De Aar designer Fundiswa Gxoyiya had to walk away from her business to fully understand the lessons she needed to learn, before coming back stronger than ever. Gxoyiya ran her business, BlackFura, which designs clothes and furniture, from its inception in 2008 until 2013 when the pressure became too much for her. Speaking to Vutivi News, Gxoyiya said that she started BlackFura after she graduated with a National Diploma in Clothing Management from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 2007.
“When I was in tertiary, I initially studied Retail Business Management in the first year. However, I realised that I am a creative person and I love working with my hands. So, the following year I enrolled in the clothing management course,” she said. “I was blessed to find that my family fully supported me from the first day until today,” Gxoyiya explained that years after starting her business, she was forced to stop because of the limited marketing opportunities in De Aar. She had also made costly mistakes.
“I wasn’t disciplined financially and would use my money for whatever came to mind because the money was there,” she said. “I also undervalued myself to the point where I undercharged my work and allowed clients not to pay on time, which would worsen by them not paying at all.” She decided to close the shop. “I told my parents that I was very depressed and felt like I didn’t belong in a 9-to-5 job,” she said.
“My parents stood behind me and supported me.” But now Gxoyiya is back in business in De Aar, with a more mature and focused mindset. BlackFura specialises in traditional and wedding clothing, upholstery and small furniture pieces. Gxoyiya now has a client base outside of the Northern Cape and has employed five people. The designer said what had also motivated her, was attending the Trade Africa Exhibition show in Durban last year, where she was exposed to an international market.
“As a result of that exhibition, I have set my sights on the international market, and I am currently in the process of obtaining an export certificate,” she said. “I want to see myself opening branches across Africa in the next few years before going international.”