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How Zelda Arnott Turned Fans Into Customers With Zellyco

Thanks to the digi-sphere, it’s now simpler than ever to set up an online store and start trading. Zelda Arnott from Zellyco turned Facebook into her online fashion store.

Monique Verduyn




Vital Stats

Zelda Arnott reinvented herself – and her life – by taking advantage of the online shopping boom and launching a retail store on Facebook.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: How to Get People to Stop Ditching their Online Shopping Cart

After a 15-year stint in Australia she returned to Johannesburg when her marriage ended, and found herself wondering how she was going to pay the bills.

The one thing she had on her side was a flair for fashion. “Women have always wanted to buy the clothes off my back,” says the 55-year-old entrepreneur.

No stranger to the world of commerce, she won the New South Wales Businesswoman of the Year Award for her resurrection of an ailing hair salon, and also worked as the events manager at a local ad agency.

“I saw women at the office ordering from Zando every day, and I thought, ‘I can do that’.” Knowing that lots of people have no clue how to match items, she put her business savvy and fashion-forward sense to work and began to import carefully selected accessories – scarves, belts, earrings and handbags.

With the help of her daughter Taryn Hatchuel, she set up a Facebook store and Zellyco opened for business just in time for the Christmas rush.

She was blown away by what happened next – everything was sold out in one day. In that first month her turnover was R6 000; by July 2015 it was R55 000.

The store has more than 11 000 ‘likes’, and 85% of sales are repeat business. How did she do it?

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: When is the right time to start an online shop?

The price is right

Zellyco posts images of on-trend accessories that work well together and sells them as bundled items for an average of R280 a set. The first person to comment ‘sold’ gets to buy the bundle.

“I’ve hit the sweet spot in this current economic climate and I’m making an excellent return. For the cost of a lunch my customers can have a new look.”

The look is on trend

She sources from the UK, Turkey, China and Thailand, and buys according to her own taste. Expect to see bright colours in combinations that will surprise and delight.

“I’m always following trends and making sure we are ahead of the curve. Not only do we make it easy for busy women who have no time to shop, but we also only buy two to four of everything, not thousands, so the look is always exclusive.”

Arnott packages the items beautifully and pays attention to detail, thanking customers personally for shopping with her. This means the items also make perfect gifts, and they are delivered by courier within 24 hours.

She chose the right partner


While her daughter runs the back-end of the business, Arnott sources items and spends time interacting with her customers on WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook.

And, because enthusiasm comes naturally to her, she’s made friends with many customers – so much so that a pop-up shop she held in Rosebank in May was sold out in a couple of hours as ‘fans’ came to meet her in person.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: How Laudable Takes Online Shopping from Average to Exceptional

That inspired her to run a makeover workshop in August, the first of many that will create another revenue stream.

Why aren’t you on Facebook?

Arnott says Facebook has made things easier than she ever imagined.

“You can easily create a Facebook store, upload your products, promote them on your wall, or promote your entire store so your fans know it’s there – all for a fee that is affordable for any business. The potential for start-ups is enormous.”

What’s really made a difference is the page insights and advert reports.

“We get all the demographics – who has bought where and when. I know that our audience is between 35 and 50, likes to shop between 8pm and midnight, and that Mondays are big shopping nights. Facebook provides us with all this information, which we use for marketing and selling. We don’t need sponsored posts to grow our audience. Zellyco has built its own momentum. I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.”

Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.


25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

Find out who’s making waves in numerous industries and how they managed to differentiate themselves in local and international industries.

Nicole Crampton



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“Disruption is all about risk-taking, trusting your intuition, and rejecting the way things are supposed to be. Disruption goes way beyond advertising, it forces you to think about where you want your brand to go and how to get there,” says Richard Branson.

South Africa has its fair share of innovative and disruptive businesses taking both local and international industries by storm. From cutting edge space technology to reimagined logistics, and innovative business models, here are 25 of the most successful business ideas in South Africa:

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Colin Timmis Says ‘Position Yourself For Success By Starting With The Numbers’

People pay first who they feel pressure from, so people will pay you when they feel pressure from you.






Entrepreneur Colin Timmis founded South Africa’s first cloud accounting practice in 2011, Real Time Accounting. Then, a few years after being appointed as South Africa’s first Xero partner Colin became Xero Country Manager South Africa. Xero is the emerging global leader of online accounting software that connects small businesses to their advisors and other services.

Related: Pat Pillai On How He’s Helped Over 5000 Entrepreneurs Using 3 Key Steps

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Two 20 Year Olds Reshape Entrepreneur Landscape With New Social Investment Platform

The Merge vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

Merge Connect




Vital Stats

It’s no secret that finding the right investor for your venture is a challenge that most entrepreneurs face. The current process of finding investment is one that is outdated, and limits entrepreneurs due to a lack of time, and network that is needed to find the right investor. But, this doesn’t have to be the case in today’s digital society, says Zander Matthee and Brandon Bate, co-founders of Merge.

“By making the Internet the middleman, we are able to connect with each other much simpler and faster than before” was Zander’s response. “We have taken advantage of this, and have created a digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors” added Brandon.

Merge is a social platform that connects entrepreneurs and investors. It aims to simplify, refine and accelerate the process of finding investment for entrepreneurs, and the process of finding investment opportunities for investors. From idea to developed, the platform allows entrepreneurs to present a brief outline of their venture to a network of all investor types. While doing this, entrepreneurs are able to browse through, and connect with investor profiles that suit their requirements.

Related: 8 Codes Of Success That Helped Priven Reddy of Kagiso Interactive Media Achieve A Networth Of Over R4 Billion

From Private Investors to Venture Capital, and everything in between, Merge allows all investor types to join. Investors have the opportunity to personalise their feed to suit their investment preferences, and will be able to connect with innovative businesses – that are looking for investment – at their fingertips. Only once there is a mutual interest in each other, are users able to enter a secure private chat where they can discuss further and share documents under the protection of a digital NDA.

The two boys became good friends during their time in high school at St Stithians Boys College. However, it was only in their last year, 2016, that they decided to pursue their dreams and create the platform. They didn’t know how to code, so rather ironically, they needed some form of investment to get the platform off the ground.


“We knew we had a mountain to climb, but we believed in our vision and that we were really trying to make a difference, and if we could get others to see that, they would be onboard.” said Zander.

Related: Lessons From The Rich And Famous: Manage Your Money Like Oprah To Avoid Going Into Debt Like Nicholas Cage

Chris Peters is one of these individuals that bought into their vision, and became Merge’s first investor. As a successful entrepreneur and part time investor , Chris saw how much value the platform could bring to all entrepreneurs and investors alike. His marketing and strategic background gave him insight into how Merge could play a vital role in a lucrative space, Brand involvement.

“Entrepreneurship and SME development are two key factors that drive economic growth in developing countries like South Africa. That is why brands are currently getting involved, and looking to support entrepreneurs through various means. We have built a platform that allows these brands to successfully market, and execute on the programmes they have created to assist entrepreneurs.” said Chris

Merge was created to assist all entrepreneurs and investors in finding exactly what they are looking for, regardless of age, race, sex, financial position or social status. That is why anybody can sign-up as an entrepreneur. As long as you are determined and willing to work for your dreams. For too long has the investor space been seen as an “elite club for the select few”, and Merge is here to change that. Whether you’ve gotten your bonus at the end of the year and looking for new investment opportunities, or are an active investor, you can sign-up. Whether you’re currently working, or a retired industry leader, you can join as a mentor.

Their vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

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