Kumari Govender graces the cover and shares her entrepreneurial journey, as a Fashion Entrepreneur, in the latest entrepreneur magazine
I am incredibly honoured to grace the cover and share my entrepreneurial journey as a Fashion Entrepreneur, alongside other inspirational women entrepreneurs in the latest female entrepreneur magazine. This post was updated to include my full interview with BizzBuzz Magazine for Female Entrepreneurs.
My Journey As A Fashion Entrepreneur
What business do you run?
I am the founder of both StyleSociety and hauteedit.com. Both my businesses are fashion-related and are very much interconnected.
StyleSociety – SA’s Fashion Glossy
StyleSociety is a highly curated lifestyle brand guiding style conversations within the fashion, beauty, travel and lifestyle verticals since 2010. In addition to this, I established StyleSociety Pop Up Boutique back in 2010. My pop-up retail concept focused on creating unique shopping experiences for shoppers. The Pop Up Boutique provided a targeted experience between brands and shoppers, empowering brands to bridge the gap between online and offline worlds.
I launched hauteedit.com, my curated e-commerce artisanal boutique, in 2016. The store features a unique curation of ethically sourced, stylish fashion and interior treasures from around the world, handpicked by me. We place value on the rarity, authenticity, tradition and heritage of each craft, curating ethically sourced quality products of unique and unsurpassed beauty. At Haute Edit, we are hyper-focused on creating experiences by hosting regular invite-only Shopping Soirées for our top tier VIP clients.
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Why did you start your own business?
Passion drove me to make a 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 personally oversee every aspect of my businesses, and I am hands-on involved in the whole creative process, from research to curation and design to production. As a result, 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. In addition, I prefer to outsource as much as possible. Hauteedit.com also supports a global community of around 30 artisans and craftsmen.
What are your goals As a Fashion Entrepreneur?
I am passionate about supporting community-driven projects that work to reduce poverty and support literacy. Mandela’s 67 minutes was the inspiration behind my Fashion For Literacy Campaign. I took my 67 minutes and turned them into 67 pairs of school shoes. After that, the 67 pairs of shoes have diversified into school uniforms and school supplies.
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 Fashion for Literacy to all of South Africa, providing 67 children in need with necessary educational supplies, tuition fees and resources to help them achieve their full potential in life.
How do you handle the pressure?
Practising mindfulness has contributed a considerable positive change in my life. It is challenging 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 would have to 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?
I run a home office. Because of this, 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 profound moments with family and friends. I love entertaining or curling up on the couch next to my pugs with a good book.
What would you like to know more about to run your business better?
Millennials are more mindful of social responsibilities. Due to this, brands would have to keep up to remain relevant. Fortunately, the cornerstone of my Haute Edit business philosophy is slow design. For this reason, I aspire to make my businesses more sustainable.
If you had to start again As A Fashion Entrepreneur, what would you do better knowing what you know now?
I would start educating my StyleSociety readers 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. I had to become creative to generate capital for my events, and I managed to create a sustainable source of income over time.
What satisfaction do you get from Being A Fashion Entrepreneur?
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 is my passion.
My highest satisfaction is knowing that my business supports small communities of artisans and women in craft from all over the world, often 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; therefore, branding is a dominant currency as we transition into a digital era. Thus building brand equity is crucial for every business.
My brands were created from a profoundly instinctual space and 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 prefer modern marketing, moving beyond traditional routes to achieve the right balance of innovation and return on investment.
So I have established my signature style when it comes to marketing and brand placement through my work with many fashion start-ups. I was one of the earliest pioneers of the pop-up retail concept in South Africa back in 2010. Various iterations of this prominent event have since garnered tremendous media attention. Also, I have grown my curated online retail space to a highly significant niche audience, purely by word of mouth.
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. In knowing this, I appreciate that both my experiences and difficulties contributed significantly to my personal growth.
FASHION ENTREPRENEUR COVER STORY
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Photo: Courtesy of BizzBuzz Magazine for Female Entrepreneurs.