Karabo M.

MAPULA Swim

What does your company do?

MAPULA Swim is a South African swimwear brand owned by Cape Town travel blogger Karabo Masedi who founded her business in August of 2020 and eventually launched earlier in December much to her customers’ anticipation. Following mounting global pressure on clothing brands and manufacturers to take climate change and sustainability into consideration, MAPULA, named after her mother and defined as “mother of rain” in Sepedi, uses the principles of slow fashion to ensure each handmade item yields no waste in its creation. MAPULA Swim’s inception roots itself in the ever-growing need to see more body representation and diversity amongst swimwear models as well as the opportunity to be one of a few black-owned swimwear brands that sources and manufactures its products on South African soil. For MAPULA’s entry into the South African market, Karabo wanted to make sure the brand made a statement that boasted “loud, proud and African”, hence the striking and vibrant swimsuits that are tailored to fit women sized from XS to XL in a selection of styles and cuts.

What is your biggest success?

My biggest success has been saving up money to start a small business during the pandemic. A business that mostly relies on people enjoying the outdoors and especially the beach. Even though the beaches were closed during the launch of the MAPULA Swim, my team and I worked with what we had and turned it into a success.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

Not being able to find the right cut, make and trim services or financial advise or even efficient access to banking support has been one of the biggest issues. Access to markets as well has proven to be something that has not be open to myself and many other small business owners in the same industry which is frustrating. Capital for infrastructure and operating costs or funding is not available at all because the moment I mention that I am in fashion and bikinis, it is not seen as something vital to invest in.

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