Entrepreneurship is not for the faint-hearted. It is a journey filled with hard work, determination, disappointment, life learned lessons and growth. At times you will fall hard on your back but the most important thing is to get up, dust yourself and keep moving forward. This is what Rhulani Hlungwane mastered over the years of being a businesswoman.

37-year old Rhulani is a force to be reckoned with. She managed to transform a small events management business into a big brand in just a short space of time. Before entering the world of events, she used to sell handbags as a means of survival and be able to help Masingita Chavalala (her then flatmate) to pay rent. Rhulani said that she was at her lowest during the time she was selling handbags. She had just gotten released from her job in Cape Town and was forced to return back to Gauteng.

Things were starting to look up when her cousin presented her the opportunity to supply chairs. Her first purchase of chairs were 100 and after three months, she purchased another 100 making it a total of 200 chairs. Unfortunately, 150 chairs were stolen which broke her completely but nonetheless, Rhulani did not lose hope. She took an overdraft and bought more chairs and the rest was history. Bold Pearl was born!

The secret to business growth is to reach 1% per day to market your business which makes growth a lot faster. Most black businesses don’t invest in marketing which is a major problem. I spent 20-30 per cent every month of my income on marketing” Rhulani says.

At some point, she had to stop marketing because of a stock shortage. Now it is no longer compulsory for her to stock anymore because her main focus is opening branches and spreading her stock widely. Like any businessperson, she does encounter difficulties or challenges such as fraud, unproductive staff and theft. She has insured all her stock to prevent a shortage. Rhulani understands that in order for her business to grow, the stock is the main priority.

Initially, she started with R1000 and now it has multiplied to 3.6 million in five years. Rhulani never intended on starting an events management business but due to circumstances, she had no chance. In the beginning, she ventured into the hospitality industry where she studied Food Service Management at Witwatersrand University where she focused on the front house- customer service at a restaurant because of her good interpersonal skills instead of the back house- kitchen area. When she left the hospitality industry, she went and did a BCom Honours in Supply Chain. Today she runs a day-to-day warehouse supplying chairs and décor for events.

Many people do this business for extra cash but I constantly educate myself to come up with new and innovative ideas in order for my business to stand out because there is a lot of us in this industry. I treat my business like a business. I am registered. I don’t run a spaza shop” Rhulani states.

Rhulani also said that for Vision 2025 meaning in the year 2025 she wants to register Bold Pearl as a franchise because she wants to be the first Black entrepreneur to ever start an events management franchise business. Rhulani Hlungwane originally was born and raised in Giyani Township, Limpopo and is a mother of two (one is expected very soon).

Makhaukani chavalala

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