Gontse Kgokolo or the entrepreneurial ambition

Gontse Kgokolo, a pioneering figure in South African business, is known for her diverse businesses and rightly bears the title of serial entrepreneur. Her entrepreneurial spirit was evident from an early age: at just eight years old, she boldly launched her first business, selling hand-knitted scarves and hats.

By Farai Diza, Johannesburg

« I developed a thirst for solving the world’s problems. Helping people has always been at the heart of my entrepreneurial journey. It was the beginning of a chapter and I fought hard to ensure that success stuck to me like a tick on a cow’s coat, » Gontse Kgokolo recalls of his early entrepreneurial ventures.

In 2012, Gontse Kgokolo officially registered several businesses, including graphic design company Gomay Graphics and KwaneleSA, inspired by her personal journey with ethnic hair. However, her appetite for success intensified in 2019, prompting her to take a bold step. Having identified a gap in the beauty market, she withdrew her savings to seize the opportunity.

« Taking out my savings was a big gamble. I ordered 100 brushes to test the market and three months later, I launched an e-commerce website with my business partner, Tebogo Ramurundu. We made our first sale in June. So far, we’ve sold over 2,000 brushes with an excellent rating of 4.7 out of 5 on Takealot, » she says proudly.

However, the journey has not been without its bumps, with department stores putting up formidable barriers. Gontse Kgokolo faced a daunting ultimatum from a major retailer who was only prepared to list her as a supplier if she removed the distinctive black packaging – a decision that would have cut the product off from its target audience.

Despite these challenges, Gontse Kgokolo persevered. Instead of succumbing to adversity, she saw obstacles as latent opportunities. Her vision of setting up a retail store to support local beauty brands came to fruition in 2018, when she met Rearabetswe Dire. Their chance meeting at markets, where they were both promoting their respective brands, blossomed into a partnership that resulted in Edenvinne Local Beauty Store at Menlyn Park Shopping Centre.

« We envisioned a hub that would give small, local businesses a chance to bounce back after the rejection they’d suffered in the big stores. The markets showed that these businesses were often overlooked by the big retailers, who favoured international brands. So we joined forces and opened Edenvinne, » she explains.

Edenvinne has since become a brand synonymous with beauty, embodying the resilience and determination of its founder. Gontse Kgokolo wants to leave a legacy as an inspirational young mother who overcame adversity to achieve her goals.

Her journey is a testament to the importance of embracing failure and turning challenges into opportunities. Gontse Kgokolo has not only created several successful brands, she has also become an embodiment of empowerment in the beauty industry.

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