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Advice Series: How Thula Sindi Designed His Way to Success

In this 702 podcast series Thula Sindi discusses how he is constantly bettering himself and those around him. By Nikiwe Bikitsha and Charlotte Kilban.

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This interview with Thula Sindi is part of a podcast series called Face to Face with Success created by Nikiwe Bikitsha and Charlotte Kilbane. Visit the original podcast and the full series here.

Highlights from the Interview

Thula Sindi started out studying Fine Art in Klerksdorp. From an early age he knew that art was what he wanted to do, so he decided to continue his art education through the National School of the Arts.

He chose fashion because he found that fashion combined colour and proportion and allowed him to operate in a dynamic industry. For Sindi, fashion is dynamic, it’s part of society and it’s immediate. After graduating from high school he went to Fashion School and walked away with a degree in Fashion.

Sindi’s first job hired him straight out of college and he helped his employer to make a successful fashion line. He thought to himself: “If I can make a success for them, I can do it for myself.” He decided to start a business for himself and he hasn’t looked back since.

Building a Concept

Sindi wanted to create contemporary clothing that travel well, were modern, sophisticated and timeless. He grew tired of seeing people throw out or stop wearing their clothing, in a way the clothing become disposable and not long lasting.

Sindi says: “In the last ten years people are buying stuff and throwing it away, or it vanishes, or falls apart. I wanted to create quality and value.”

His fashion has appeared on runways in Cape Town and Johannesburg, as well as London, Paris and Luanda. Thula’s business has grown from a one-man show to 14 staff members.

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Sindi’s flagship store opened in Rosebank and has plans to expand across the continent. He wants his stores to spread across Africa first, because he says he is an African and he wants his fashion to stay in Africa.

Thula Sindi shared some advice for young entrepreneurs:

[dropcap]1[/dropcap] “Identify where you’re needed. Most of us have this dream but if it’s not what society needs you’ll need to tweak it for the market,” explains Sindi


[dropcap]2[/dropcap] Be persistent and gain knowledge about your industry of interest. People are into this idea of a mentor. I always say to people all the answers you need are in a book somewhere. Read up on your passion and find the answers to your questions, instead of getting spoon feed, urges Sindi: “There are far too few successful people and those who are have very limited time. But, the library is always there, the internet is always there for that purpose.”


[dropcap]3[/dropcap] Keep focused. Sindi explains: “Find a way to channel all your energies into your business all the time. Even your leisure time needs to feed back into your actual job. It needs to feed back into your passion. Focus all your energy and resources into your passion.”


 

The Meaning of Success for Sindi

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Sindi found his meaning of success through hard work and experience working in his field. He got to know himself and learnt what he values above all else:

  • The ability to control your own time, control your destiny.
  • The work you put in, are the results that you see. Working harder helps you see better results.
  • Conduct yourself with integrity with both your team and your clients.
  • Entrepreneur needs support. Your initial investors are there to support your dream not for the money.
  • Upskill your team so they are able to go into business for themselves if your business closes.

Do you want to know the strangest secrets about millionaires? Read more here.

Thula says that previously clothing makers would teach their seamstress how to make one part of a garment. So, when the company went bust all the seamstress could do was make a sleeve, not sow, just make a sleeve. By upskilling your team you can be more reliant on them. Then should your business go in another direction you’ve educated them and given them a skill they can make a living off of.

Nikiwe Bikitsha is one of the country's top radio and television journalists. A multi award winning journalist, she is well regarded for her exceptional sense of story telling, fearless interviewing style and diverse skills set, spanning news, politics and business. After a media career of 18 years, Nikiwe channeled her inner entrepreneur co-founding Amargi Media, a company committed to revealing the African Story in all its glory. Charlotte Kilbane has spent 18 years as a broadcast journalist. She began her career in radio, working as a reporter, news anchor and news editor. Later she spent many years in top management structures in television news, forming part of the launch team of Africa's first independent 24-hour news channel. Charlotte co-founded Amargi Media - a media company committed to telling great stories, with a uniquely African flavour.

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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.

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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

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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.

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“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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