In the spirit of Women’s Month, I think it’s important to celebrate fellow female self-starters. Chule Gobodo is such an inspiring example of a woman creating her own destiny. Have a look at what she had to say about being a female entrepreneur in South Africa.
What was the most challenging part of starting your company?
Finding our value proposition. For the many years, we ran a production company but seriously struggled to find clients because we couldn’t see what set us apart. But last year we were part of the Ariel impossible to possible campaign and we realized that WE where our value proposition. No one had our experience and our passion to create a new narrative for African women.
We completely rebranded to become Brainbow Conscious Creatives, a boutique brand communication story agency. Our goal is to connect brands to the African woman through good research and creative story campaigns. In this way, we hope to spread loving stories and create love activist for the brands we work with.
How were you exposed or influenced to start your own company?
In 2005 I met Mukundi Lambani and Kutlwano Makgalemele in film school. Each of us with a dream to create an epic story. Little did we know that we would embark on an adventure of spiritual growth, self-awareness, and love by starting a business together. Through the years we have evolved but one common thread has remained untethered, our mission to spread love through storytelling.
What’s the most important part of building a brand?
Being authentic is absolutely paramount. For the longest time, we didn’t see our value and tried to be what we thought clients would want. Now we put it front and center that our intention is to love people through the work we do. Even our logo is based on the ancient geometry that we are all connected by love.
Are there any books or blogs that inspire you?
Oh man, sooooooo many! Marriane Williamson A return to Love is our bible!!!! We have built our business around having a higher purpose to serve humanity. This book taught us that we exist to give and receive love and that is why we started our business. We want to use love as a disruptive tool in the market because of this book. Other books we love are Eckhart Tollie A New Earth, Seat of the Soul Gary Zukav, 7 Habits of Highly Effective Leaders, Road Less Travelled Scott Peck, and The Magical Approach, Seth Speaks.
Blogs we love are on Mindvalley, the teachers we enjoy are Vishen Lakhiani author of Code of the Extraordinary Mind and founder of Mindvalley, Michael Beckwith, Spiritual Thought Leader and Christy Marie Shaldon, energy clearing specialist. Also, anything by Brene Brown and Iyanla Vanzant just blows our minds.
What does your average business day look like?
We actually realized that we are suffering from business fatigue. It’s been an amazing year but also tough. We’ve felt victimized by our business lately. So we are currently running an internal campaign called fill up your cup. This is where you build in joy filling activities into your day. We will be hosting a Fill up Your Cup workshop for other entrepreneurs on the 1st September. No one talks about how victimized you can feel by your business and we want to create a space for entrepreneurs to heal and regenerate.
Right now we are concentrating on building trust in the market. So we have developed internal assets to showcase different story experiences. W.O.M.A.N is a virtual reality healing story experience where we chart the journey of a woman moving from victim to victor. In Partnership with the Department of Arts and Culture, we will create an immersive visual and emotionally engaging experience. So our days are filled with fine tuning the scripts and strategy for the event. We are excited because we get to work with other youth owned businesses to make this happen.
We are also hosting the Believe Film Festival which will create a family friendly story experience. Filmmakers will submit films about the power of believing in love. We will also have a film creation platform called seven days of creation where teams can make a film around love in seven days.
We also just finished the incredible Standard bank and liberty Lioness Accelerator program so we are preparing for showcase day on the 31 August. We also just started the My Growth Fund Top 40 accelerator programme with Vusi Thembekwayo so we are in the process of interrogating our business and diving deep on the empire we are building.
The rest of our days are spent looking for places we can bring value. We are looking for brands who are socially and environmentally conscious to partner with.
Do you have any female role models? How did they influence you?
I know this sounds corny but my mother is my biggest influence. As a teenage mother she managed to be the first black female chartered accountant in the country while raising two kids and taking care of her husband. She later merged her firm to became the biggest African owned Accounting firm in Africa, Sizwe Nstaluba Gobodo. She then left and started over opening Nkululeko Leadership Consulting. Her fearlessnes is what inspires me about my mom. I don’t know many people who would start a new business at the age of 50. Also her deep sense of spiritual consciousness is one of the biggest gifts she has given me as her daughter. She’s taught me to be brave and transcend my fears.
Her fearlessnes is what inspires me about my mom. I don’t know many people who would start a new business at the age of 50. Also her deep sense of spiritual consciousness is one of the biggest gifts she has given me as her daughter. She’s taught me to be brave and transcend my fears.
How have you experienced being a female entrepreneur in South Africa?
Mostly its been my biggest masterclass. This ecosystem taught me my power. Clients and the market treat you how you treat yourself and I realized I saw myself as small and insignificant. All the rejections and difficult client experiences showed me a mirror and I had to make a choice, was I going to play small and just survive or will I embrace my feminine power and thrive. I have obviously chosen the latter.
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve received?
Know thy self and love what you see. You can only give to clients what you have. Know your value and be generous with it.
What advice would you give to young female entrepreneurs in South Africa?
Know the problem you are solving and the value your solution brings, everything is muuuuuuch easier from there. Also do a business model canvas it will help you zone in on what you are doing a lot. I repeat KNOW YOUR VALUE and do not underestimate it.