Tell us about Kelly.
I grew up in the small town of Matatiele and later Stutterheim. I moved to PE after finishing Matric to study at NMU. I qualified with a Bachelor’s degree majoring in marketing and economics.
I am a wife and a mom to two beautiful wild ones. My little girl is 4 and my little boy is 2. I absolutely adore them and life before them seems like a different lifetime.
I remember being in senior primary, and whenever we were asked what we wanted to be when we grew up, I would say I wanted to work in corporate but I definitely did not want to own my own business. My dad works very long hours and I didn’t want to work as hard as him or have all the stress that comes with owning your own business. Life had other plans.
I come from a line of entrepreneurs. My grandpa had a trading store in the Transkei for just about all of his adult life and my dad is a very successful, multi-business owner. So, it is no surprise really that I ended up following in their path.
Tell us about your businesses.
Blushing Bride Designs was the first business that I bought. My then-boyfriend now-husband and I had gone over to the UK after finishing up at University in PE for two years. After returning from the UK, I started looking for work in SA. This turned out to be much harder than I anticipated but thankfully I found a job in corporate and started working my way up from the very bottom rung of the corporate ladder. I hated it. I worked retail hours which included just about every Saturday and I would wake up every day hating that I had to get out of bed and go to work. I was interested in finding a small little business for myself and kept trying to think laterally but nothing really seemed to avail itself. Leading up to my wedding day, I found out that the boutique I had bought my wedding dress from was for sale. And I just knew this would be my dream job.
I jumped in with everything that I had. I took over Blushing Bride Designs one month before we got married and while I worked in my one-month notice period at my corporate job. It was the busiest I had ever been (or so I thought) and I marvelled at how I managed to tick off so many things on my to-do list daily. Busy people get things done.
Blushing Bride Designs is a wedding dress boutique in Port Elizabeth and we offer the option for brides to hire or purchase wedding dresses from our selection or we can custom make for them to hire or keep. We have a wide range of pricing options to suit just about any wedding dress budget.
Fast forward four years (and two babies) later, and I found myself actively looking for a supplementary business. My dad always said to me to look towards the baby market as this is the natural progression from getting married. I always kept it in the back of my mind, but never really thought I would find something in that line that would be economically viable and complement my existing business.
I stumbled upon the sale of Monkeybum by chance as the founder and owner was emigrating to New Zealand. I had been following Monkeybum from its inception and loved the alternative brand. Monkeybum is an online baby and toddler boutique that also offers novelty matching sets for the entire family and amazing reusable swimming nappies along side the trendy and alternative range of baby and toddler clothing.
It was just meant to be and I ended up taking over at the beginning of August 2017.
How do you manage being a mom and running your businesses.
I absolutely love the fulfillment that I get from working. I love my children and I do feel so guilty for the commitments that work demands of me, but I know that I would be a terrible SAHM (stay at home mom). Having a purpose outside of being a mom grounds me and gives me the patience that I need to love my children more.
Thankfully my children are at school Monday to Thursday which allows for me to get some uninterrupted work in. My in-laws live next door to us and between them and our nanny, our kids are cared for even if I can’t be home in the afternoons or on Fridays which happens quite frequently.
This does mean that I have to juggle my time. Oftentimes the sacrifice of working from home is that I get to spend the afternoons doing fun activities with my kiddies mean I have to work in the evenings once they go to bed.
Any advice for other business women?
Surround yourself with positive people. People who encourage you and support you. Your mental health is so important and by surrounding yourself with good people and good energy, you will feel like you can conquer the world. I am all for woman empowerment and I think that women who support women are just the most amazing support network.
Your one wish for S.A.
The political noise in SA is deafening. With elections fast approaching, the media and/or politicians seem to be sensationalising racial tensions in SA. I think that people are far more tolerant and accepting than they are given credit for. I wish we would see more upliftment articles and articles that show how we as South Africans are trying to heal the racial divide. Race is a very sensitive topic in SA (for good reason) and it seems as though politicians are capitalising on this as we run up to elections. I’m actually really excited for the elections because I think there will be a lot of good to come for SA.
What are you currently reading?
I am reading ‘Shoe Dog’ by Phil Knight (the creator of Nike). But I can’t go to bed without reading News24. It’s my guilty pleasure.
Best piece of business advice.
When looking to buy/start a business, double your costs and half your profits. And if the business is still viable, then it is worth doing.
Favourite part of your job.
For Blushing Bride Designs, I love finding a bride her dream dress. I love bridal fittings and I love the emotions the bride goes through as she realises she has found the one.
For Monkeybum, I would have to say I love planning new designs and seeing how the garment, design and print finally come together. Most of the time, the outcome is even better than I thought it would be.
Worst part of your job
I find it really tough trying to juggle all the hats that I have to wear. For Monkeybum at the moment, I literally do everything from customer queries, social media, advertising, marketing campaigns, packing parcels, chasing production, chasing suppliers, planning different ranges and coming up with new ideas. I love that there are so many different aspects to juggle, but sometimes it’s hard trying to keep a train of thought as I jump from one thing to the next.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Business-wise, I will hopefully be doing exactly what I am doing now, but on a bigger scale. Having at least one staff member assisting me with day to day tasks would be wonderful, but I’m quite a perfectionist and I’m not ready to hand over that responsibility yet. Both my businesses have grown so much since I bought them and I love that they are growing so quickly. As for my personal life, if I could be as happy as I am now, that would be a massive win.