So as you all know I love to support local and started a segment where we could share, learn and inspire! It is so important to support local and share your findings with others.

During lock down, we are going to do a whole lot of these to highlight these businesses – many of which are taking HUGE strain during this time – and shed some awareness and love to all.

I am so excited to share this divine local business with you. Popstrukt is a purely online business that sells the most beautifully designed flatpack furniture and accessory items that will look perfect in any home. Their items are created with functionality and affordability in mind and their pieces come in a range of colours to suit you and your style. Think home storage units (tv cabinets, chests of drawers, bedside cabinets etc) and homeware and accessories, all easy to assemble. And if you sign up to their newsletter, you get 10% off your first order!

Based in South Africa, this is an awesome business to support and follow. We chatted to Popstrukt founder, Adriaan Louw and found his feedback very inspiring and helpful. There is golden feedback below, on systems to use as well as Adriaan offering to assist entrepreneurs as a sounding board to chat through their ideas which is incredibly kind!

Please check out their website for all products and pricing, and give their Facebook and Instagram pages a follow to be kept up to date on new products launches and promotions.

Let’s see what Adriaan had to say!

 You opened your own business  –  How does it feel to be a successful business owner that inspires others and loves what they do?

Popstrukt is almost three years old and although time has flown by and the brand has has undergone a lot of sculpting, to me it still very much feels like a business that is in its infancy as opposed to a an established or ‘successful’ business. But I’m very grateful to be able to make my living this way and I would not exchange the lessons I’ve learnt over the past few years for anything. If our business is able to inspire more entrepreneurs in South Africa to start out it would be the cherry on top for us.

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What are the top 3 learnings you have had to find out the hard way since starting your own business?

A. Never have a zero day: I started Popstrukt while still working full time and there would be days or weeks where sales were slow and moral low, but doing something, even if it means just changing a sentence on your website, keeps the light on and your business moving forward. Always invest in your business in the quiet moments.

B. A healthy business is worth more than a big business: Forget about the large numbers and overnight success stories of other businesses. Instead focus on building a sustainable, profitable and healthy small business, the rest will come in good time. I really wish I understood this from the start.

C. Stay on top of your finances: Positive cashflow and up to date financial information is the lifeblood of any business, learn to like it or at least learn the basics. If you don’t understand something ask an expert for advice. I make use of Google sheets and Xero Accounting to keep track of our finances on a daily basis.

Where do you see your business in 5 years? Once we have gotten over the effects of the lock down.

In 5 years time we see Popstrukt as an established, highly accessible furniture brand offering versatile furniture storage solutions of great value and design. It would be a bonus if the Popstrukt brand is available outside of South Africa at that stage.

What is your advice to individuals out there wanting to start their own businesses but are too scared?

Share your idea with as many people as possible! I took our initial business plan to a long list of business people, CA’s and friends that I trusted. I was honest and got honest feedback in return. Each time I met with someone I took their feedback and adapted Popstrukt’s business plan accordingly. This resulted in us needing only a quarter of the proposed starting budget and generated far more sound business model in general.

If you are too afraid to share your idea for fear of it being stolen or copied consider this piece of advice from a university lecturer of mine back in the day. He used to say; “Is your idea so good that someone else is going to stop everything they are doing, leave their job and secure salary behind with the hopes of maybe successfully building your dream?”.

Therefor; refine, refine, refine, even post start-up your ideas may change and that is good. Start-ups are not linear in nature, it’s a rocky road consisting of prototyping, testing and adventure. Just dig in and start.

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Tell us 2 things that are the BEST part about owning your own business and make it all worth while?

A. Fixing and designing things. I’m a designer at heart (Industrial Designer by trade), and owning a business is all about designing your business; its products, its systems, its offerings and services as well as solving multiple problems, big or small on a daily basis. I really enjoy this immersive nature of entrepreneurship.

B. Freedom. We (Myself and our staff) have the freedom to work remotely, on our own terms. We’ve built Popstrukt in such a way that the business is always on, meaning most of the business can be accessed by someone, from anywhere at anytime, albeit the online store for a customer or inventory management for our sales team. This allows me to actively monitor the business at a glance while being able to ‘steal’ moments away for myself and my family.

How has lock down affected you and your team?

Naturally we expected a massive sales decline, especially initially, and this was the case but as an entrepreneur you rarely get the chance to truly step away from your business and I feel that the lockdown afforded us the opportunity to come up for some air and keep Popstrukt at an arms length for a while. The initial sales decline was obviously out of our control so instead we decided to invest our extra time at home with our families.

The total stop in operations (dispatch, manufacturing, etc) also afforded me the opportunity to scrutinise our current business model and reset our trajectory going forward. The lockdown naturally also means cutting expenses which is always a good exercise for any business.

Through the initial ‘hard’ lockdown we continued to monitor Popstrukt on a daily basis and our sales were actually far better than expected during the initial 5 weeks of lockdown.

Post ‘hard lockdown’ we all returned with fresh ideas and we have certainly hit the ground running. We’ve been very fortunate to see exceptional growth in our business since May which has certainly been a welcome relief.

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A few of the business tools I can recommend and that we use on a daily basis:

– Shopify (If you want to setup an online store, I can’t recomend them highly enough)

– Google Business (As a backend for your business, it’s cheap, versatile and reliable)

– Xero (For cloud based accounting)

– TradeGecko (For inventory management)

– A good accountant that understands your industry and business model (up to date, honest numbers tell you if your on the right track or not).

Lastly, if any aspiring entrepreneur needs a sound board or questions I’m more than happy to help and offer advise where I’m able to, they can contact me at adriaan@popstrukt.com.

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