Last night I joined Martine and Ian from the HCR Blog and SA Good News respectively on Athol Williams’ show “The state of the nation” on Classic FM.
I thoroughly enjoyed the full hour show and the debate that was sparked. There really is too much to blog about so I have uploaded the podcast to SA Rocks. It’s an hour long but only 13mb in size so feel free to download it and listen.
A big part of products anywhere you go in the world is consumerism and the consumer experience. In SA trends have been set that state that the consumer has no power, that the consumer has no say and is not in control. This for me is worrying and frustrating.
It is with this in mind that I would like to delve straight in to the SA Rocks Product Week interview with Ian Donovan, Director of getclosure!.
Consumerism is a massive part of life, rich, poor, thin, fat, healthy or not, anyone and everyone has to either be a consumer or a seller. So it affects us all. For a while now I’ve been complaining about the end consumer being taken for a ride, be it banks, wholesellers, retailers, anyone is trying make a buck at my expense.
Enough of my moaning! Let’s get in to the questions:
1. Tell the readers of SA Rocks why we are interviewing you, what do you do and exactly why am I talking to you about consumerism in SA?
getclosure! is an independent online complaints management portal that facilitates discreet complaint resolution and provides comprehensive information on consumer rights and remedies.
We set up a discreet line of communication between consumers and suppliers to manage the complaint handling process. And best of all, the service is free for consumers!
4 key ways in which getclosure! assists consumers:
1. We deliver each complaint to an appropriate person in the supplier organisation.
2. We follow up with the supplier to get a response to your complaint.
3. We identify remedy providers willing to address unresolved complaints.
4. And we provide much needed information on consumer rights and remedies.
What we have realised is that South African consumers aren’t vocal enough about bad service. We whinge a lot, but all too often we just don’t actually take the step of making our complaint known to the party delivering the bad service.
That’s where getclosure! comes in. We offer a user-friendly service that saves time, money, frustration and importantly, one which yields results.
2. Where does a culture of good service start and with whom?
The important thing to recognise is that a culture of good service cannot be imposed by management. In some businesses, the commitment to good service can be traced to an inspirational leader who sets a high standard for others in the organisation to emulate. In others, good service delivery is the result of appropriate incentives. And there are other businesses – and I believe that getclosure! is one of these – in which the people who actually deliver the service have decided for themselves as a team that they are going to deliver an exceptional service.
3. Is it really the fault of the retailer that good service is hard to come by, or do we as consumers make it so bad?
It is the retailer’s responsibility to offer good customer service by training its staff, implementing the correct channels through which consumers can complain and to educate its customers.
As consumers though, we often allow businesses to get away with bad service by not complaining and in so doing perpetuating the problem. If consumers want better service, they need to step up and draw the attention of businesses to service that falls short of the required standard. Good businesses will always respond appropriately to constructive criticism.
4. What action can be done by the public to improve the situation?
Lodge constructive complaints! Go to www.getcosure.co.za and click on the submit a complaint button to start the process.
5. Are there ways to handle bad service? Does shouting and screaming really make things any better?
There definitely are appropriate and inappropriate ways to complain and to a large extent, this depends on what you are trying to achieve. If your objective is to receive better service, the best place to start is with the person responsible for delivering the poor service, with a polite but firm complaint drawing attention to the problem. If that does not bring the desired response, the next step is to identify someone in the organisation who does care. And that is where getclosure! can assist: we go the extra mile to bring complaints to the attention of an appropriate person in the relevant organisation. Our experience is that in most cases this achieves the desired result. Inevitably there are businesses that do not respond appropriately and in those cases, the intervention of a third party may be needed in order to get the complaint addressed. Part of the getclosure! service is to assist consumers with unresolved disputes to identify a suitable remedy provider. In extreme cases, for example where the supplier simply couldn’t care less, the consumer may find it necessary to use the media to draw attention to the problem.
6. Do you think there are certain industries that are worse than others when it comes to bad service?
Every industry has examples of businesses committed to service excellence and others that are less committed. We think there is a growing commitment across all industries to delivering a better service and we’re delighted to be playing a small part in that process.
7. What do you think a startup or new business can do to ensure that service starts off well and remains so?
Every business, but especially every new business must listen to its customers. If a customer has taken the time to highlight a problem, it should be seen as an opportunity for a company to improve and deliver a better product or service. By complaining, these customers are giving the company a rare second chance to make good. How quickly and effectively a business responds to complaints often determines whether a consumer will continue to do business with them.
Surveys indicate that 60% to 75% of customers who complain to a supplier about a product or service will use it again if their complaint has been resolved and 95% will do so if the complaint was resolved quickly.
8. Is there anything I’ve left out or that you’d like to include here?
We’re about to launch our new home page and would love your readers to tell us what they think of it and what we can do to improve our service. Go to www.getclosure.co.za.
Thanks for taking part in the interview, it’s always great to speak to people in niches with opinions about things that affect so many of us!
I have finally received the answers for the SA Rocks interview with Heather Ford. It’s taken her months, nay, an age (that’s a long time) to get back to me and I have really glad that Heather was able to send through her answers.
She is incredibly busy and traveling all the time all over the world, but SA Rocks eventually tracked her down and got the goods:
So tell me a bit about what you do and how got in to the online market?
I work for iCommons – an international, high-tech non-profit organization based in Johannesburg.
You’re involvement with iCommons has allowed you great opportunities, what’s the coolest thing you’ve done recently?
Meeting the Mayor of Sapporo in Japan and going to see the snow and ice sculptures at the annual Sapporo Snow Festival.
You have been promoting an event with Jimmy Wales here in SA, The Wikipedia Academies. Give us a brief idea of what this is and why, as South Africans, we should care?
The Academies were started by Wikipedia Germany as a way to teach students how to edit Wikipedia. What we want to do here in South Africa is to develop an appreciation of how empowering it is for us to build our own encyclopedias in languages other than English. Growing up with Encyclopedia Britannica, I find it pretty incredible how we now have the potential to learn about Africa through our own eyes, to develop our own expressions of the truth, and to understand that truth is dynamic, always changing.
Now down to the serious stuff:
Why do you love South Africa?
I can’t help it really. It’s home. But I guess more than that it’s a place where the energy is tangible, where people come to make try and understand their humanity, where you can really make a difference and see that difference in the world around you.
You’ve been around the world, which country comes close to matching our cultural diversity in your experience?
It’s difficult to say. In terms of diversity, I guess I’d have to say the United States or Brazil.
Do you think that we have an open and free culture here in SA? If not, why not?
I think it could be more free. Free culture is a culture that is open for people to remix and share – a culture that enables us to become active creators rather than passive users. It’s the opposite of a couch-potato culture. I think that – for a variety of reasons – we South Africans still accept that our culture and our knowledge should be dictated by the West. Digital creativity – where the real potential lies – is still mostly in the hands of a wealthy elite who use the law to try and lock the people out of that potential. So I think that there is lots of room for improvement so that we can turn our incredible diversity, energy and agency into real innovation.
Your presentation at the 27 Dinner a few months ago centred around the free culture of music. Do you think that this is truly the way forward for SA artists? Can this openculture/freeculture really be applied across the board? And would the Radiohead experiment work here in SA for local bands?
Well, I don’t think that having a freer, more open culture is very controversial. A free culture in any sector stimulates innovation, improves competition and quality, and should enable us to hear music beyond Britney Spears (and I’m a fan of Britney Spears you hear!). The point of disagreement I guess is how you enable a freer, more open culture. What we at iCommons say is that finding ways to share your intellectual property with the world is the main path to innovation, and that for the first time in human history, we have found a technology that enables us to share in a way that benefits everyone – the artist, the producer, the fan, the distributor and most importantly, the budding artist in all of us.
With regards to the Radiohead experiment, I guess that’s why it’s called an experiment: because there is still no three-step process to follow here. It’s a matter of crunching the numbers, being really analytical about it, and then taking a small leap of faith. I definitely think that local bands should be experimenting a lot more with new business models, though – and using the potential of new (and old) technology to become more independent from the industry – because the innovation is not going to come from the big players – it’s going to come from the musicians who want to stay true to their music and their fans, and who have less to lose.
Do you believe that SA is competing on a global level when it comes to innovators and great minds online?
I think that there are some incredible people out there doing really great things online in SA (SARocks is a case in point ) and that this is definitely on an upward trend right now. I passionately believe that if we really prioritise digital innovation as a nation, then we could very well see this turning into the widespread flourishing of unique, home-grown solutions on the Internet and that this could have an incredible impact on the empowerment of Africa in the Information Age.
Again, thanks go out to Heather for participating and I hope that she keeps rocking the world with the SA flag flying high!
Carrying on with the interview process on SA Rocks I picked Sarah from the newly launched Babazeka for this weeks interview.
Babazeka is a project that I am extremely envious of and I think that Scott and Sarah are going to do great things in the online sales space. Before I spill the beans lets hear what Sarah has to say:
What exactly is Babazeka and how did it come about?
Babazeka is an online store that’s all about social upliftment in South Africa. Basically, we sell handmade goods which have been produced by businesses/organisations which are empowering previously disadvantaged peoples. It came about for a few reasons. I wanted a company of my own that I could be passionate about (I love creativity and people), and that would have a higher purpose than pure monetary profit. I’m also tired of people being so negative about South Africa – I wanted to do something positive.
Do you think that there is a market for what you are selling and what exactly are you selling?
Absolutely. Nothing we sell is run-of-the-mill and I think people will appreciate that. There’s a trend at the moment, moving towards handmade goods and away from those that are mass-produced. Also, people are becoming more and more socially and environmentally aware – all of our products empower the people that need it, and most are environmentally friendly too. Our range on Babazeka is made up of fashion accessories and home decor items. Things like handbags, cushion covers, clocks, etc. All innovative, unique and beautiful!
Are you targeting the local or international market? Or both perchance?
We’re starting off by focusing on the South African market – until we’re sure that the operation of the site and our logistics are all running smoothly. We hope to start selling internationally early to mid 2008 – foreigners will go crazy for our suppliers’ products.
How difficult was it to set up payment methods? I hear that SA struggles with that sort of thing.
The process was a little complicated with the integration of a payment gateway into our website, but Virtual Card Services (who we’ve been using), have been more than helpful . The most difficult part of the process is acquiring your merchant number. If you have a long-standing relationship with a certain bank, it definitely helps!
Why didn’t you just start a real-life store? Why online?
Truthfully, the start-up capital was the initial reason to start an online store. One of the main goals of Babazeka is to eventually have a physical outlet, but online is a far more affordable option for a start-up business. Plus, my cousin Scott knows a thing or two about online marketing, so when he agreed to get involved it all made a lot of sense.
You clearly love SA after looking at Babazeka. What’s your driving force? What inspires you?
South Africa is my driving force. I travelled for a few years, and not once did I consider the option of not coming back. This place has a feeling about it like no other. Something that comes from our people. I know it has its problems, they’re kind of difficult to ignore, but I think the only way it’s going to improve is by young people with energy and ideas to use them for the benefit of the country.
I’m inspired by kindness, I suppose. It’s something I feel many fellow South Africans need, after such a difficult past. In a creative sense, I’m inspired by colour and innovative design – all of the products we are selling depict exactly this.
What sort of marketing plans do you have for the site? Can we expect a viral video or something different?
Loads of plans, too little time! From a video point of view, we’re currently putting together profiles of each of our suppliers so that our customers can associate with them and, hopefully, create a really meaningful connection with the product they buy. That’s the way we want to approach things – give our customers a story to tell their friends about the beautiful bag or cushion they just bought. It’s African Storytelling 2.0
How did you get involved online? Tell me a bit about yourself.
Basically, it’s what I mentioned before. I had the idea for the business, and the urge to help empower South Africans, but it was only when Scott became my business partner that I was introduced to the online world. Honestly, I had no idea of the extent of it until about six months ago. I suppose a lot of South Africans have a long way to go in this regard – especially in terms of online retail. I live in Knysna, which offers me an incredible quality of life, but didn’t offer quite what I was needing in terms of careers. An online venture is an ideal form of business from a town like this. It provides far more opportunity for growth and stimulation.
Is there anything else you’d like to add in closing? Go wild…
We have a blog (blog.babazeka.com) which is starting to grow nicely. We talk about our suppliers, as well as our experiences of running a business like this. There’s something for everyone – entrepreneurs, designers, people into crafts.
And the the last thing I’ll mention is the actual word “Babazeka”. It’s Zulu and it means “be admirable” or “be beautiful”. It’s what we’re all about!
I wish Sarah and Scott all the success in the world (and I mean the world) with Babazeka. Do yourself a favour and buy from their site. Your relatives will love the products and will love it that you helped people survive by supporting Babazeka!
Hey Jeremy! Thanks for “joining” me on SA Rocks. You asked me to interview you on SA Rocks and how could I possibly say no?! I couldn’t so here we are.
Ja, I wanted the interview because I need all the publicity I can get. Unless you’re famous, it’s really difficult to make a living out of being a cartoonist. I’ve considered stripping in gay bars, as a form of extra income, but I’ll need to have a penis-reduction first.
So why don’t you start by telling me exactly what it is that you do?
I’m a cartoonist. I draw two daily comics for various publications around SA, Namibia, and the UK. Urban Trash is a typical Garfield-type strip, with themes and regular characters, and normally features in the Classifieds (the section of the paper that houses cartoons; crosswords; and all the hippie crap that nobody cares about) while Ditwits is an editorial comic which features on the front page of The Times. I also write a daily blog post (about whatever), but it’s really only to fill up the white space on the page.
Drawing comics may seem a bit fluffy to some with more “regular” jobs. Do you manage to pay the bills every month?
Ja, but only just. I left a decent salary in the corporate world, for almost no salary in the creative world.
Your comics are being used pretty widely at the moment. Exactly who is using them, for what and what on Earth were they thinking?
I don’t know who is using them, to be honest, other than the paying clients. I often receive emails from people I’ve never heard of, who are sending my strips around. I simply happen to be one of the many in the “CC” list.
You are trying to become “more famous than Danny K”, is this a big aspiration of yours?
Yes. Danny K is the most famous musician in the world. He even appears on SABC 3 (since he’s white, and because white people watch that channel).
A self-proclaimed “King of Kak” means exactly what? And why the King of Kak if I may be so bold as to ask?
Well, Michael Jackson is the “King Of Pop”; Elvis is the “King Of Rock”; and Prince is the “Queen Of Pop”. I also wanted a cool title, so I chose something that represents me accurately. And is South African. Because that’s how I roll.
Recently your fame has picked up and you are right on Danny K’s heals. How did your rise happen?
By “heals”, do you mean “high-heals”? I started drawing professionally in 2005, and found that having no money meant that I needed to be creative with the distribution of my work, and getting noticed. The internet became a powerful tool – I was able to email stuff around, and that sort of thing. In fact, it was BECAUSE of my work being emailed around, that I was offered the front-page (Ditwits) job at The Times. But more than anything, it’s been very hard work and a lot of coffee. I love drawing comics, and I hope that my passion shines through, making others want to enjoy it too, and pass it on and tell others about it. Google has proven that viral marketing is the strongest. I like that philosophy. And it’s been my greatest aid in building up to my approximately half-a-million readers.
What inspires you to draw?
I don’t know. Perhaps it’s the pretty colours. Perhaps it’s because I’m ADD. Perhaps it’s because I hate traffic and cubicles. Perhaps it’s because it’s artistic expression. Perhaps it’s because I can comment on society without getting into too much trouble (God bless my Editors).
You need to be pretty on top of things locally and abroad so that you stay topical. I bet current affairs weren’t in your plans when you started out?
No they weren’t. But I’ve always been a keen follower of important stuff, like the news and Zoo Weekly.
Zapiro is definitely one of SA’s most renowned comic writers (is that what I call you guys?). Do you aspire to his level of exposure? With that comes legal action against you, are your ready for that or have you been sued already?
Unfortunately, I haven’t yet been sued. Zapiro is a superb cartoonist, and I obviously aspire to his level of exposure. But more importantly, it must happen as a result of readers enjoying my work, rather than hot chicks (with big boobs) in high places, at Media 24, being excellent in bed.
Where to from here?
Books. But since South African publishers believe that publishing comics – other than Zapiro and Madam & Eve – is a failed notion, going independent is probably the way to go. You have to be at the top, otherwise they won’t give you a chance. And the people at the publishing houses are certainly not sexy enough to sleep with.
I hear via the grape vine (you told me) that you are giving away a Wii, tell the SA Rocks readers how they can win this great prize?
It ends this coming Friday. You can find out more at HERE.
Hey Tamilyn, Thanks for joining me this week on SA Rocks!!
Not many SA locals will know who you are or why I am interviewing you so let’s get in to it:
Where in the world are you now?
I’m currently living in a town called Oceanside, which is just north of San Diego, California USA.
Why did you leave SA?
Goodness, people ask me this every single day, I wish this was an easy answer but I think packing up your life and moving to a new country is one of the hardest things anyone will ever do.
So here is the short cut version of why Im here in the USA.
During apartheid my parents would organize concerts that integrated all the races, but the police would come and shut the concerts down and say no next time you organize a concert you need to have a separate location for blacks, whites, Indians etc. Well my parents disagreed with that and so they continued to have mixed race events. So eventually they actually got black listed just like Nelson Mandela did. And some of their other friends that were doing the same thing just disappeared. So they left SA for a bit to try get away from the police. So quit their jobs sold a bunch of stuff and went and worked around the world. Eventually they got back to SA and said no they need to try and move since they didn’t want their kids growing up with a government that enforced apartheid. So they applied to come to the USA. Well 18 years later we got a phone call from the States saying you need to be in the USA within 4 months or you lose your green cards for good.
So what do you do? By now it was the new South Africa, and all the reasons why my parents wanted to leave where gone. And who can pack up their bags and life in 4 months. So America said if we could stamp our passports in 4 months in the USA we would then have one more year to make our final decision. So that’s what we did. Came to California on a holiday went to Disney Land, etc were great tourists in this very fast paced life. Went back to SA and said nope the USA is not for us. So that was that until, we started to realize that if we denied our green card America would never let us into the States ever again. My parents wanted us (I have 2 older brothers) to have opportunity and they just saw SA going nowhere it seemed. And in the year one horrific thing after another happened. I was never scared living in SA until, my maid phoned one day with a sound in her voice I will always remember. She had just been raped, 5 meters outside the police station and the police had done nothing to help her. Her face was cover with bite marks, and my mom and dad were the ones that had to go and dig through the bushes, finding the man’s jacket and her underwear. The police had not even bothered to go look outside. And on the police report every time my maid had said he ‘raped her’ the black policeman wrote ‘made love’. This incident made me understand that a woman would always be a man’s right to rape living in Kwa- Zulu Natal.
From then on you understand why one can actually be afraid of the dark, why it’s important to lock your doors and have bars on all your windows, and have dogs not just as a pet, but as an extra team of security.
We never ran away from SA, since I don’t think running includes millions of tears shed. But I think my family all just came to the agreement that hey why not try something new, and see what happens. SA will always be there and it’s only a flight away. Life’s too short to not experience new things. And hey you can’t take Africa out of a person’s soul.
So you entered in to a reality TV show over in the states, tell us about it.
I graduated from University in May and 2 days later was on a plane back to SA for a holiday to see all friends and family. Had a crazy time while I was there, then got back to the states and sat down realizing, “now what”. The full time working world was calling back, then I got an email asking me to go help promote this new reality TV show. I realized why don’t I just go audition instead since I have nothing holding me back.
So I did and now 2 months later I am still in the running.
But the show is going to be insane. It’s a mix between SURVIVOR and THE AMAZING RACE. The prize money is $10million, the largest amount of money ever given out on a reality TV show. But like always there is a catch, if you get on the show you have to give up all that you own. Yes, everything, anything that can be sold you have to give to the show. So if you win you win $10million but if you get kicked off you come home with NOTHING. But the show is going to take the 15 contestants to all 7 continents and we will be doing physical and mental challenges.
Your pitch (see video below) was very “world traveller” centric, how have you possibly been to all the places in the video?
Well SA is in its self a world in one country, so I have always had a passion to go and see new places. My parents had gone around the world working in different countries and have told me about their crazy adventures of sweeping the beaches in Israel, or sleeping in the streets in Germany in the middle of winter. I have been brought up in a family that encourages you to seek after a goal and work your butt off to accomplish it. So that’s what I have done. Since I was 14 years old I have worked, and paid for every crazy travel excursion. I have been on a riverboat down the Amazon River, gone of a coastal explorer in Venezuela, to the River Delta in Vietnam, all on my own pocket. I think its just in my blood, you can’t talk about a culture or people without actually stepping foot on their soil, and realizing how much they have to deal with each day just to get by.
So yes I have traveled, but then all my money is spent of memories and not things. I don’t have much else.
What has been the best travelling experience you’ve had so far?
I would definitely have to say a trip to Egypt. It was the last holiday that I remember my whole family took together. You imagine the pyramids to be out in the middle of nowhere, but instead you are driving through the Cairo and you look up and there they are right outside the city. It truly was spectacular, and it felt like everyone was living in a land trapped in time. And I’ve never had so much sand in my hair, eyebrows, ears, and even pores. This experience was truly unique and at least my family was there to treasure the adventures we had.
Do you plan to ever move back to SA?
You know that’s why I just went back to SA in May. After graduating from university I thought now is the perfect time to move back to SA. We originally moved with the thought that one day we could move back. So I arrived in Cape Town, traveled around there met up with family and drove up the garden route, stopping and looking at different towns. It was all so stunning. Truly South Africa is beautiful no matter what. Then arrived back in Durbs. I went up to Hillcrest that’s where I use to live, and what a shock. It has turning into a little Pinetown. The building and construction that is going on is insane. It was a little sad too though because all your memories of hills and open land are all filled with new gated communities. I tried to look for work, but there was nothing for me, and everyone said Tamilyn you will never find work in that field. So I continued to seek and ask questions and just live a normal life in SA. But I wasn’t allowed to drive anywhere at night. Everyone was constantly checking up on me. I think I spent a fortune on car guards. Saw people being beaten up. Had family and friends homes been broken into, had my uncle hijacked and taken into the wilderness and dropped off to die. You guys know the stories. My friends in the USA where emailing me asking how was life. And well my heart ached, cause with every bone in my body I wanted SA to be that beautiful place I had held in my heart. And it sure was when I was sitting in the stadium rooting on SA while they played the All Blacks in Durban. Or hanging out at Joe Kools, during the Mr Price pro. The people the fellowship the pride in SA was incredible. But I knew that right at this time in my life, SA is just not where I must continue my journey. My friends and family have left, are leaving or trying to move. So that’s why I got back on the plane for the USA, it’s a completely different place but hey you learn to bloom where you are planted, and there are so many Saffers out here its crazy. So you come back to the USA and call up your mates, have a braai, watch SA kill it in the world cup and celebrate SA from across the big blue ocean. While our hearts are still there our bodies are just adapting to a new climate of change.
What is your favourite thing about SA?
Favourite, gee there are so many. I think SA just has a wild beauty about it that is nowhere else in the world. The animals and the lying in bed listening to all the sounds of birds, crickets and bugs. Yes San Diego we have no bugs to listen to. I love how SA has a vegetation that changes so drastically that you feel you have gone across the globe in just a few hours in the car. And the people, yes there is a distinct characteristic that makes up a South African.
What do you miss most about SA?
I do get home sick. It’s normal to feel confused and long for your homeland where you can walk into a shop and buy biscuits that you love. Where the chocolate is just so rich and creamy, where meat pies are in every corner shops or petrol station. When I can ask for “Tomato Sauce” and they understand what I want, and not give me a blank stare of utter confusion. But hey family and friends are what I miss most. I was so close to my family, and now my family is spread out through out the world living in England, Australia, and South Africa. I think about my younger years and realize that when I have children they will never have all their cousins around to play with. So that makes me sad.
How much money do you get if you win the reality show?
Oh man, $10million.
What will you do with it?
I didn’t even think about the prize money until after I auditioned and then everyone asked how much money and I winning, then everyone’s response was “Oh Tamilyn you know you look so pretty today, you know how much I like you” they all made me laugh. So you know what I have no clue what Im going to do with that money if I do win. Right now I’m in debt due to my university fees so that’s the only thing on my mind. Pay of student loans for university FIRST… But helping my family, going on a holiday with everyone would be just wonderful. Buy a new car that does not have squeaky breaks. And I would love to just help people. Not through an organization but through real grass roots ways. Ya, that’s my ultimate desire. There are so many people that need a helping hand.
South Africans are becoming pretty regular on reality TV in the states, Karen Janx and Dilana. Do you think South Africans have something special?
Um, I think South Africans are fearless. That’s a good way to put it. I watched Fear Factor the other day and there was a South African guy on it, and he seriously annihilated all the other contestants. He ate everything, did everything with out a blink of the eye. I was so proud.
South African’s understand hardship, and have seen things most of the USA will never even fathom. So I think we have an edge that is different. And oh yes, American’s love our accents. Which is just funny to me.
How bout dropping the SA Rocks url on USA TV?? hahaha, just kidding.
Sounds good, I will definitely do that.
Thanks for your time and goodluck with the show. I’m sure you’ll make SA very proud!
Thanks so much for the support, keep your fingers crossed, who knows maybe one of the stops on the show will be SA. That would be wonderful.
This weeks interview is with Candice Poole. Candice is started a company called Heartfelt Project. I wont leak any information, let’s have Candice tell us more:
Hi Candy, Thanks for chatting to SA Rocks.
Tell me a bit about Heart Felt Project.
Heartfelt Projects is a women empowering, job creation and skills development project. We bring you a range of products all proudly made in South Africa. Each item is a unique work of art hand signed by the artist. The Designs are not only one of a kind – but ones that come from the soul of each and every women. – They are currently available on T-shirts in white – but can also be introduced to bags, blankets and pillow cases by order.
How many people are involved in the project right now?
At the moment we have five ladies working on the project in Alexander, Johannesburg. There is one lady here in Grahamstown who is a Granny who up until now was barely surviving on her pension. I hope to grow the Grahamstown team soon, but our intention is to sustain the women, so we don’t want to grow too quickly without knowing that we are able to support them.
What is your personal goal for starting the project? What do you get out of this?
My personal goal is to make a difference in the lives of others. What better way to do it then by creating beautiful products that have soul. By empowering women, using my creative side and doing something that I love, I get happiness and joy!
What were the ladies you are empowering doing before you started helping them?
The group of ladies in Joburg were generally unemployed, either living off their pension or occasional part-time cleaning jobs. Their own goals are to be able to work for Heartfelt Projects full time so that they can look after their families.
How can the public help you?
The public can help us by buying our products, we can make up just about anything one desires.Heartfelt products make wonderful corporate gifts. I like to think of our company as a way of donating to a worthy cause, with the bonus of receiving a stunning item. We are very excited about how far we’ve already come with our Heartfelt project, and with the help of the public we feel we can take it even further. We do custom made orders for the corporate market, so contact us for your next corporate event.
In a very short time we were nominated for business of the year by the Roodepoort Chamber of Commerce. We got into the finals, so we must be doing something right.
Do you think that there is enough “charity” work going on in SA?
Yes and NO. I do feel that there are allot of wonderful people doing amazing things, we just need more people to stand together to help others.
Why Grahamstown? Why not move up to JHB or CT where things happen?
Grahamstown is my base and my intention is to have a group of ladies in every town in South Africa eventually. Although the products are being made here, our target market is in the bigger cities. At the end of the day our world is so small, so it doesn’t really matter where you are, as long as your heart is in the right place.
Thanks Candy and great work on your initiative, let’s hope that more people take your lead and get things moving in SA!