Afrika Magazine contributor held an exclusive interview with Juliet Seviria Badzarigere Sala an entrepreneur based in South Africa.
SS: Thanks for agreeing to share your story with us. Please share what businesses you run and when you started.
JS: Its my pleasure!
I run an Events and Wedding Planning Company called Events of Elegance and a Restaurant called Spice Eat up in a suburb called Kensington in the city of Johannesburg, South Africa. I started the business in 2013 working from home.
The Events and Wedding Planning Company focuses on Decor, Catering, Cakes for all occassions, Videography & Photography, the provision of DJs, Choreographers, Make -Up artists and Traditional dancers.
SS: What’s your why? Why do you wake up in the morning?
JS: As an entrepreneur I wakeup everyday with a clear vision of the future and with that vision I strive to build something entirely new and unique bringing my clients one step closer to the reality and dreams they want to experience and envisage. The vision is to inspire others, giving meaning not only to myself but also those who follow me. However, In pursuit of my vision I always follow one basic principle and that is to be realistic. Considering my many roles in life as a professional,
Partner, parent, community leader, friend and sibling, I have to think of the many areas where l divide my time.
The greatest leaders understand the value of saying “no” because it is virtually impossible to do too many things well at the same time, that is why I am disciplined and strict when it comes to balancing between my professional and personal life and each day I wake up with the realisation of the potential God has put in me.
SS: What motto do you live by?
JS: Never compromise!! On standards, quality, or anything be it in my business or personal capacity. I strive to provide the best quality and products to the best of my ability, avail my time where and when I can and where I cannot, I am honest with all parties involved.
I therefore describe my products and services as “Great ships” and ensure that these ships we build meet out client’s needs. In that, I am motivated by C.P Huntington who was elected to build a ship in 1986 to serve world’s biggest habour, and wad determined that it should be known across the world for the quality of products. He said, “ We shall build good ships here. At a profit if we can, at a loss if we may BUT always good ships!!
SS: How hard was it to permeate the SA market and have all partnerships with TV programs.*
JS: The biggest challenge in permeating the south African market for us throughout our journey has been to offer appealing products and services and to stay attractive to both families with low incomes as well as high-end income earners.
Twenty years after the end of apartheid, the disparities in wealth in South Africa are still visible and significant and the fractured market represents a particular challenge for foreign businesses seeking to succeed.
Different people, different products
With a population of approximately 49 million, speaking 11 different languages and with a sharp history of division, appealing to a cross-section of South Africans is no easy task.
Having said that however, overally the number of opportunities to us seem to outweigh the setbacks and this has been our drive throughout.
South Africa has one of the biggest economies in Africa and is by far a huge springboard into the rest of the continent when it comes to business and entrepreneurship. Winning in the country is a big prize for us who are looking for growth in emerging markets, with potential for big increases in consumer demand in the coming decades.
The trick has been to study and know our customers. Though having a diverse population isn’t something unique to South Africa, particluarly in Johannesburg where we are based. The pallet of different tastes and trends here prompted us to conduct a lot of research into the needs of all those different South African consumers and we are always looking for better ways to service our diverse customer base.
When it comes to partnering with TV programs, it has been mostly though divine appointments and I am grategul to God. I’ve had friends inform me of TV programs looking for business owners in my industry and I would have to reach out to the TV presenters or coordinators, I’ve had some TV personalities ” head hunt” me and I’ve met some in the most unexpected places and ways. One exceptional encounter was when I met a Hotel security guard who later turned out to be a motivational speaker, Author, Actor and Presenter.
SS: Who is your role model?
JS: Myself!! Yes, I look up to “ME” everyday. There can only be one me. No one else can do what I can do or replace me even when I am gone. I am a Masterpiece. I don’t believe in impersonating others. In focusing on myself, my dreams and aspirations, I motivate and encourage myself to be the best person, the best events planner and above all to be unique. The Events industry is very versatile and now evolves faster than it used to. We cannot keep up with all the Events trends sprouting up like mushrooms in rainy season and before you know it they are gone and new ones come in. Therefore, I focus on the brand that is me. I pick and choose what I want to be identified by and work on perfecting that brand so that when my clients or customers see or come across my work they can easily identify my work as mine and not as someone else’s. Don’t get me wrong. I see great Events Planners around me who inspire a lot that where it ends – in being inspired! I focus on building my own brand and identity by choosing to be different. I constantly mould myself and business into that model I envisage for the future. The problem arises when we “copy” other people’s work or steal our competitors ideas and so on. In that perspective I strive to be me, focus on myself and what I am building and so that I remain “Exclusively Elegant”. I walk my path!
SS: Your greatest achievements to date
JS: Establishing an Events and Wedding Planning business from scratch
and Finally seeing my dream to run a restaurant being fulfilled in 2019. I am not where I want to be but I am happy with the progress. God has been good to me. As Joyce Meyer once say, “ I may not be where I want to be, but thank God, I am not where I used to be.”
SS: Any plans for the future!
JS: Thats a topic for another day. Walls have ears and shoes have tongues. I have great plans for the future once they are established, you will see me here again. For now we grind in prayer!!
SS: Last words for any upcoming entrepreneurs?
JS: Do not aspire to be anyone else, aspire to be the best that you can be in everything you do. Everyday work on yourself based on what you want to achieve, set goals, work hard and as long as you have breathe in your lungs never give up!!
Lastly, God asked Moses, ” What do you have in Your hand?”
I’ll leave upcoming entrepreneurs with the same question. Start right where you are with whatever you have in Your hand. If you have no idea what to do with it, go down on your knees and pray. God will surely answer! Pray!!
SS: Thank you for your time Juliet.