Lethiwe Dlamini Shabalala

Makoti Life & Style

What does your company do?

Picture a world where African craftsmanship meets contemporary bridal elegance. That's the essence of Makoti Life and Style, where we've turned traditional skills into a thriving modern African bridal boutique and wedding supply hub.Our journey began with a mission: to empower rural women artisans, giving them a platform to showcase their talent and lift themselves out of poverty. Today, we're proud to say that Makoti has not only transformed lives but also captured the hearts of brides worldwide.In just five years, we've grown exponentially, generating over 500,000 in sales and creating 68 job opportunities. With a social media following of 482,000, our reach knows no bounds; Makoti life & Style has a CSI programme called Isithebe Skills & Entrepreneurship program which is a business accelerator initiative that empowers rural women through identifying entrepreneurial talent in rural areas and nurtures it to achieve sustainable growth. These programs are designed to foster entrepreneurship, enhance skills, and ultimately contribute to the economic development of the region.

What is your biggest success?

Makoti Life & Style’s business journey is a remarkable tale of resilience, innovation, and community empowerment. Here are some highlights that showcase the pride of this enterprise: Foundation and Growth: Lethiwe Dlamini, the founder, established Makoti Life & Style five years ago with a vision to create a platform for women to sell bridal goods and services directly to soon-to-be brides. The business has expanded to include an aesthetics clinic, diversifying its offerings and providing additional services to the community. Community Impact: Makoti Life & Style has been instrumental in creating job opportunities for local women and youth, contributing to the economic development of Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal1. The Isithebe Skills and Entrepreneurial Development Program was launched to empower women by helping them develop skills in crafts and support the launch of their own non-profit organizations and enterprises. Recognition and Awards: Lethiwe Dlamini’s dedication and hard work were acknowledged when she was awarded second place at the Hollywood Bets’ Bambelela Business Awards She received a cash prize of 70 000.00 and media exposure, which further boosted the visibility of Makoti Life & Style. Challenges and Perseverance: Future Aspirations: Makoti Life & Style aims to continue its growth trajectory, supporting more women in the community and expanding its training sessions1. The journey of Makoti Life & Style is a testament to the power of dreams and the impact one individual can have on the lives of many. It’s a story that resonates with the spirit of entrepreneurship and the importance of supporting local communities. 🌟

What has been your biggest hurdle?

Last year we had an encounter with our store branch in Newcastle having to close due to rental issues and these came after the business wasn't doing well with sales and considering that the place we used as our office was expensive, we failed to keep the space and this forced us to move back to the location where we had no space for our shop/ boutique and these change forced a lot of things to come to a stand still almost causing the business to collapse, since we had to retrench 80 percent of our staff, since we could no longer afford their payments, this move took a lot of strain from the business and we were almost at the edge of closing down and going bankrupt.