Allow me to introduce these 5 young boss entrepreneurs who are taking the fashion and beauty business by storm, on their own terms.
Bonolo Helen Chepape
When Bonolo, 25, moved into a new flat, she struggled to find home accessories that are not only modern but also pay homage to her heritage as an African woman. This is what inspired the freelance graphic designer to start Lulasclan — an interior decor and design studio.
Bonolo designs and manufactures personalised scatter cushions that are a celebration of African women wearing beads and headwraps. She says the name of her brand represents two different styles coming together or different people forming a clan. “My goal is to create a range that will eventually include furniture and fashion while also employing young people.”
Nomacala, 25, balances her time between working full-time and running her online wig store Phe-Nomamee-Nal Wigs. A tweet she shared in November last year advertising her wig business got over 1.3k retweets and over 800 likes.
She makes custom made afro-textured wigs on order, and says she was inspired to start the business by young African woman on a journey of self discovery. For her hair seemed like the most authentic way to express that journey. Her biggest business goal is to have thousands of women walking around embracing their afros, kinks and curls. “My business spans beyond sales,” says Nomacala.
Nanani is a musician and handbag maker from the Eastern Cape. She says she moved to Joburg to pursue music but her journey was not easy and she had to make a living with her second love, design. The self-taught fashion designer makes bags using different fabrics as well as African prints. Her brand, Dela Nan Fashion, has allowed her to not only employ people with disabilities but also teach them to sew and do bead work. Her designing business now also helps fund her music career.
Gorata- “The Black Dot” Dimbungu
Gorata is a 24-year-old makeup artist, fashion designer, image consultant and Maboneng fashion shop owner from Gaborone in Botswana. She makes African printed clothes and beaded jewellery that she sells in her store. Her store is a hub that also showcases other designers who cannot afford to run their own stores. She also gives tutorials and workshops on how to do makeup. Her business has been running for almost five years. She says that she understands that image is everything to most millennials and that it helps boost an individual’s confidence. Her job is to make you look your best from “face-beat” to a killer-outfit.
Sheni, 25, is a textile designer. She studied fashion, textile design and printmaking at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California. After obtaining her degree, she decided to freelance, which eventually led to her starting her own business, Sheni Moshabesha Textile and Designer. She creates prints and surface designs manually and digitally. She is interested in silk-screen printing using pigment, as well as techniques such as burnout, discharge, pigment discharge, and heat transfer. This creative also creates digital files. Sheni’s biggest business goal is to open a print studio.