BizBuzz Magazine Cover Feature

Kumari Govender | Female Entrepreneur | BizBuzz Magazine

I am so incredibly honoured to grace the cover and share my entrepreneurial journey alongside other inspirational women including the Renewal Institute’s Dr Maureen Allen, in the latest BizBuzz magazine ♡

Have a look at the full interview published here

What business do you run?

My fashion-related businesses complement each other and are very much interconnected.

I founded StyleSociety® on the Pop-Up Retail concept back in 2010, curating a unique shopping experience for consumers. StyleSociety® Pop Up Boutique enabled a targeted experience between brands and consumers, empowering brands to bridge the gap between online and offline worlds.

I launched Haute Edit my curated online retail space in 2016. Haute Edit celebrates my appreciation for art, love for travel, passion for craftsmanship, respect for heritage and eye for design.

HAUTEEDIT.COM features a unique curation of ethically sourced, stylish fashion and interior treasures from all around the world handpicked by me. I value the rarity, authenticity, tradition and heritage of each craft, curating only ethically sourced quality products of unique and unsurpassed beauty.

The Style Concierge is a membership only, ‘style on a dial’ subscription service that offers an array of style-related services to top-tier clients who have been pre-approved by myself and added to my special ‘VIP List’.

Also, I host Style Soirées bringing ultra-exclusive, invite-only, boutique-style shopping events specially catered for my VIP shoppers and an annual event which is open to the public.

Why did you start your own business?

Passion drove me to make the bold transition into the world of fashion. These profound words by Patañjali sum it up beautifully.

“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bounds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.” – Patañjali

What are the hours that you work?

I’m hands-on involved in my businesses, and I personally oversee every aspect of my events. From research to design, curation to production – the whole creative process can be quite consuming. Depending on what I’m currently working on – every day is different.

How many people work in your business?

My virtual assistant and I seem to handle the load with ease. I firmly believe that the hallmark of any entrepreneur is their ability to wear multiple hats. I also prefer to outsource as much as possible. And, my business supports a global community of around 30 artisans and craftsmen.

What are the goals for your business?

My goal is to give back. I am passionate about supporting community-driven projects that work to reduce poverty and support literacy. My StyleSociety Literacy Program (previously Fashion for Literacy) was inspired by Mandela’s 67 minutes. I took my 67 minutes and turned them into 67 pairs of school shoes. Since then the 67 pairs of shoes have diversified into school uniforms, school bags, tuition fees, books and supplies. The feedback I’ve received has only reaffirmed my commitment to working towards creating literacy-rich classrooms.

For me, education goes beyond a means of income. It is the foundation and the discernment to do right, choice after choice, day after day, in a world that desperately needs more empathy and more understanding.

My goal is to expand The StyleSociety Literacy Program to all of South Africa, providing 67 children in need with basic educational supplies, tuition fees and resources to help achieve their full potential.

How do you handle pressure?

Practising mindfulness has contributed a considerable positive change in my life. It is so difficult to stay present in a world full of distractions and ever-growing to-do lists, but when you make that initial commitment to change, you are bound to see results.

How would a man run your business differently?

I tend to lead with my heart. So I’ll say ‘less heart and more head’.

Would you ever go and work for a boss again?

I enjoy the flexibility that comes with being my own boss so I doubt that I would.

Do you ever take work home with you?

Yes. I have a home office, so finding the right balance between my online and offline life has been a debilitating challenge for me.

What do you do to relax?

I enjoy disconnecting from tech to enjoy soulful moments with family and friends. I love entertaining or curling up on the couch with my pugs and a good book.

What would you like to know more about to run your business better?

Millennials are more mindful of social responsibilities so companies would have to keep up to remain relevant. Fortunately, the cornerstone of my business philosophy is slow design, so I am always on the lookout for ways to re-invent my brands and make my businesses more sustainable.

If you had to start again what would you do better knowing what you know now?

I would start educating my clients much sooner about the importance of supporting slow, sustainable design.

Did you have to borrow money and if yes what route did you follow?

No, However, I had to become creative to generate capital for my events, and over time I managed to create a sustainable source of income.

What satisfaction do you get from running your own business?

I love the flexibility that comes with being an entrepreneur and that I get to challenge my creativity daily. This isn’t a ‘job’ it’s my passion.

My greatest satisfaction is knowing that my business supports small communities of artisans and women in craft from all over the world, where the demand for heritage craft and age-old techniques are waning.

What makes your business successful?

My authenticity has been fundamental to my entrepreneurial success. It is challenging to stand out in a crowded marketplace. Branding is a powerful currency especially now as we’ve moved into a digital era, so building brand equity is crucial.

Both StyleSociety and Haute Edit have been created from a profoundly instinctual space, and both are genuinely reflective of my unique aesthetic. My clients immediately identify and resonate with this. Retaining integrity and remaining authentic to my brand soul and story has worked well for me.

What form of marketing do you use?

I have always preferred unprecedented marketing, moving beyond traditional to achieve the right balance of innovation and return on investment. I have established my signature style when it comes to marketing and brand placement through my work with many start-ups connected to fashion’s fast-paced industry.

I pioneered and introduced the pop-up retail concept in South Africa back in 2010. Since then the various iterations of this prominent event have garnered tremendous media attention. I have curated stimulating experiences for my readers and brand awareness for StyleSociety and Haute Edit.

To this effect I have also hosted private invite-only style soirees, glitzy online parties, flagged off exciting style hunts and co-ordinated fashion flash mobs; all as part of my ‘bigger, bolder and better’ marketing policy.

I have grown Haute Edit – my curated online retail space, purely by word of mouth, to a highly significant niche audience.

What is your favourite mantra when things get tough to help you through difficult times?

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”

This quote by Napoleon Hill carries so much truth and has made me appreciate that my experiences and difficulties have both contributed significantly to my personal growth.

Kumari Govender BizBuzz Magazine



Cover Story

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{Cover Image by Jenny Claudwell}