Entrepreneur Q&A – Bronwyn Short
Entrepreneurship in South Africa has become more and more popular over the last twenty years. This is largely due to the fact that if you want to live comfortably or earn more than an average income without going to university, you will likely have to start your own business. This is an incredible turn of the tide because entrepreneurship essentially creates jobs and it boosts South Africa’s economy.
Whilst it previously used to be predominantly male entrepreneurs in the South African business community it is amazing to note the increase in female entrepreneurs over the last 10 years. Women have taken the entrepreneurial world by storm as they did the workplace once.
The more I scroll through social media or catch up with friends back home the more I hear about women I know venturing out to start their own business.
As a female entrepreneur myself, this resonates deeply with me and I find that it gives me hope for the financial future of women in South Africa.
I know that when I started my own journey, I had no help or guidance (this is due to the fact that I was overseas working my day job and when I was home we were in and out of COVID lockdowns), it resulted in me making a lot of mistakes and I often felt alone and isolated.
It does not have to be this way for you!
I have since then realized the incredible power of the internet and the way in which it can be utilized to network and find support. Hence my decision to build a website that supports an online community of women.
The next four blogposts will showcase some incredibly successful and strong women who are using entrepreneurship to positively impact their communities whilst simultaneously providing for their families. They are dynamics and inspiring and I am so excited to share their answers with you.
I chose the questions very intentionally because I wanted them to provide some insight into various challenges or self-doubts that you may be facing or will face at some point in this journey. The purpose of this blogpost is to inspire you and to give you the push that you might need to start your own journey as an entrepreneur.
These women have identified their passion and poured their heart and soul into their businesses. They have faced incredible challenges, but they grew through the hard times and they have lived the words they speak. They are passionate about what they do, and you can feel it when you read their answers.
The first power house women I had the privilege to interview is Bronwyn Short.
She is the founder of In the Ivy. In the Ivy is an incredible brand built to showcase her unique art and design work. Bronwyn is incredibly talented at what she does and has built a beautiful, unique brand through hard work, dedication and authenticity.
So, without further ado, here is my interview with Bronwyn.
Tell us about yourself and your business:
I live on a farm in the Northern Cape with my husband and 5 dogs!
Moving to a farm gives a girl few options when it comes to work, and I struggled for a year thinking about what I want to do with my life.
Once I found illustration and design, I fell in love and have now been doing it full time for almost 2 years.
My little baby business has grown through Covid times and lockdowns and my aim is to just bring positivity with my designs!
Why did you decide to start your own business?
I decided to start my own business, firstly because I don’t do well taking orders from people so being my own boss is a huge plus.
Secondly because I live on a farm, I either had to make the choice of not working or finding my purpose that I can do from home! And I found my purpose in design and creating fabrics!
What are the secrets to your success?
I wouldn’t say it’s a secret but definitely consistency and patience!
Making sure to post regularly to draw people in, and to showcase my work and then to be patient waiting for clients!
It doesn’t happen overnight but consistently is definitely key!
What tips can you give for work/life balance?
Work/life balance doesn’t always exist for me because I am my business and I struggle to leave notification bubbles overnight, so I do tend to find myself working over weekends and past your average 9-5.
But I would say to keep allowing myself to take me days and to tell myself it’s okay to take time away from my iPad & laptop and just be in the moment.
What has been your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur?
Covid has definitely been the biggest challenge!
Illustration is definitely not always seen as a “need” to a lot of people but rather a “want” and something special and because Covid has affected so many people in our country, my business has definitely also taken a hit.
How did you persevere through the tough times?
I think any business can drain you a bit if things are going tough and give you doubt but just knowing that I get to do what I love every single day has definitely pushed me through the tough times and gives me motivation to keep going!
What do you want to achieve next?
I have new ideas all the time and they change constantly but I would absolutely love to grow my business so that I can start selling clothing with my own designed fabric! I hand make cushions with my custom fabric, but it obviously takes a lot of time, so production is quite low. So, to grow that would be an absolute dream!
What are some of the challenges you face regarding innovation and growth?
My personal challenges for growth are fear of failure and then another one would definitely be location! Being on a farm away from a lot of civilization and printers is quite tricky and is definitely a challenge.
What do you do for encouragement and motivation?
I mainly get my motivation from other artists that inspire me as well as nature and florals! And thinking about having a family also motivates me so much!
What advice can you give to women who are afraid to start their own business?
Just do it! You will never know what can happen if you don’t try it! It can be the best thing ever and you learn so much!
Bronwyn inspires me because of her willingness to take a risk and think outside of the box.
Living so far out on a farm limits ones options greatly but Bronwyn never let that stop her.
She found something she is passionate about and has turned it into a full blown business and simultaneously built a really strong brand for her business using social media platforms.
Despite COVID and all the challenges she faces with her geographical location she is still thinking about innovation and growth and plans to expand her business into the fashion realm. Bronwyn is a really great example of not letting your physical circumstances stop you from achieving your dreams.
Mr. Ford said it best, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.”
Never let your fear of failure or your brain talk you out of taking risks because success is normally just on the other side of risk and a whole lot of hard work.
Now I say hard work but as Bronwyn mentioned, when you love what you do, it hardly seems like work at all.
The long hours are a labour of love and you are there for all of it because you are passionate and committed to it.
I am so excited for Bronwyn and I am certain that In The Ivy is going to grow beyond her wildest dreams because she has built the company on the foundations of authenticity and love and she fuels it with hard work and dedication.
In the Ivy