When your marriage and business end at the same time, it can kill your confidence and drive you into depression. Renowned entrepreneur Mikie Monoketsi knows this story too well and has the scars to tell the tail.
Mikie and her ex-husband started a call centre business using her life savings without doing intensive research, trusting what others were doing in that industry would be a lucrative business to tap into.
The couple went into the business thinking they were not going to lose anything but both the business and marriage enormously went down the drain.
She then had a choice to either save them both - even though her energy and confidence were non-existent - or to move on with her life.
Mikie was brave enough to let go of both and immediately opened herself up to a world of opportunities.
The Mama’s Spices and Herbs founder started her business with only R10 000 but she soon learned that starting a business is one thing while sustaining it is a whole lot different.
One would think that someone who started a business before and failed dismally would approach the next business idea with caution.
But this wasn’t the case although Mikie thought she was doing it. She went into townships, villages to study what people were using in their kitchens to season food. And also, why they were told not to use the spices and herbs they were using as these were responsible for conditions like high blood pressure.
The study with the help of a certified seasoned spices and herbs manufacturer proved to be useful and the entrepreneur was surely on the money. She however realised that her research focused more on the products not necessarily the sales and marketing of these products she was producing.
The marketing and sales strategy had to change, as she initially had thought retailers would easily stock her high-quality spices and herbs.
“To be fair, they do, however, it is not an easy task to get products onto their shelves especially for a new female-black owned brand no one knows about,” She said.
“I was stuck with products and had no retail house behind my name. As you can imagine, I felt defeated and again ready to just give it all up and focus on something else, in other words, I thought I had failed again,” said Mikie.
As fate would have it, Mikie met a man who delivered potatoes to Kota restaurants in Cosmo City. This encounter introduced her into an already existing clientele thus giving her new sales and marketing ideas.
The renowned entrepreneur said, “marketing and sales of products is not an easy task. I nearly lost everything once again due to not paying attention to the lifeblood of the business, without sales there is no business. I now know better. I have managed to profitably penetrate the market, and this could have not happened as soon as it did if I had carried on with pursuing the retail market. My focus is on empowering women like me and I plan to do so for the next 15 years”
Mikie's business has grown in leaps and bounds, the introduction of other products like the Flat Stomach Tea, which it is now known for proved a success. It has also grown so much that some agents have since left their other jobs and are now selling Mikie’s products on a full-time basis.
Mikie has offices in Randburg and is launching a new product line of basic makeup kits suitable to use under the extreme African weather conditions.
These kits consist of a foundation, mascara, lip gloss, and concealer.
“I am one person who has made it my business to understand the black female consumer market in South Africa. Black female consumers don’t just buy things for the sake of it, they buy things they see will add value to their lifestyles. How that looks like in real life, lies in products like Flat Stomach Teas which since launch have helped them with their weight, and now we will witness it with the make-up kits I am introducing for their different skin types and the harsh African weather conditions.
“Sometimes all you need is a will to pick up the pieces of your life after a traumatic experience which might have left you desperate and destitute. Money is needed, but it will not do much for you without the will,” said Mikie.