Many people prefer working alone to avoid the complications of interpersonal relationships at work. This is more so for young people who relate the words ‘group work’ to the stress and horrors that often come with group projects. But this is not the case for Bread Winner founder Serame Booysen, 25, and shareholders Lehloonolo Mothobi, 24, and Tokelo Ntsane, 22. And no, they do not bake bread.
“Our name means the person who’s heading up a home. When we started, we knew who our target market was. So, it’s based on our target market,” said Booysen. The cleaning business is aimed at people who work. It primarily washes sneakers but also includes couches, mats, curtains, blankets and even cars. The business is able to achieve this seamlessly despite the lack of running water, through the use of a Jojo tank, which they purchased themselves.
“We bought this Jojo with the money from the business. We fill it when it’s halfway so that we never run out, especially when it comes to things like water cuts. It’s definitely one of our assets,” Booysen said proudly. It is often said that friends and business do not mix, but this group considers themselves an exception to this adage. “We’ve known each other from a young age but when we come here, we come with the mentality of business. Friendship aside, we push one thing,” Booysen told Vutivi News.
They are not without challenges though. The business is situated in a busy main street in Rocklands, Bloemfontein, right in between a retail centre, a police station and a public clinic. The construction of Moshoeshoe Road has not been completed. “On our side, there is no tar, so cars create dust if they pass by. So, especially with white sneakers, when that happens, we can’t dry them inside the shack because it’s shady. And that causes a re-wash and therefore delaying the time a customer is supposed to get their shoes back,” Booysen said.
Established in 2020 during the hard lockdown, Booysen and his business partners saw that there were multiple opportunities for their business. “There is not a lot of competition, we are the only ones around in the area. There is also a possibility of creating jobs for the youth,” Booysen explained. Booysen used to have a regular job, however, the entrepreneurial journey with its ups and downs, was an adventure too attractive to ignore.
“I used to work, but I decided to leave and be my own boss. People will always talk, but as a leader, one has to take a route that will make you happy. In business, happiness is key, whereas at work you are depressed because of things like long hours and low pay.”