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Mother-inspired Flower Business Owner Optimistic Of Growth

CAVIN KANOKO
Mpopi Siele
Mpopi Siele, the founder and owner of Uniflora flower shop, has vowed to bring love to families through her flower arrangement business.

Uniflora is a florist shop found in Gaborone offering flower arrangement services, wholesale distribution of flowers and florist accessories.

Inspired and motivated by her mother, Siele epitomises the adage, the seed does not fall far from its mother tree.

She told Business Monitor that it was her mother who inspired and motivated her, when at the ripe old age of 75 years, she enrolled for a flower arrangement course in South Africa prior to 2017. 

When the matriarch returned, Siele helped her indefatigable mom start a small florist shop in Mahalapye.

She would buy flowers from South Africa and then send them to her mother.

As the demand grew Siele, who was by then a senior schoolteacher, realised an opportunity in the market and decided to open a company, to supply all the florists outside Gaborone.

“By then I realised that there were events almost every day including weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, dinners to mention a few, which needed flowers. I saw an opportunity and embraced it,” she said.

Siele then registered a company in 2007, but started operations two years later in 2009.  Doing her business part time started to be more demanding due to the orders she received and later on she decided to retire from her full time job at Gaborone Senior Secondary School.

“I saw the potential in the florist business and developed this amazing love of being a florist.  We offered

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wholesale distribution of flowers and florist accessories in the beginning, but had to evolve with the changes in the industry as more companies joined the florist industry offering fierce competition,” she said.

To beat competition, Siele said they have embarked on aggressive marketing and referrals have been speaking volumes for her as she boasts of high profile clientele including Botswana Qualifications Authority, Avani Hotel, First National Bank of Botswana, Botswana University of Agriculture and Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency.

She currently gets her flowers from South Africa and has a staff compliment of four people.

“Our customers love our work so I believe we are doing a good job,” but the optimism quickly dissipated replaced by a momentary silence.

“We used to have a lot of event organisers as part of our customer base, but now they source their own flowers,”she said revealing one of the challenges she faces .

To fill the opening gap in clientele base and to create revenue streams, Siele says they are making plans to have a florist-training programme, as there is a huge demand for a local programme as most train in South Africa.

Another prospect that Siele says her company is looking into is to grow some of the flowers sold at their store themselves, adding that they have already identified a South African company that will help them with training and the flowers to plant.



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