By Ntsebeng Motsoeli
MASERU — Thirty-six-year-old entrepreneur, Ms Maleshoane Moea, is such an articulate and convincing speaker it comes easy to buy into her philosophies.
For instance, Ms Moea says all it takes to run a successful enterprise is passion and skill — and that while money is important, one does not necessarily need large sums of it to start a business.
You can go a long way by starting small, Ms Moea says matter-of-factly, and this must be the attitude she had upon launching her design and fabric shop, Xquisite Fabric, at the Maseru Mall in December 2012.
“When I opened the shop, all I had were a few fabrics, a little money from my business consultancy and personal savings. But what was important then was that I had a clear idea about the market I wanted to serve,” Ms Moea said in an interview this week.
“There wasn’t much variety because the market was only offering the same type of material. People were going to South Africa to find other fabrics.”
According to Ms Moea, the demand she saw rekindled her passion for fashion and design — the love for beautiful clothing she always had since she was a little girl.
“I have always had passion for fashion and quality fabric, so when I saw the opportunity, I could not resist it. It was time to show what I could do with the skills I had. I had also taken fashion design lessons while I was at university, so this was my time to showcase my talent and make money.”
Xquisite Fabrics has been doing fairly well, states Ms Moea, since it opened its doors to the public.
“We have grown from where we were when we opened. We only used to have 20-something fabrics on our shelves; now we have hundreds of material.”
Ms Moea’s shop is now producing female kaftans and men’s shirts and pants, which are being marketed as far as Australia and the United States of America.
She imports a variety of material from South Africa, Dubai, Ethiopia and India.
“It is such an exciting business, especially when people from South Africa come to our shop to buy material which we have bought from their country.”
Ms Moea says she does not have a problem running her business from an upmarket mall where rent is relatively higher.
“Some people might say one cannot afford the rent at a mall. But where you locate your business is determined by the kind of market you are targeting. I am targeting executives and ordinary people,” she added.
“For a business like this, you need to strike a balance between a populated location that does not have security and relaxation like a bus stop area, or at an upmarket mall where there is a sense of security.”
She says she has big dreams that one day, Xquisite Fabrics would be an internationally-renowned business that forays into world markets.
“We hope to expand our business in the future so that not only individuals buy our products. We hope to reach a stage where retailers from across the world can place bulk orders with us.”
But Ms Moea says she is in no rush and taking it one day at a time.
“I want to start small and give myself and the business time to develop. I first want to master the basics of this kind of business; that will give me the confidence and time to familiarise myself with the laws, regulations and standards.”
A passionate businessperson, Ms Moea has also been certified by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) as an entrepreneurship and management trainer, through her consulting business.
“I train people on business management, and the importance of customer-care. I am very passionate about how customers are handled.
“We have connections with a number of local businesses for consultancy.”
Ms Moea added that she can help individuals identify their talents, which they could then develop into a viable business idea.
“One would also have to be passionate at what they do and acquire the relevant technical skills.”
With these attributes, it becomes clear why Ms Moea believes anyone can run a good, moneymaking business.