Unearthing the beautiful in things that others discard is a real creative gift, and one that entrepreneur Tsholofelo Tshetlo, founder of Afrophik, has in large quantities. Her unique eye for possibilities and detail has resulted in some of the most inventive ‘must-have’ accessories and decor items on the market.
What does your company do?
We manufacture upcycled handbags, using various types of leather incorporated with woven outdated retail shop catalogue papers.
What inspired you to start your company?
I am a creative person naturally and reusing the same items for different purposes comes by default to me.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
My products are 80% handmade, unique to the eye and user, as well as environmentally friendly.
Tell us a little about your team
I am currently working alone with a goal of training and getting more females on board.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
I have always known I was meant to run a business and be an involved leader. I kept meditating on this feeling on my way to and from work until one moment in 2013, I realized my tendency to keep the packaging of what I bought, down to the bread clip, was because I "believed" they could serve some purpose. I started to focus on this tendency and played around with ideas. I started making decorative items using anything that was at my disposal. I remember towards the end of 2014, I was looking at my previous art work and I was focusing on this paper bowl, then it clicked! Can I make a bag using paper? I taught myself how to make a handbag using my old handbags as a benchmark, then started to add in my art work, and I have been playing around with various designs ever since.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
I would love to acquire working space and machinery at Garankuwa industrial area, train and employ at least four females full-time, with first preference given to unemployed youths from Garankuwa by mid 2018, and to supply international up-market retail shops by the end of 2019.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Remaining motivated and believing in my work during really tough times when people and circumstances around me are saying give up.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Believe in yourself, believe in your work, focus on where you want to see your business, no matter the challenges.
Source: Lionesses of Africa