If it is true that we become like the people we spend our time with, then I want to surround myself with entrepreneurial women. For the past 5 years I have done just that, finding and supporting start-up industries that have a fresh, driven, bad-ass lady at the wheel. In searching for my own ‘empire’ to build, I have enjoyed spending time with and soaking up the passions and habits of these women.

They have taken ‘Damn-the-Man’ to a whole new level, creating their own businesses from nothing and taking on every challenge with purpose.

I decided that because I admire these particular 4 so much, I would do a series dedicated to them, showcasing their businesses and digging a little deeper into the psyche that got them to where they are today. (If you are thinking about starting your own business one day too, read on for some great tips!)

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Starting with MOVEPRETTY. I see Annelize as the fairy-god-mother of work out gear. Basically, she took the contents of a grimy, sweaty gym bag and hit it with a glitter stick. If ever there was a brand name that encompasses exactly what a product does for a person, MOVEPRETTY is it!

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I spoke to Annelize all about this fabulous line of athleisure wear – athletic and leisure women’s clothing:

 

pink_shoe Pami:

How did you come up with the name?
unnamed Annelize:

It started out as a slogan, but was so well received we dropped the original name and just used MOVEPRETTY. What better way to brand an active clothing line than with a verb?

pink_shoePami:

You have a business partner. How did the two of you come up with the idea?
unnamed Annelize:

Mari is a triathlete training for the Olympics with a business background. While studying for her MBA, she did a project about retail and looked at women’s active wear. She realized there was a real demand for it in SA, and that’s where I came in. I have a strong marketing, retail and branding background, and studied fashion design part time as a hobby. We got together and started it up as a fun project on the side, just to feed our creative needs, but loved it so much that we decided to take it more seriously. We took on the challenge and by June 2014 launched officially with 3 designs. People loved it and we were very well received.

pink_shoePami:

Working with a friend? Brave move?

unnamed Annelize:

Ours is a born partnership! We are great together because our strengths are very complimentary. We bring completely different things to the table, but have the same goals and the same values. It’s very important to have the same values when you start any business with a partner, even when it’s with a friend.

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pink_shoePami:

How awesome that you get to work with a friend and do something you love! Most people use their spare recreational time to go shopping or watch a movie. I love that you were so pro-active and used your creativity to do what it was meant for – to create.

unnamed Annelize:

I think people often dream big, but are too afraid to leap. I decided not to think of it as leaping, but as taking little stepping-stones with the eye on the goal. It’s hard work and you can’t be lazy – it takes up all your free time – but it’s the most rewarding thing ever.

pink_shoePami:

As it is part time, what do you do the rest of the time?

unnamed Annelize:

I’m still working in marketing and social media for another company – after all, I still have to pay my bills! One must be realistic.

pink_shoePami:

But you have high hopes for the future.

unnamed Annelize:

Of course. That’s the dream. I didn’t see MOVEPRETTY as a race – we have given ourselves a very healthy time frame to get off the ground (3 – 5 years) and what ever we earn goes back into the business. We are not rushing anything. We are target market based and are applying feedback rather than making 30 000 units and not being able to sell. The proof is in the product. Every garment is planned in so much detail (thread, trimmings, design, fabric, colours, patterns) because we want real women to feel beautiful in our gear, and be able to move freely in it. Also, nothing gets made unless Mari has worn it, worked out in it, and loved it.

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pink_shoePami:

And I love your gear! I already own quite a few of your pieces and always want more. I visited your pop-up store in Kloof street, but you have an on-line store usually. How do you get your brand out there?

unnamed Annelize:

We have been active at expos and by utilizing pop-ups, but social media is the future of marketing. It’s very personal and extremely effective to engage with target markets. We are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, starting out with only those three to be able to service them well and learn more about how it behaves. In the future we hope to go on Pintrest and start a newsletter that is beautiful and inspirational (not just copy). We use advertising like Facebook ads. I think people click because it’s new and a specialty product – people are curious. Then they tag friends. Often, those who share pictures of themselves in our gear tag back to us too. Social media has helped us a lot with on-line sales – we are very ahead of the curve in SA with that.

pink_shoePami:

What does it mean to you to be a business owner and an entrepreneur in SA?

unnamed Annelize:

MOVEPRETTY is a realization of my dreams for my career. I have always wanted to own a business, one that creates jobs and pushes back into our economy. To make a difference we should all be entrepreneurs. This country has so much to offer and it’s us – we make the difference. But we have to make a success of our own passion and do it locally.

pink_shoePami:

And the practicality of owning a business in this tough market?

unnamed Annelize:

The biggest thing is to stay humble and persevere. The baby steps are the same steps that eventually get you far, not the giant leaps. I can’t afford to take giant financial risks, so we make tiny but unbelievably calculated decisions. The rewards are so much sweeter. Very scary, but no other job has ever given me so much satisfaction.

pink_shoePami:

What about your personal life? How does it affect that?

unnamed Annelize:

Time management is very important. My time and resources are my own, so I need to treat them with respect and find a balance. I have never worked so hard in my life (15 hours a day and always on weekends too) but I have boundaries for when things have to wait so I can have a personal life too. I try to make sure that my identity isn’t bound up in the business. It is possible to be people oriented and business oriented at the same time, you just have to be aware. If you have a healthy perception of yourself, and if things fail, it doesn’t mean that you fail. I am surrounded by a super support structure in my friends and family, and particularly my husband. He is my biggest support in every way.

Annelize Kotze and Mari Rabie, co-founders of MOVEPRETTY

Annelize Kotze and Mari Rabie, co-founders of MOVEPRETTY

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What struck me most about Annelize is how realistic and positive she is. Those two things so often don’t play well together, but she has married them in perfect harmony. The more positive she is, the more realistic she is able to be, not trying to squeeze the thing dry from the get-go but enjoying the process for what it is.

It is clear Annelize loves what she is doing and has so much fun bringing that passion alive. (Mari too – I hope to meet her one day!) For that I admire her immensely, and will support more than just her brand – I support her vision.

You go girl! Keep moving, and keep it pretty. I”ll keep coming back for more and I’m sure many others will too.

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Go check out their website and Facebook (follow these links) and buy yourself an item or two – I highly recommend them!

www.movepretty.co.za

Facebook/movepretty


ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF MOVEPRETTY