Lerato Makhisa, a trailblazer from Mangauag
 
 
 
 
 

Lerato Makhisa, a trailblazer from Mangauag

Sep 21, 2021

Tell us about how you got started.

I’m going to try hard to summarize how I started and also how I came about the name “Ribbons Collection” well I registered a business few years ago while I was still an employee and years went by and I would sell clothes, shoes and accessories, while I was still working, fast forward, I started a business in beauty. I opened a hair and beauty salon that was very popular in Bloemfontein, and I used to call it Ribbons Hair and beauty salon until 2018 when I decided to close it down because it was not doing well and I was also going through personal dilemmas and wanted to shift focus and deal with my personal issues so that’s when I decided to let go of the business. And a year later I wanted to get back on my feet, so I started a business of selling hair, clothes, shoes and other accessories and it picked up well until last year 2020 when I had to take a pause because of closed boarders due to COVID restrictions and it was lock down.

I did not even panic because for some reason I knew something must give and trust me it did. I was introduced to guys who manufacture and supply shoes for the biggest companies in SA and he offered me a biggest opportunity to start my own manufacturing business without a cent, yes it’s true that a person can start their business without a cent, depending on their business model. This how Ribbons Collection started, and I decided to rather not scatter my efforts anymore in buying merchandise abroad because of the restrictions we had to face and not only that but the time frame that I would wait until I receive orders for customers. So, I had to give all my focus and energy in making my own shoes from scratch and selling them online! So right now, we are just an online store that manufacture it’s shoe right in SA!

What makes your company unique?

What really makes the business unique is the quality/durability/handmade genuine leather shoes we make, the strong relationship we have with all our customers and offering the best possible service. We go beyond addressing our prospective customers needs and desires. With us you get to tell us how you want us to make your shoe, we walk the journey with you and ensuring you get your unique custom-made shoes! You give you value for your money.
 

No business is without setbacks, can you tell us about a time when you faced a significant setback and how you recovered from it?

You’re right, there is no business without setback and roadblocks they play such a huge role in the entrepreneurial journey. The time I had a major setback was when I had hired the wrong people, you can have the best idea but if you don’t have the right people in your team then you’re a toast. And CAPITAL you want to grow your business, but you have so little capital to do with it.

 

How do you define success and to what do you attribute your success?

Success to me, is when I’m able to do what I love-The day I discovered my passion and purpose in life. Also being inspired by entrepreneurs who followed their dreams, left well paying jobs and started business centering around their own idea to break the

What's next for your business, what will it look like in 5 years?

Lol exciting question! Can I rather not share yet? Let me work on my next move once I have finalized it I promise to revert back! But I promise you we are going to expand the business. How will the business look in 5 years? We have vision 2021 where we want to empower and transfer skill to women and young people, we need more cobblers and shoes designers, our aim is to train and equip such skills to young people so that they start their own shoe line or even open their own businesses. From there onwards we will be working on occupying a shoe plant in Free State.

 

What do you think the future holds for Africa-focused entrepreneurs and advice do you have for entrepreneurs who are just starting out?

Ruva the future in Africa!!! It’s amazing how the number of newly registered business has increased in 2020/21 it shows that Africa is alive and buzzing with entrepreneurs. My advice to new entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs is – focus on setting and achieving incremental goals. Be persistent and have faith in your work.

 

Owning a business while balancing a personal life can be challenging; how do you take care of yourself?

9. Sis Ruva please tell me about it. Running a business while you’re a single mother and trying to balance your personal life is not easy but throughout the years, I have learned to manage my time. Even though I had to sacrifice few things. If it doesn’t benefit my personal growth or business, then I don’t do it.br />

What is your favorite quote or mantra?  What keeps you going?

My fav mantra is – Crawl, walk then run mantra reason being I have seen small start up wanting to run/fly right away. What keeps me going is an endless list of things but to mention a few it must be My daughter; I can never ever get over how cute she is and watching her grow a just one of the biggest blessings. My business – I love and I’m passionate about my work. My mother – she has always been my number cheerleader. God – without God I wouldn’t be where I am today, I am nothing without God. “Your purpose in life is to be YOU.

 

What is your favorite app or a business tool that you can't live without

10. For social networks It must be LinkedIn, WhatsApp and Facebook and phone app it’s Udemy for business and website where I download books to read.