The Monitor :: Passion Keeps Phikwe’s Elegant Designs In Business
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Thursday 20 September 2018, 12:14 pm.
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Passion Keeps Phikwe’s Elegant Designs In Business

SELEBI-PHIKWE: What was once a thriving bag design business with orders from Gantsi and Maun is now a shell of a company driven only by the passion of its remaining shareholders.
By Onalenna Kelebeile Mon 30 Jul 2018, 12:49 pm (GMT +2)
The Monitor :: Passion Keeps Phikwe’s Elegant Designs In Business








Elegant Designs’ woes come from the general downturn in the economy of Selebi-Phikwe, the once thriving copper and nickel-mining town rendered a near ghost town by the closure of BCL Mine in 2016.

Elegant Designs, established in 2011 and funded by the Women’s Affairs Department to the tune of P249, 000, began with five shareholders but now only has two, one having passed away and the others having withdrawn.

The company used to source material from South Africa and manufacture bags for local sale, but today a turn in fortunes has left bank accounts deep in the red, the remaining shareholders foregoing their salaries and borrowing even for business rentals.

“The little savings we had before have been drained by rentals that increase by 10% annually,” said one of the remaining shareholders, Safirah Tapala.

“We are currently operating at a loss with our bank balance standing at zero. The financial statements we submitted to BURS reflect a zero balance.”

The business is currently only sustained by orders for graduation bags from local pre-schools. Where the Elegant Designs used to order material from

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South Africa, it is now forced to buy local, a more expensive option for tighter margins.

“We have a serious challenge to keep running because we have nothing to buy stock with,” Tapela said.

“We have completely done away with payments of our salaries because the little money that comes in goes to necessities such as rent, utilities and security. At some point we even had to borrow money elsewhere to pay rent.”

At this point, most entrepreneurs would give up. Tapala however says they are holding on.

“Passion is the only thing that sustains us. Every morning we smile to our business, communicate with it and give it an assurance that we will reap when our season comes,” she said.  

The positive attitude is helped by the support Elegant Designs continue to receive from the Gender Affairs Department, Local Enterprise Authority and SPEDU.

“They always visit us and encourage us to push harder. Every three months we submit a report to them to update them about our status.  Stakeholders like LEA and SPEDU are also very supportive,” she said. 

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