Iconic En­tre­pre­neur

SLOW Magazine - - Contents -

Gor­geous vil­las in spec­tac­u­lar des­ti­na­tions in south­ern Africa of­fer­ing ul­ti­mate lux­ury and ex­clu­siv­ity – this is the busi­ness in which south African en­tre­pre­neur, Therese Botha, has made a name for her­self with her com­pany, Icon Vil­las.

Botha, who took a very dif­fer­ent route by study­ing mu­sic at the University of Pre­to­ria be­fore start­ing Icon Vil­las, ex­plains that while be­gin­ning her ca­reer in the travel and hospi­tal­ity in­dus­try without a strong back­ground in fi­nance and com­merce was a chal­lenge, she has learnt “from the university of life”.

“we aim to cre­ate mag­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ences for our clients,” Botha says, adding that she found her in­spi­ra­tion for Icon Vil­las through things that ap­pealed to her. “Any­thing with aes­thetic beauty, whether it’s a gar­den, piece of art, house in­te­rior, a mu­sic com­po­si­tion, or heart-warm­ing poem or land­scape.”

she says that mak­ing peo­ple happy was a big part of start­ing Icon Vil­las. “I love peo­ple and get a great kick from cre­at­ing a deal to sat­isfy dif­fer­ent role play­ers – Icon Vil­las has en­abled me to marry all these pas­sions through one busi­ness op­por­tu­nity.

“I am pas­sion­ate about a lot of aes­thet­i­cal and eth­i­cal things: tourism, our coun­try, dé­cor, beau­ti­ful vil­las, and sat­is­fied clients.” This pas­sion has pro­pelled Icon Vil­las into the spot it oc­cu­pies as a suc­cess­ful busi­ness it is to­day, with ac­co­lades such as be­com­ing the first Villa Rental spe­cial­ist in south­ern Africa to be en­dorsed by Condé Nast Trav­eller USA.

Botha at­tributes this suc­cess to a com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors, in­clud­ing des­tiny and de­ter­mi­na­tion. “Believ­ing in my dream and ca­pa­bil­i­ties; know­ing what I can do well, and what I can’t do.”

with Au­gust be­ing women’s Month, and with Botha her­self be­ing a woman who has achieved great suc­cess, this time of year to her means re­mem­ber­ing and cel­e­brat­ing fe­male icons from the past, such as poet Elis­a­beth Ey­bers and artist Irma stern; re­joic­ing with women who are suc­cess­ful in their fields, such as opera singer Pretty Yende; as well as cel­e­brat­ing or­di­nary women “who are jug­gling many balls, such as sin­gle moth­ers putting kids through school”. she her­self jug­gled grow­ing her busi­ness with rais­ing five chil­dren.

The range of prop­er­ties in the port­fo­lio of Icon Vil­las is like a wish list for lux­ury trav­ellers, from an im­mense three-bed­roomed home in Clifton, Cape Town, with 180-de­gree views of lo­cal beaches, and a pres­i­den­tial villa in Mozam­bique, to a quaint cot­tage in Cape Town city centre over­look­ing sig­nal Hill and lion’s Head, and a cosy two-bed­roomed home in the Cape winelands. with a range of prop­er­ties this di­verse, there is plenty to ap­peal to what­ever style of hol­i­day you are after, whether you want to be in the centre of city life, liv­ing in the lap of lux­ury along the beach­front, or spend­ing your days sam­pling de­li­cious wines in Fran­schhoek.

when asked which one of the prop­er­ties is her favourite, Botha says that she doesn’t have one, “Every prop­erty, like peo­ple, has its own story and own soul, and I love each one for its unique at­tributes.”

when it comes to the places she loves vis­it­ing, Botha en­joys cities where amaz­ing art and culi­nary skill reigns supreme. Throw in warm ocean wa­ter and vi­brant cul­ture, and this travel and hospi­tal­ity con­nois­seur is happy. “I am a girl from Africa with Euro­pean an­ces­tors, and de­spite hav­ing trav­elled to won­der­ful places in the world, my heart beats for Africa.”

Botha de­scribes her­self as be­ing “con­stantly be­hind with ad­min”, as she prefers her days to be filled with beauty. “I am driven by dif­fer­ent forms of beauty: tex­tures, vis­ual beauty, lovely and kind per­son­al­i­ties, po­ems, ex­cep­tional mu­sic, vis­tas, com­bi­na­tions of beauty in tac­tile and tastes – I al­ways favour that and drop the red tape.”

work­ing with peo­ple who are look­ing for their ideal va­ca­tion is her favourite part of her job, as she loves mak­ing clients’ hol­i­day wishes come true. “I love help­ing fam­i­lies and friends to write a piece of their life story by giv­ing them the op­por­tu­nity to re­con­nect with each other dur­ing their pri­vate stay, and to con­nect with lo­cals by shar­ing their ex­pe­ri­ences.” of course, Botha also en­joys find­ing new vil­las and apart­ments in stun­ning locations to add to the Icon Vil­las’ port­fo­lio.

on be­com­ing a suc­cess­ful en­tre­pre­neur, Botha’s ad­vice to oth­ers who wish to make their own en­tre­pre­neur­ial dreams come true is: “Your suc­cess is de­pen­dent on your de­ter­mi­na­tion, pas­sion, op­por­tu­ni­ties, be­lief, and trust in your­self and your team.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on Icon Vil­las, www.iconvil­las.travel. visit

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