MANDISI MABASO, 34

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Mah Orig­i­nals, a 100% cot­ton baby-wear com­pany started in 2014.

“I no­ticed that there weren’t any baby clothes avail­able with slo­gans writ­ten in Nguni. Words such as ‘mama’ or ‘baba’ were nowhere to be found. The great thing is, I feel that the words I use on the cloth­ing are univer­sal. Whether you’re Xhosa, Tswana or Zulu, you can re­late to the mes­sage. I have my day job as a hu­man re­sources man­ager and run Mah Orig­i­nals part time.”

“The com­pany de­signs its own pic­tures and lo­gos on the gar­ments, but the cloth­ing items are not man­u­fac­tured by Mah Orig­i­nals. I use South African com­pa­nies to source these, and go to fac­to­ries. The em­broi­dery is done by a small com­pany in Rand­burg, Johannesburg. We’re based in Centurion. We have baby­gros, hats, blan­kets and cloth­ing sets for new­borns. We cater for ba­bies from birth up to two years old, and all op­er­a­tions are done on­line.”

“Run­ning a busi­ness as a work­ing mom and wife can be chal­leng­ing, but my hus­band is sup­port­ive and al­lows me to use space in the house to run the busi­ness. Mah Orig­i­nals is nearly three years old and we’re fi­nally start­ing to make a profit.

“Or­gan­is­ing and man­ag­ing the com­pany with Luleka is a con­stant jug­gle. The first 10 years were par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult in terms of con­sis­tency and meet­ing reg­u­larly.”

“We strug­gled to find 2. 3.

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