By: Tebogo Mokwena
In order for a business to reach its full potential, it is crucial that owners ensure that their business planning and operations are aimed at sustainable growth. This is according to Kutlwano Mokone, who told Vutivi News that her experience in running various types of businesses, had helped her make a success out of Kay Gems, which sells home fragrances and body products.
She said it was also important that business owners understood the type of products and services they offered to access customers. Growing up, Mokone sold sweets and shoes to her classmates and teachers. She obtained a BCom in marketing and after that started stocking bracelets and bangles which she purchased for the international e-commerce platform, Alibaba.
However, she said felt that her business was not up to scratch and mediocre. This was because it was largely informal, and she had put little to no effort into reaching new customers because she did not have a clear vision of where she was going with her business. As soon as she started Kay Gems, she decided to formalise the business and put in more effort to reach customers. Today she manufactures and sells linen mist sprays, bath salts, and reed diffusers.
She used to manufacture hand-made soaps, but she stopped because some of the ingredients had to be imported and cost too much. Mokone said that started Kay Gems, which is based in Randburg, from scratch. “Since my businesses were unregistered and informal, I did things differently this time and focused first on formalisation,” she said. “Now everything is structured and we know where we are selling.” Whereas in the past she used to sell in one spot and not expand her client base, now she was using social media to sell her products.
Mokone also regularly attends markets, especially at Victoria Yards in Johannesburg, which is held monthly. This has helped her grow her client base. Mokone said that she decided to start Kay Gems because she had always been a fan of self-care. “With the bath salts that we make, they are recommended for people with body aches, and they remove toxins,” she said. “We also have wild orchid bath gems which make the skin soft and create an aromatic environment.” Mokone believes that her business has a lot of growth potential, and aims to open a store within the next 10 years. She is also looking to branch into manufacturing clay masks, body oils and lotions.