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.
Social media is a great way to find local brands and I was super excited when I found Rona Jessie! They design and produce the most gorgeous clutch bags and shoppers, made locally here in South Africa. Their bags are made with beautiful fabrics and prints to help you stand out in a crowd.
We chatted to the lovely Jemma and she had this to say to us!
Tell us a little bit about your business.
The inspiration behind the brand goes to someone who has a very special place in my heart, my Gran, Rona Jessie herself. This is a celebration of the beautiful woman she was. Although no longer here in this lifetime she left a long-lasting impact on me and how important it is to express our own individual flair. I’ve always felt passionate about starting my own proudly South African brand, so I have combined the inspiration my Gran gave me with my love of colours, gorgeous prints and handbags to bring something fresh and unique to the South African market. I have a clear vision to encourage all my customers to celebrate their own unique, fabulous sense of style and have fun doing it. Rona Jessie bags are all manufactured in South Africa, supporting our local business is a key area of focus for me.
What are the top 3 learnings you have had to find out the hard way since starting your own business?
Have Patience … alot of it – There is a process that has to be followed which can be challenging when you want to jump ahead and just get your business off the ground, its really important to take it step by step so you can ensure you are offering your customers a complete package and service.
Don’t give up – In the early stages you are still feeling your way around what works best and sometimes it is a case of hit or miss and could be frustrating at times but so worth it in the end when you achieve your end goal.
Time management is key – Life is already busy and demanding, starting your own business requires a lot of focus and sacrifice to grow it. It has been vital for me to ensure I put the necessary focus into growing my brand that is needed whilst ensuring that all my customers needs are met and juggling other areas of my life.
Where do you see your business in 5 years? Once we have gotten over the effects of the lock down.
In 5 years I will have grown my range substantially and branched out into other accessories. I hope to have gone global within 5 years & be a well known South Africa brand successful both in South Africa and overseas. I also want to give back in some way and would like to support a charity or organization, I will do this through sales of my products and give a percentage to the organization, I know this is something my Gran would have appreciated and feels close to my heart.
What is your advice to individuals out there wanting to start their own businesses but are too scared?
Find your PASSION.
Anything you are passionate about will be a success.
If you can feel that pull in your stomach and a belief in what you want to produce/sell or market there is no doubt it will be a massive success. Passion is key, if you believe wholeheartedly in what you are doing then you are ready to spread your wings and fly. Take a leap of faith in yourself.
Tell us 2 things that are the BEST part about owning your own business and make it all worth while?
I absolutely love my brand and what I am offering to the South African market, the feedback from my customers has been incredible and at times overwhelms me to know how happy some of my customers feel when they receive their order. It makes me so happy to know I am offering something unique and exciting to the South African market.
Owning your own business is very empowering and offers a huge sense of freedom and creative license. Seeing your vision come to life is so rewarding and encouraging, your mind will not stop racing with all your new ideas and how you want to grow.
How has lock down affected you and your team?
It came with a few challenges, I couldn’t get stock out to my customers as the factory had to close, I hate letting people down and found that a challenge but luckily all my customers were so understanding and so patient. On the upside, there has been a shift in consumer trends more towards online shopping so we are definitely feeling the benefits from this.