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 discovered this absolutely divine brand on social media and knew I just had to share. WeAllShareRoots is a brand that produces the most gorgeous handbags and now, masks too! They use beautiful African prints that bring me so much joy – the colours and patterns are just so uniquely African and special.
We chatted to the lovely Elise and this is what she had to say to us!
Tell us a little bit about your business.
WeAllShareRoots sells and produces ethically-made handbags, in partnership with small organizations in townships and family-owned SMEs in Cape Town, since 2016.
Our bags contribute to positive change, sustainable development, and poverty alleviation.
We are also the first brand in Africa to use Piñatex® (a vegan natural leather alternative), providing unique and trendy fashion pieces made from natural, sustainably-sourced, cruelty free material.
We are passionate about practicing slow fashion – each and every one of our bags is numbered and fully traceable back to its maker and we actively participate in disadvantaged communities where our seamstresses are based.
Our brand is about a journey – of hope, of upliftment and celebration of the spirit that makes South Africa such a hub of Africoolness.
What are the top 3 learnings you have had to find out the hard way since starting your own business?
Building a business from scratch requires one to deal with a lot of different elements, from finding the right suppliers to becoming an Instagram expert or dealing with sales, export and a lot of admin… and even set up your own IT! Sometimes it is a balancing exercise where you need to learn most of the required skills on the go. When you are used to occupying a specific job within a business and have a precise task or role to do, becoming multifaceted is quite challenging but so interesting and rewarding at the same time!
Entrepreneurship is also a roller-coaster of emotions. Some days the world seems to fall apart as you face a production issue, a negative answer from a shop you dreamed to be in and your computer gives you trouble all at the same time. You feel like giving up… and the day after, it is the contrary, you sign a big contract you didn’t expect, one of your client sends you super sweet feedback and you discover that your brand is being mentioned in a magazine! You learn to step back and never jump too quickly to make decisions (mainly after a negative experience).
When you start, you feel like everyone is more advanced, experienced, connected, informed or whatever than you. But actually I was surprised to realize that lots of my peers are going through the same doubt, same obstacles, same questions. It is important to not be intimidated and just be yourself, as a beginner or learning entrepreneur.
Where do you see your business in 5 years? Once we have gotten over the effects of the lock down.
I must confess that it is a bit difficult to make any projections right now, with Covid, it is impossible now to forecast, to plan and to make any strategic and reliable moves. In any case, I dream about more sustainability in all its meanings : better sourced materials, eco-conscious lines (right now we have ranges made of offcuts, but I’m sure we can go further) and last but not least sustainable incomes for everyone involved in our project. I would like our seamstresses to be able to have steady earnings and move out of the vicious cycle of poverty.
What is your advice to individuals out there wanting to start their own businesses but are too scared?
Creating a business seems like a huge mountain to climb. Take it step by step and one day you’ll be surprised to see the path you already have walked!