Sarah Collins of Wonderbag, our 2016 Woman of the Future winner, offers insight into how she manages a successful brand.

What tips can you offer on building a successful international customer base?
Courage, bravery and having a local partner are the first things that come to mind. Depending on what you’re building, try to reach out to resources in that country. LinkedIn is a great platform for that. I had partnerships with Microsoft and Unilever, and I was able to springboard my growth and global brand from that. I gave them something, and they got me to the right people and places in turn.

What type of culture exists at Wonderbag? Do you have any tips for entrepreneurs trying to establish a healthy work culture?
We have a loving family culture; the people who join us have a passion for doing things differently. I make sure that people understand that if they’re coming only for the pay cheque, they are coming to the wrong place. We are about passion, purpose, magic and motivation! My advice to any entrepreneur is this: if you don’t guide the culture, it will form anyway – and that has the ability to destroy businesses very quickly. I didn’t get it right all the time, but with perseverance and consistently sticking to our mission and purpose, we have built a culture that I’m very proud of – even though it nearly broke me!

What sort of skills would you say a successful entrepreneur has?
Fearlessness and the ability to get stuff done. Also, a successful entrepreneur listens to their gut. They also don’t exceed budgets and don’t take on debt early (it’s really tough to manage the pressure).

How has winning the Woman of the Future award benefitted you and/or your brand?It was a turning point for me. I am not sure how, but it was. It is the one award that made me feel like I belonged where I needed to belong: right here in South Africa. Thank you for giving me the honour and privilege of the 2016 Woman of the Future Award.

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