Women’s Month Series – Tamburai Chirume
This month I thought I’d do something a little different on the SMITH blog – I’d like to celebrate the amazing women who have helped and shaped me along my creative journey.
Each woman I feature has touched my life in some way, have businesses of their own and have helped me with my business – and all subscribe to the ‘community over competition’ motto.
First up is Tamburai Chirume of ONEOFEACH – a bag and lifestyle business. Technically this should be a two woman interview as Tamburai business partner is her mother Pauline, but to be honest, I know Tamburai best so I’ve asked her to a few questions about her entrepreneurial journey:
What has been your biggest challenge in starting your own business?
The beginning was very easy as I had come from many failed ventures before so I was thick skinned and found starting up (while in a full time banking job) very easy due to the drive and motivation of wanting to take this on full time. The challenge has been actually placing myself in the business as I was so used to working on the business and not really in the business full-time, it took a while to adjust.
What is your one piece of advice for small business owners?
Relationship building and recognising people who have helped you along the way is very vital. It is also very small world so it is important to have a good reputation in your industry. People prefer working with nice people.
Can you explain to us a little bit about your creative process? How does the thought behind a new collection begin and how does it grow?
My mum takes care of the creative process and all the designing as we are a mother and daughter team. I focus on working on the business and understanding the needs of our customers as well as working on these relationships which is what I enjoy. This is imperative for the success of a creative business as often the creative individual is not much of a business person and finds joy in creating as both roles of creating and working on the business take a lot of energy but yet needed.
How do you feel being a female in South Africa and more specifically, a female business owner in South Africa?
I think it is a very interesting dynamic. Let’s just say being a black female business owner in Cape Town in specific is challenging. There are many challenges one faces but this would be an entire interview on it’s own. It is pretty much “the elephant in the room” as most people do not realise the fact that Cape Town is still very much segregated.
I know you also spend a lot of time helping other business owners in their companies, can you tell us more about that?
Over the years I have found myself consulting informally and giving creative people business advise for so long, I have therefore recently partnered with the US Consulate of Cape Town as one of their Alumni to launch a program entitled The Business of Creative Entrepreneurship which focusses on helping early stage creative women entrepreneurs to become profitable and sustainable businesses.
What are you most proud of in your business?
I have recently co-authored two textbooks which will be used by high school learners within the African continent for the next 10 years, without ONEOFEACH I do not believe this would have happened.
Which strong females have a major influence in your life or work?
My mom and other real women in my circle. Real meaning real talk, honesty, discussing life challenges openly without judgement.
When do you feel the best version of yourself?
I feel the best version of myself when I am assisting creatives to become business people.
What do you think the world needs more of?