LETLHOGONOLO SHUMBA

is a full-time ge­ol­o­gist and has been run­ning Urb­na­ture, a wooden ac­ces­sories and watches busi­ness, since 2015.

Your Family - - Create A Second Income - Face­book: Urb­na­ture-lion Time­pieces

‘It took me a while to re­alise I had 24 hours in a day, and I was only us­ing nine of them. When that hit me, I made it a point to find some­thing I en­joyed do­ing to fill up the rest of the time. I’ve al­ways had a love for watches – at one point I owned enough to wear a dif­fer­ent one each day for two months – and peo­ple of­ten asked whether I ac­tu­ally sold them. So I thought hey, why not turn this into a busi­ness?’ By Oc­to­ber 2015, Urb­na­ture was launched. ‘My first sale was to my man­ager for R500. I only had three watches to sell and within a week they were gone. At the time I was buy­ing the watches al­ready as­sem­bled and re­selling. As time went by I be­gan ex­plor­ing laser en­grav­ing and cut­ting as I wanted to make the watches my­self.’

Be­cause her work sched­ule kept her so busy, she didn’t have time to go for for­mal train­ing in jew­ellery mak­ing. De­ter­mined to turn her vi­sion into a re­al­ity, Letlhogonolo turned to Google, where she found lots of in­for­ma­tion and tu­to­rial videos. ‘Youtube has been my great­est teacher.’

In­spired by her love for na­ture, Letlhogonolo wanted the pieces to have a wooden look and feel, while also be­ing eco-friendly. She uses lo­cally sourced Su­pa­wood. ‘It of­fers a pris­tine qual­ity blank can­vas, which we can ma­nip­u­late and al­ter as we like to cre­ate our de­signs. We buy the parts for the watches and as­sem­ble them, to­gether with my hus­band, to cus­tomers’ spec­i­fi­ca­tions. Most of the other prod­ucts we as­sem­ble our­selves, but when we have large or­ders we out­source as we have a seven work­ing days turn­around time.’

The com­pany has added a range of items to the brand, in­clud­ing wall clocks, sun­glasses, wooden photo frames, and wed­ding ac­ces­sories, all with the sig­na­ture wooden fea­tures. Clients have the op­tion of cus­tom-made de­signs.

As Letlhogonolo’s hus­band is in mar­ket­ing, he han­dles the ad­ver­tis­ing for their so­cial me­dia plat­forms. They also sell at mar­kets and host pop-up sales. Even with­out an on­line store, they’ve man­aged to reach a wide au­di­ence. ‘Our clients have been our big­gest mar­keters, as most of our or­ders have come from word of mouth. How­ever, we’re def­i­nitely work­ing on an on­line store.’

With the busi­ness be­ing fairly new, prof­its are ploughed back in. ‘The money we’ve been mak­ing so far has helped us in­tro­duce a wider prod­uct range, and we man­aged to buy a laser cut­ting and en­grav­ing ma­chine, with­out hav­ing to buy it on credit! We’d like to even­tu­ally lo­cally source all the parts for the watches.’

With four chil­dren, a full-time job and a suc­cess­ful side hus­tle, Letlhogonolo has learned to mas­ter the art of balance and the im­por­tance of a solid sup­port net­work.

Our clients A our big­gest mar­keters, as most of our or­ders have come from word of mouth

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