Bathabile Masilela, Founder & Owner of Bathabile Boutique is a South African born and china based entrepreneur, who transitioned from a 9-5 job to entrepreneurship for self fulfillment. Today, this Lady boss is putting in all the work and accomplishing her dreams a day at a time.
Can you briefly describe yourself and your business?
I always seem to find this question a little difficult to answer simply because I never really know what to say when describing myself. I’ll say this though, I see myself as an ambitious young female who’s driven and dedicated to living life to the fullest and accomplishing her dreams.
My business is an online boutique. I sell clothes to men and females, shoes, handbags and facial products. I also supply the goods in bulk to small business owners in South Africa, Botswana and Lesotho.
What is it like being a female entrepreneur, and why did you chose to be one?
Being a female entrepreneur is amazing, I enjoy being self-employed but there are obviously some challenges to it as well. I chose to be self-employed because I was tired (and mainly bored) of working for other people.
What new innovation have you introduced to your business?
My business now caters mainly to small business owners who are in need of a supplier and want to buy clothes or handbags etc in bulk.
What will you say is responsible for your success so far?
Besides God, I would add responding to people’s needs and trying to be ahead of time with the latest fashion trends.
In your opinion, would you say that there are any unique challenges that female entrepreneurs face?
Yes. In my opinion I would say a male dominated society and competition. I feel like the fashion industry (among others) is becoming really saturated and more and more people are doing what I’m doing so competition is definitely tough.
What values and principles have helped you so far?
Honestly, transparency and doing unto others what you want done to you. People will always remember how you treat them, and I always try my best to make sure my clients are satisfied. You can’t always make everyone happy, there are certainly some difficult clients but I always go out of my way to be as honest as possible and as transparent as possible.
Why did you decide to go into this particular line of business?
I love fashion, I enjoy dressing up and I find absolute joy in helping others so this line of business is perfect for me.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced, and what’s kept you going?
I’ve faced some challenges with regards to South African customs in the past. I was in a situation onetime where due to incomplete documentation by a Chinese shipping company, my packages were stuck at customs for about 3 weeks. I had to deal with angry clients who vowed never to do business with me again. Another challenge has been competition. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of people who do what I do especially selling online. What’s kept me going is the passion I have for what I do and the compassion I have for helping others. I’m currently branching out and donating clothes from my boutique to less privileged people, orphanages and communities which has always been something dear to my heart.
What’s your five-year plan for your business?
Hopefully to branch out and have some franchises in the future.
What do upcoming female entrepreneurs need to do to be successful in this path?
They need drive, passion, ambition and determination. I believe when you have these qualities you’re bound to be doing what you love.
The LLA Lady Boss Series is a weekly interview series that highlights the achievements and entrepreneurial journeys of African female entrepreneurs. The idea is to showcase the Leading Ladies who are transforming Africa and the African narrative through enterprise and business.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes leadership, inclusion and diversity for women of African descent.
If you know any kick-ass women of African Descent doing phenomenal things in enterprise, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and she could possibly be featured.