The Top Tech Tools for Women in Business programme, conceptualised and presented by the Cape Innovation & Technology Initiative (CiTi), aims to create an empowering atmosphere for women who are eager to infuse technology into their businesses.
We caught up with programme alumni Stacey Jane Smith, who shared her business journey with us.
The female founder is the brains behind African Secret, a female-owned business based in Cape Town that produces wellness personal care products to relieve common ailments and uplift both physical and emotional well-being.
“I registered the business in 2008 with a dear friend, who has since gone back to thrive in corporate. In 2017 I launched my range of wellness products,” shares Stacey.
Her interest in natural ingredients and natural remedies for common ailments sparked when she was pregnant.
“I became aware of the many harmful ingredients found in commercial products, and that’s when I started developing personal care products using natural ingredients. What started as a hobby, and a way to protect my child from harmful ingredients, soon sparked interest from friends, family and neighbours with the irresistible natural aromas of my concoctions, and that interest soon turned into sales.”
She adds that her passion for business could be traced when she was much younger.
“I have always been passionate about creating and selling quality products. Back in high school, I used to make jewellery with leather and pendants, and black rubber bangles (called zombies). I was fortunate to be part of a programme called Junior Achievement, which taught high school kids different aspects of running a business. I guess that’s where it all began.”
Since her business journey started, Stacey has enjoyed many successes, one highlight being a runner up in the CANSA Women In Business Awards – Western Cape.
Another highlight was joining the Women in Business programme.
“The Women In Business programme has accelerated my business to be able to thrive in this digital era, which has allowed me to be more efficient and in turn – more productive and creative.
” I highly recommend this programme for female entrepreneurs who are already in business. Besides the invaluable lessons from top-class facilitators, our group of female entrepreneurs continues to learn from and inspire each other.”
And although she has experienced challenges on her journey, she believes it’s how we choose to overcome them that will turn them into either obstacles or valuable lessons.
“I am grateful that my business has managed to thrive during this pandemic. I was able to reintroduce my Hand and Surface Sanitiser (which I launched during the last Western Cape Water Crisis) with a new and improved look, feel and formula. I’ve partnered up with a local clothing factory to produce my own range of fabric face masks. I’ve also managed to be able to donate to a few charities and homes.”
Going forward, she would like to grow her business and expand her offering.
“I would like to expand my offering to incorporate indigenous plants and natural supplements, as we have an abundant plant kingdom and wealth of knowledge in the Western Cape.”
If you are a female founder/CEO and would like to participate in the Women in Business Programme for 2020, apply now.