Having an eye and flair for fashion, combined with an interest in proactively supporting women designers from around the world, led South African entrepreneur Faith Phoshoko to start her own online fashion retail business, The Flair Collection.
What does your company do?
Flair Collection offers a range of timeless fashion produced by women with a flair for creativity for women with a unique flair for style. Our range truly gives women a unique way to express their personality through fashion. We are for women who embrace and celebrate their beauty everyday. We are an online store that was established in January 2016 and currently hold pieces from designers from various countries around the world, including South Africa. We intentionally seek out designs by women because we want to celebrate women throughout our value chain. The business is still in its infancy but the love we have received from our existing base of customers has been amazing and to us signifies something good that we are doing.
What inspired you to start your company?
I've had the privilege of traveling to many countries around the world over the years and in all my travels, I would always seek out those hidden boutiques that people hardly ever walk into. This is where I discovered most of the gems that I've cherished to this day and have guarded with everything I have. It's not because they were the most expensive but because they were so rare and unique that each time I wear them, I remember why I picked them out in the first place. This is exactly what Flair Collection wants to achieve - we want to give women not just clothes to wear, but pieces that will carry a sentimental value for years to come. We are not about following trends. We are about defining and expressing every women's unique sense of style. I still travel around the world and I still get inspired each time I do my usual shopping excursions.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
There's a great deal of personal touch that I bring to my business. As the owner, I have personally tried on every design that I will eventually add to our range. If it doesn't make me feel like a goddess, then that design will not be added to our range and if it makes me feel like a goddess, chances are, you will love it too. If you love unique pieces that make you feel great as a woman, then you'll love Flair Collection.
Tell us a little about your team
As a new business, my family and friends are my (unofficial) team! My husband is as good as my business partner and even though he has a demanding job, he still invests a lot of time into this business. My kids, nephews and nieces are my cheerleaders - they give a stamp of approval on new designs that I may be trying out. My sisters and my brothers are my pillars of strength and are who I reach out to when the going gets tough. My friends are my clients, my marketing team and some are even investors in the business.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
This might be a shock but I have actually never had any real ambitions of becoming an entrepreneur! I've always had my eyes set on climbing the corporate ladder in the largest organisations until I had nowhere else to climb. One of my best friends reminds me today that I used to tell her how frightening I used to find the idea of starting my own business. Leaving a comfortable life with a decent paycheck was not something I was willing to do. To put it simply, I'd say my passion for fashion is what kicked me out of my so-called 'comfortable life'! I couldn't imagine going through life not having explored this passion beyond just being a buyer of fashion. I wanted to share my love for fashion with many women around the world and Flair Collection became my starting point. Now that I've started, I'm reminded of why I'd be frightened at the idea and thought of starting out on my own - it's quite nerve-wrecking but I love how fulfilling it is. It's a feeling I cannot describe without sounding weird. All I can say is I'm glad I finally took the plunge!
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
My immediate plans are to find young, talented female designers that I can partner with. Women with a flair for creativity who can create pieces that are unique and worthy of celebration. Beyond this, I would love to see Flair Collection cross borders. On a bigger scale, I really would love to see African fashion gain momentum and I'd love to be among the women who will drive this movement. We need to make the world stop and look at African fashion with a fresh eye and I want to meet women who want to be part of this mission.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
At the very basic level, I am fulfilled seeing the women who have purchased items from me wear them with great pride and flair. They send me pictures and it brings tears to my eyes. On a higher level, my biggest satisfaction is knowing that I am well on my way to living my purpose. There's something very reassuring in this statement (which I picked up from the internet): The things that excite us are not random. They are connected to your purpose. Follow them.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Whatever sets your soul on fire, go for it and go with all of your being! Hesitating will only make you sad. Trying will be gratifying, win or lose.
Source: Lionesses of Africa