plessis.

Production Plan

Formulate your production plan — that’s going to do what, how much it is going to cost, what needs to be produced. You’ll need to create a sample, or have a sample created for you.

You can then use this sample to get orders. Take the sample to fashion shows, trade shows, retailers, craft shows, etc.

Manufacturing

Clothes manufacturing and production in South Africa

Providing that you have your designs and range set out on paper, that patterns have been cut and fabrics sourced, the next step is to manufacture a range of professional samples.

“In South Africa it is difficult to find a reliable CTM (Clothing and Textile Manufacturer) willing to make a small range. You could employ seamstresses to make the clothing on your premises until you can no longer cope with demand, or better still create a group of seamstresses that work for a few designers and pay them for finished product instead of paying a daily rate.”

“This way you will know your actual cost and your labour component will be more productive. Once your units gets closer to 100/200 units you could approach a CTM to manufacture the line,” advises du Plessis. When dealing with a clothing manufacturer, prepare a list to find one that is the right fit. Find out the following:

  • How much will it cost to get what I need?
  • What are the turnaround times?
  • Do you provide samples before finalising production?
  • How soon will I receive the sample?

The textiles, clothing and footwear industry in South Africa is well established, but has been under siege for some years due to the negative impact of cheap imports. The effect of cheap exports is exacerbated by the reduction of import protection; this stems the flow of illegal imports and the effect of the discontinuation of export incentives.

“There are very few mills left in South Africa that produce apparel fabrics, and most of the fabrics are imported thru wholesalers therefore designers will not always have  exclusivity on designs, this however creates an opportunity for designers to create their own look by adding value to basic cloths by printing, embroidery or draping” says du Plessis.

Get the pricing right

Consider everything that goes into making your clothes when deciding on pricing.

  • Fashion material costs (material, cotton, buttons, zips, etc).
  • Salaries for you and any employees.
  • Advertising and marketing costs.
  • Manufacturing costs.
  • Other expenses, like utilities, supplies and equipment.

Make sure that your target market can afford your clothing range.

How to find a clothing manufacturer

How to find a clothing manufacturer

This requires lots of legwork. Start by browsing through the internet. There is a global clothing manufacturer register on clothingregister.com that lists manufactures in South African and around the world.

“Word of mouth is a good way to find a good small manufacturer,” recommends du Plessis. Talk to other designers at fashion shows and industry events and find out who they recommend. It is a good idea when your units become bigger to include a “penalty clause” so that you are protected in the event of a late delivery by the manufacturer. , says du Plessis.

Now you are ready to launch the range

Once the samples are made, you need to contact buyers at stores where you believe your target market would shop. Not only do you show them samples, but you should also show them the different styles, colours and fabric swatches. If they decide to buy, request a written order including the delivery date and payment terms.

Networking is a valuable tool

Never hesitate to network. You never know who you could be discussing your business venture with. It could be a prospective client or even a possible partner.

Market your line

Marketing techniques in South Africa

Spread the word by wearing your own designs and telling anyone who asks you that you made it.

  • Make use of free social networks such as YouTube, MySpace, Facebook and Twitter to raise your clothing line’s visibility.
  • Write press releases and distribute them to newspapers and fashion magazines.
  • You could open your own boutique, but you would have to prove through your business plan that the shop will be profitable. It’s a risky route
  • Sell your line to a retailer; try to set up a plan whereby you sell your clothes through other clothing retailers.
  • You can also take your samples to craft fairs, flea markets, fashion shows and trade shows.

Online marketing

Online sales can be a great addition to your sales plan. Either you can use your own professional website, or you can use online marketplaces such as FashionCircus.net, or LA Showroom on http://www.lashowroom.com/ and for news, events and forums dealing with the South African fashion industry go to ifashion.

Workshops and training

“One of the opportunities for the South African design schools is to address the business side of design and to equip the designers with the correct tools.” says du Plessis.

Many academic intuitions offer Fashion Design courses including Lisof (London International School of Fashion), The University of Pretoria and the Design School of South Africa. Evolution runs regular workshops to help and guide the industry in South Africa. Watch evolution projects for workshop announcements.

Source: Entrepreneur Magazine

Eight Food Trends For 2018

Euromonitor International has released the eight most influential packaged food megatrends for 2018. These megatrends, sharing common drivers, have the power to transform and disrupt entire categories while also providing sustainable growth and relevance for companies that succeed in these new ideas.

Of these eight megatrends, Healthy Living stands out as the biggest relevance for and impact on foods.

Healthy Living: Back to Nature and No to Sugar

The Healthy Living trend can be described in two sub-trends: Back to Nature and Naturally Functional.

The food industry continues to shift its focus from weight management to nutrition and natural wellbeing. The industry has seen a rise in “Back to Nature”, defined as so-called “raw foods” – uncooked / unprocessed without being heated above 48˚C to preserve most of the natural vitamins and minerals.

With sugar becoming the new villain in the obesity debate, savoury snacks and healthy fats and grains have made a comeback.

Meanwhile, the “Naturally Functional” centers around the big trend of gut health, which has links with mental health and performance. The rise in this trend concentrates on 1) fermented food, 2) ancient grains and probiotics, and 3) healthy fats.

Premiumisation: Redefining Indulgence

Indulgence is and will always be a core driver in foods. However, it is changing shape and form, as consumers crave different products for different occasions and in different geographies.

Redefining Indulgence has been changed through ingredients, health, ethics and flavour.

Ethical Living: Plant-based and Origin Foods

Brought by “Generation X”, ethical living is the fastest spreading megatrend in foods, with 30% of consumers reporting that they are shopping local.

There is a new emphasis on plant-based and origin foods that utilise plant protein, insects, food waste, or origin foods and provenance.

Experience More: From Buying to Creating

From Buying to creating, consumers’ emphasis is shifting from possession to experience.

Shopping Reinvented: Alternative Business Models

By 2021, modern grocery (supermarkets and hypermarkets), will account for less than half of the total consumer goods trade.

In food, modern grocery is still very important, but especially in Western markets, alternative business models such as subscription services and online/offline hybrids are showing strong growth.

Shifting Market Frontiers: Global Exoticism

Resulting from rising immigration of the Muslim population across the world, this trend impacts mainly cooking ingredients and meals.

Food trends tend to track migration, so 2018 is likely to see an uptick of Syrian and Middle Eastern-inspired flavours in Western markets. Halal food is another area to watch.

Middle Class Retreat: Affordable Quality

Mainly impacting staple food categories, this trend is becoming more apparent in down-trading and shrinking households.

The number of single-dad families in the US has doubled in the last 20 years. Meanwhile, wealth inequality is worsening, with low-income groups across the world growing at a much faster rate than a decade ago.

Connected Consumers: Food Technology

Becoming increasingly common in Asia Pacific, but also metropolitan cities such as New York, London and Hong Kong, the trend of a non-product proposition is manifesting itself via social platforms, digitally-enabled or enhanced supply chains and distribution practices.

Bringing it all Together – Disruptive Brands

A favourite buzzword for 2018 is disruption. Disruption has prompted multinational companies and legacy brands to acquire start-ups or launch their own innovation labs.

These disruptive brands tend to simultaneously tap into several megatrends and are agile and responsive to consumers’ changing needs; as such, they innovate rapidly.

They might create their own niche category, topple a legacy brand in an existing category, adopt a new technology, or disrupt through a novel marketing or channel strategy.

Source: Food Stuff SA

Healthy African Cuisine – The African Pot

As a health care professional, I can unequivocally announce that I am worried.
I’m worried about the nutrition transition in which many Africans are trading wholesome traditional ingredients for western-inspired foods of poorer nutritional quality.

I am worried about the rise of obesity and diseases of lifestyle such as diabetes and hypertension amongst people of African descent, especially those who lack access to adequate healthcare.

I am worried about the engineers, doctors, lawyers and the rest of the working class lives being lost to complications of chronic disease.

I am worried about our children who if current trends persist will inherit a future of ill-health.

I founded The African Pot Nutrition (TAPN), to teach people how to eat and stay well in a period of extreme development and diseases of lifestyle.

I FOUNDED THE AFRICAN POT NUTRITION (TAPN), TO TEACH PEOPLE HOW TO EAT AND STAY WELL IN A PERIOD OF EXTREME DEVELOPMENT AND DISEASES OF LIFESTYLE.

I value prevention, especially in the absence of reliable health care. I believe in the power of good nutrition and healthy lifestyles for both prevention and management of medical conditions. But, there’s a problem, with all the conflicting diet and lifestyle information circulating in both mainstream and new forms of media, getting healthy can be downright confusing.

As a board certified dietitian nutritionist with a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences from California State University, Los Angeles and a Master’s of Arts in African Area Studies (with an emphasis on Public Health) from the University of California, Los Angeles I have a unique understanding of both the science of improving health through changing diets and lifestyles as well as improving health on the African continent. In addition, to ensure that I provide cutting-edge, evidence based information, I hold a Certificate in Advanced Training for Adult Weight Management from the Commission on Dietetic Registration and am a Certified Diabetes Prevention Coach.

The goal of TAPN is to translate the science of healthy living into bite sized action plans that you can incorporate in your day to day activities. No gimmicks, magic bullets or special gadgets here. Just science driven results.

Source: The African Pot

12 Burning Questions for the Entrepreneur Trying to Get You to Eat Bugs

Whether a crispy cricket on the end of a fork triggers your spirit for adventure or makes you want to gag, there’s no denying that edible insects will soon be part of the food landscape.

Indeed, in a 2013 paper, Edible insects: Future prospects for food and feed security, the United Nations outlined the key issue.

“To meet the food and nutrition challenges of today — there are nearly 1 billion chronically hungry people worldwide — and tomorrow, what we eat and how we produce it needs to be re-evaluated,” the authors wrote. “Inefficiencies need to be rectified and food waste reduced. We need to find new ways of growing food.”

Mohammed Ashour, co-founder and CEO of Aspire.
Image credit: Courtesy of Aspire

To get more insights into this growing trend, Entrepreneur spoke with Mohammed Ashour, co-founder and CEO of Aspire, which operates cricket farms in Texas and Ghana and produces cricket powder, among other products. The company recently acquired Exo, the makers of a cricket-powder protein bar that’s backed by Tim Ferrissand Nas. Collectively, the new company is likely the biggest in the edible insects space.

We quizzed Ashour about why people should eat insects, the technology involved in farming insects and the best insect dish he’s ever had.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

1. Why should we eat crickets and other insects?

You should eat crickets and other insects because they are nutritious, delicious and better for the environment than almost any other source of protein. Most sources of animal protein require dramatically more land, water and energy resources to produce. To put that in perspective, to produce one pound of beef, you need around 5,000 gallons of water, whereas to produce one pound of cricket protein, you need less than 5 gallons of water.

2. How do you convince people to eat insects?

Most people just need to try it once and that’s all it takes. But the challenge is, how do you get people to be willing to try? Part of that has to do with how you present the product. Some people are adventurous and won’t mind eating a cricket that still looks like a cricket. Other people would prefer you to grind crickets into a powder and then add that powder to a product they already enjoy and are familiar with, like bars, chips, protein beverages and other consumer packaged goods.

3. What about the people who are terrified of eating insects? How would you get them on board?

It’s not irrational to have a fear of insects. Insects can be disease vectors, they can destroy crops and in some circumstances they can be directly harmful to human beings. However, we focus on insects that are edible and safe to eat. People can start off by trying familiar products that use insects as an ingredient. Rather than having a bag of whole roasted crickets, perhaps they would be open to trying a peanut-butter chocolate chip protein bar made using cricket protein powder.

4. What are some of the products that feature edible insects?

Under our brand we sell bars that use cricket protein powder, which are high in protein and low in sugar. We also sell granola paleo bites and crispy crickets. There’s other companies that sell chips, pasta using crickets flour and other edibles like beef patties and sausages using insect protein.

5. What kind of technology is involved in farming insects?

We use automated robotic systems that deliver feed and water directly to crickets throughout their entire lives. So instead of a person going around and inserting food and water into every bin — we have thousands of bins in our facility — and calibrating that food and water to the needs of each cricket bin, we have robotic systems that do that automatically and measure exactly the amount of feed and water and record it.

That recording is actually registered in our cloud so that we can keep and compile a massive data archive on how that particular bin has been serviced throughout its life. Because of that we can use theoretically blockchain to keep a ledger of every bin in the entire history of our facility and to know the relationship of the different bins to one another and which crickets ultimately gave rise to which future progeny bins and so on and so forth.

Image credit: Courtesy of Aspire

We have IoT sensors throughout our entire facilities to capture second-by-second data about different parameters like heating, cooling, temperature, humidity, water distribution, air flow, air ventilation, oxygen levels and things of that sort to help us constantly respond and improve the environmental conditions for farming.

6. Why acquire Exo, the cricket-powder protein bar company?

The merger makes a lot of sense if you think about any early stage industry where vertical integration can be essential to improving the product value proposition to the end consumer. Consumers more than ever want to understand where their food is coming from. Who’s farming it? What is the food that their food ate? What things did their food get exposed to? Did you use chemicals, antibiotics, any types of things like that that don’t resonate with these consumer preferences?

There’s a strong need for some type of supply chain transparency. One of the best ways to understand consumers is to actually have a consumer brand. So by being a company that can address the supply chain side and also understand the consumer, we are able to stretch the journey truly from farm to table.

There are some added value benefits like reduced costs, improved customer retention and loyalty because there is an increased level of accountability and transparency.

7. Can you name some famous people who are supportive of the collective company’s mission?

Tim Ferriss was actually an early investor in Exo. John Chambers, the former CEO of Cisco, is a major investor in Aspire. Mark Melancon of the San Francisco Giants was a huge supporter. Nas the rapper was also an investor in Exo. That’s just a handful of folks. It’s also worth noting that there’s a number of celebrities that have come out talking about how they enjoy eating insects. Nicole Kidman, Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie are three that come to mind right away.

8. What are some of the countries that eat the most insects?

In Asia you have places like Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Taiwan and China. In Africa you have Ghana — we have a farm here. Many parts of Africa: Botswana, South Africa, Kenya, Senegal, Togo, Benin, Niger and Nigeria. Most of Latin America, and of course in North America you have Mexico, where insects are prominently consumed.

The common statistic that the United Nations cites is that 80 percent of the world’s countries have a tradition of consuming insects.

9. Why do the world’s wealthy nations need to adapt to eating insects?

There’s a need to adapt to it because of the sheer shift in how we’re producing food around the world and trends like reduced land, water, energy, more urbanization, higher population.

There’s also the fact that if you look at the history of most of our food, almost all began with a very inglorious and tough sell, but ended up at the top of the menu. Lobsters are an excellent case in point, but so is shrimp and sushi. Most people think insects are the food of the poor, but that could not be further from the truth. If you go to countries like Mexico, for example, one kilogram of grasshoppers is actually more expensive than beef, chicken and pork. It’s not actually a food of the poor. It’s a delicacy of the very wealthy.

10. What’s the most creative insect dish you’ve ever had?

In Mexico, I had the most delicious tamale that was made with a base that uses grasshoppers. It was peppered with flakes of cricket. On top of that it was garnished with ant eggs, which is called escamol. It was divine.

11. When do you hope to see a big turning point with edible insects?

A major turning point was in 2013, when the United Nations published a landmark report that put edible insects on the map in most parts of the world in economic and financial circles. In 2015 there were some very significant investments made into this industry and some early-stage companies. There’s a number of major retailers that are soon going to be launching cricket products for the first time.

12. What is on the horizon in the edible insects’ space?

Major retail launches, new product development and tons of growth in food service and other distribution channels (think: sports stadiums, airline snacks, convenience stores). This industry is rapidly approaching a tipping point, and we are excited to be at the forefront of this exciting market transition.

Source: Entrepreneur

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