Founder of Melaire Linens, Melanie Medell took the time to share her entrepreneurial journey as a woman and the support and role IDC has played in the growth of her business.
When did you decide to go into business and how has your journey been so far?
A business journey is like a colourful quilt woven together by highs and lows, challenges and successes, losses and wins. Its been a journey of growth and learnings. Nothing is static in business except tax .
How difficult has it been for you as a business woman to establish yourself in business?
It is not a myth that it is harder for a woman than a man to establish themselves. Our country is very unequal and a black woman has to work so much harder than a man. But depending on your level of determination and the strength of your network, success is inevitable (of course that depends on your interpretation of success).
Do you think there are enough women business owners in the clothing and textiles sector?
No, because the sector is not the most lucrative, financially. Our country, with its unions and strikes, makes this industry undesirable.
IDC has contributed in assisting your business, what has been the impact of their support on your business?
The IDC is a very helpful organization, they don’t just fund you but also give you support in how to run the business when doing due diligence on your company.
How many employees do you currently have?
We have ten employees.
In the beginning, how did you learn about the IDC and its services?
I learned about the IDC from a roadshow that they did some time ago.
Where do you want your business to be in ten years’ time?
I would like to have some of the workers to have
shares and have a female partner. This is so that the business will always be pro-women.
What advice would you give women who are planning to start or run their own businesses?
Research the market you wish to serve. Have savings to sustain your personal expenses. Network. Have a mentor or join women organisations, as you will learn a lot and connect with other women.
What is your general message to women this women’s month?
Take care of yourself first. Make time for yourself to breathe every week. Remove yourself from toxic environments. Build up other women and that way you build-up a sisterhood in business.