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KHALALA www.khalala.com

PROUDLY AFRICAN | TRULY INTERNATIONAL ISSUE NO 2 | JUNE 2016

SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESSES IN FRANCE


KHALALA

PROUDLY AFRICAN | TRULY INTERNATIONAL


FIND US

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@KHALALAMAGAZINE KHALALAMAGAZINE

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KHALALAMAGAZINE

KHALALA

WWW.KHALALA.COM info@khalala.com


EDITOR’S NOTE COUCOU FROM PARIS... This entire issue is dedicated to SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESSES IN FRANCE. In this special edition, South African Entrepreneurs and South African product-based businesses in France share their entrepreneurial success stories and give practical ideas and strategies to African small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) attempting to do business in France. Through KHALALA™ Magazine, our aim is to assist African SMEs create sustainable growth through successful expansion into international markets. Our objective is to highlight Africa's world-class products and services to the global markets, thereby strengthen continental economic growth, entice job creation and encourage enterprise development of the African smaller entrepreneurial manufacturers.

Mahadi is a South African (born in Lesotho), currently living in Paris with her husband and two kids. She holds a Masters degree in International Business, obtained with Summa cum laude from Grenoble Graduate School of Business in France. She speaks English, French and Sesotho.

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NOMAZA NONGQUNGA OWNER: Undiscovered Canvas™ French Riviera

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Thank you for enabling us to become an indespensable part of the globalisation of the African continent and its economies.

oa l e f e t Na

!


KHALALA

CONTENTS JUNE 2016

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CHARLOTTE TUMI FELIX-FAURE OWNER: ITU Espace Design™ Grenoble, FRANCE

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NONTSIKELELO VELEKO CO-OWNER: Leonandi™ Nimes, France

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KHALALA

CONTENTS JUNE 2016

50

THOMAS MOSSINO & MARC DU GARREAU OWNERS: Meat-Me™ Romorantin-Lanthenay, France

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GARETH COWDEN OWNER: Babatunde™ Stockists in France

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KHALALA

CONTENTS JUNE 2016

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JAN HENDRIK VAN DER WESTHUIZEN OWNER: JAN Restaurant™ Nice, FRANCE

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KOBUS BOTHA OWNER: My Braai™ Montreuil, France

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UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™


NOMAZA NONGQUAGA OWNER: UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™

WORDS & INTERVIEW BY: MAHADI GRANIER


COMPANY: UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™

P

LEASE INTRODUCE UNDISC O V E R E D CANVAS™

UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™: I created Undiscovered Canvas and registered it in South Africa in 2014 after identifying lack of exposure for South African artistic talent in France. I decided to take advantage of this niche and took it upon myself to promote South African artists in France. I do this by building contacts with and educating the French market about South African artists. I work to create and

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educate the French market about South African artists. I work to create and maintain contacts, act on behalf of the South African Artists to find and secure venues for the display and sale of their work, such as art shows, exhibitions and festivals, also finding and securing opportunities for juried competitions or commission work. Our primary objective is to source talented artists for collectioneurs, art passionnates and art events managers. We then give promotional talks about the artists, dealing with queries regarding clients, negotiating contracts with agents and gallery managers, manage all media

coverage and public relations between the artists, including contacting and meeting with journalists, newspapers as well as gallery representatives ,to gain publicity. KHALALA™: Why did you decide to open a business in France? UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™: People who are well travelled will know what it is like to be born in one country, establish a successful career only to leave it behind to move across oceans to live in another country, with a foreign culture, foreign


COMPANY: UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™ language and start all over again. When I was in South Africa, I had a successful career in pharmaceutical sales. When I arrived in France the natural progression would have been to continue in the same field and line of work. However, I was immediately faced with a language barrier as I landed in this country without knowing how to speak a single word of French. At that moment as I could no longer rely on my previous profession experience to enter the French corporate sector, I was forced to look beyond my past experiences and explore my passions and my talent. Luckily, I arrived in a country with lots of culture. Way back in South Africa, I was always drawn to art. I had lots

of friends who either owned art galleries or were artists themselves. But because my bread and butter came from pharmaceutical sales, I always considered art as a hobby and not once as a profession that I could pursue on a fulltime basis. Therefore, when I arrived in France six years ago, suddenly I was surrounded by rich culture that began to ignite and awake the artistic interest in me. What shocked me after living in France for six years is that I had not once seen any South African artist’s exhibitions. I decided to turn the shock into an opportunity and decided to be

the one to introduce South African artists to France. With every single passing year here in France, it became more and more clear that this is what I came here to do and this is what I ought to be doing. However, it was not up until 2014 when I decided to stop thinking about it go for it. So do I have technical artistic background? No. I’m I passionate about it? Oh, definitely. And beyond it just being a passion, I spent full four years doing market research in the environment within with I wanted to operate in, I studied the consumer behaviors and observed the trends. This extensive market research gave me a glass less through which I

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COMPANY: UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™

I could clearly see the type of art work that would appeal to the French. Therefore given that I had the artistic contacts and sourcing channels back in South Africa, I had to bring the product to market. It was a no brainer for me, so I went for it. Where I lived when I first arrived in France is what I believe gave a head start. I lived in Gordes in the Luberon, where many artistic masters have lived and worked. Many of them like Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, Chagall and Pablo Picasso lived and worked here in Gordes, which is one of the most touristic parts of France. Therefore already, I moved into an area

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where art is very strong. Three years later, I moved to the French Riviera, also known as the heaven for the rich. My life movement itself across France has therefore exposed me to art even more. The types of people I have come into contact with across this journey have influenced my growing knowledge and appetite for this type of work as they themselves are in one way or the other, within the artistic space. KHALALA™: Since you started operating, have you done any exhibitions? If so, how many to date? UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™: To date, I have done three exhibitions.

My first one, “A glimpse of South Africa: Apercu d’Afrique du Sud – Mandelieu-la Napoule” was held in the South of France (French Riviera) in September 2014. It lasted for two months and was a massive success, showcasing three South African artists: Mathias Chirombo, Andile Dyalvane and Kudakwashe Gavi. My second exhibition titled “I can feel them but I can not see them” by the artist Mathias Chirombo was held in Vallauris, Barbara Schull, 2016. My third exhibition titled:


COMPANY: UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™

“Reflections on blackness and identity” by three artists: Mathias Chirombo, Vusi Gxande and Reatile Moalusi was held in Cannes recently in April 2016. I have moving expositions along the French Riviera across strategic locations, where there is artistic demand. This part of France is highly touristic and the majority of the French and foreigners that reside here have a good appetite for visual art. KHALALA™: In terms of physical exhibitions, which locations do you typically target?

UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™: It varies from Hotels, Town Halls, art galleries or even unusual locations such as Plastic Surgeon’s hall, which is a strategic location for us to put up artist’s work. In my experience, majority of the people that undergo plastic surgery have proven to have a massive appreciation and interest in art. Our aim therefore is to bring the art to the potential clientele that through research, we know are potential buyers. KHALALA™: What has surprised you the most about promoting South African artists in France?

UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™: Not a surprise so to speak but rather a conviction. Through various random encounters, each time I told people I was from South Africa, there was an automatic curiosity that was evoked. There a curiosity of our culture, our history, how we are living now and how we are going to evolve in the future. We all know that the French are well travelled, however, I came to realize that South Africa as a travel destination here in France is still being portrayed JUNE 2016 KHALALA™ | 15


COMPANY: UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™

negatively. So when I decided to create Undiscovered Canvas, it was a way of exchanging our culture. As Nina Simone said “You cannot help it. An artist's duty, as far as I'm concerned, is to reflect the times.” I wanted the French to see South Africa in terms of our evolution, our culture and our future aspirations. And I felt like there was no better way to showcase such aspects than bring visual art to the French home soil. Therefore, there has not been a surprise, but rather a confirmation that what I initially thought was needed as a bridge between France and South Africa is actually working. JUNE 2016 KHALALA™ | 16

KHALALA™: What do you enjoy the most about working in international business? UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™: It is a challenge. It is an unknown territory, it is scary at the same time, it is exciting. The people that I get to meet daily as well as the doors that I have to force myself open are not doors that are easy to push. And the environment is forever changing. One client’s need can be the direct opposite of the other. Because art is so personal, one piece of art that I’m passionately selling to one person, can be completely uninteresting to the other client. So this environment challenges me not to have any barriers, pushes me to be open minded and not be afraid to

step outside of my comfort zone. It has challenged me to smash open doors that in an ordinary setting, I would be typically afraid to even knock on. KHALALA™: Do you collect art yourself? UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™: I am beginning to collect and I must admit, this was triggered by the artists that I have already represented here in France to date. As a token of their appreciation, they have all left me a piece of their art work at a discounted rate. I’m also starting to venture into artwork of other African artists. Even though I am not representing them as such, if I like their art work, I


COMPANY: UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™ collect it. KHALALA™: How do you select most of your consignments (artists to work with)? UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™: The visual artists that I contract are already exhibiting in South Africa, therefore are gallery worthy. I choose young artists that are hungry for success, which is something I feel when I interview them. I do not sign up an artist unless we have met and spoken face to face. This is critical for me in establishing that the artists I bring along are on the same wavelength as I am, to improve the potential collaborative success. The main criteria I use is establishing their artistic why. When I feel that art is their

life, that they live out of their artwork, then I know that the relationship will work and they will deliver. Quality of the canvas is a nonnegotiable in France. Besides talent and technique, quality is an overaching key aspect that will ensure sales. KHALALA™: Are your relationships exclusive? UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™: Yes, always, for France. KHALALA™: What has been the highlight of your business so far? UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™: The highlight to date is the Mathius Chirumbo, which took place in February 2016. The Vernissage was a

a great success and extremely well received. It was an exhibition done by all galleries at the same time. Therefore there was a benefit of overlow of mixing of different types of exhibiting artists who had invited their guests. Those guests ended up circulating around and landed in their numbers at the Mathius Chirumbo Vernissage. They were blown away. It is wonderful to see the French being surprised by technique. The French Riveria is known to have produced the best artists of all time, so to have them surprised by a 30 year old South Africa artist was a priceless reaction.

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COMPANY: UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™

KHALALA™: How important is it to have the artist physically present during the exhibition? UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™: It is extremely important, but unfortunately it is not always financially feasible. That is why as an agent, I make it my primary mission to take time to educate myself about my artists, because when I exhibit their work, I’m their messenger. I must sell the artwork as if I was there when the artist was painting, taking that shoot or craving that sculpture. KHALALA™: What are the greatest benefits that Undiscovered Canvas offers to South African artists? JUNE 2016 KHALALA™ | 18

UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™: We are targeting young, relatively unknown artists between the 30 to 40 year old age bracket, and we offer them international exposure across the South of France. This region of France enjoys over 10 million tourists annually therefore, offering a massive and highly diverse international clientele. The second benefit is financial independence. I work with high end artists, whose canvases are prestigious and command a great amount of financial income. With this type of positioning, I make sure that my artists focus purely on their creativity while I manage the marketing and financial aspect of

their business, which is my biggest strength. My ultimate goal is that with these partnerships, my artists do not even have to look for exhibitions in South Africa since their presence in France, through Undiscovered Canvas can sustain them financially in the medium to long term. KHALALA™: The creative industry, specifically Art, has recently been booming and is said to have become a safe investment. Do you agree?


COMPANY: UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™

UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™: Most of the people that come to my exhibitions buy the artwork out of passion. It is a personal investment purely based firstly on the love of art, and secondly to affirm the potential that they see in the artist. Art on its own in general has always been a good investment. In the past twenty years for instance, you will notice that the storK market has been all over the place in terms of return on investment. Most of the affluent clients who buy our art work do so to protect their assets. There are also other benefits that our clients derive from investing in art such as lucrative tax breaks. So in general, what I have seen are two types of clientele namely, those that buy for asset

protection and those that buy with an intention to invest in the artist. KHALALA™: What challenges or barriers do you typically face while running a business in France? UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™: Financing, which I believe is the biggest challenge across most small and medium sized enterprises. I would like to emphasize though that money is not the only required resource for success however, its absence does, to a very large extend, limit one in terms of execution. The other challenge is trust with respect to artists due to geographic distance. As they are not physically here, they do not get to see and appreciate the entire sale process unfold

and they rely on feedback that I transmit back to them and as expected, a lot gets lost in communication. I spend around 80% of my time building relationships with my artists, which compromises the core of my business. However, this is a challenge that is already turning into an opportunity as a result of the growth that the company is currently experiencing. KHALALA™: Besides the barriers mentioned above, competition is one of the biggest barriers to entry for small businesses. How is local competition?

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COMPANY: UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™

UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™: Huge. Most people come to the South of France for shopping, for the sun and for art. Therefore, art is one of the many items on their long list of things to do. You have countries all over the world, landing in the South of France to exhibit their artists. So I’m faced with competition from China, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Russia and the rest of the world. Therefore, for my small company to have secured market in this region is huge considering and I don’t always view competition as a barrier but rather an opportunity and validation that JUNE 2016 KHALALA™ | 20

I’m on the right track and in the right place. The small percentage of the market that I have secured for Undiscovered Canvas is huge in the bigger scheme of things since it is a small percentage of the elite market. The barriers to entry are huge, but since once has overcome them, only growth can flow from here going forward. South Africa is my golden ticket. It is my biggest differentiator and sets me apart from the rest. Therefore in that respect, I have no competition but complete market monopoly. KHALALA™: Raising capital is another big barrier. How did you

overcome this huddle? UNDISCOVERED C AN VAS™: The business model that I have in place was a risky one. The initial capital outlay for my company was 100% out of pocket. In 2014, I took out my savings and went down to South Africa for a month to go and handpick the artists that I wanted to represent. I hired a car and drove across all nine provinces and visited the artists in their homes. I wanted to establish trust, build rapport, meet them first to face and see who I was and what I was


COMPANY: UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™ trying to achieve. I realized very early on the importance of trust and how it could either break of make the relationship. You have to know that many of these artists are vulnerable as some of them have been exploited in the past. As a result, it takes them quite a while to recover from the negative experience and see an opportunity for what it really is. I knew at this point that those were relatively unknown, survivalist artists. Therefore, I took a conscious decision to fully fund the initial business activities, including transportation, insurance as well as the first exhibition. This investment paid off almost immediately. Through my first exhibition, I made some decent sales, and the margins from the sales have enabled me to book and pay for two fairs in April and October of 2016, which are extremely costly but fully paid up, thanks to the first exhibition sales. This has worked out in such a way that each artwork that I sell, enables me to market two more future artists, at no cost to them. I chose this business model because I believe in the work that I’m doing. I did not go out and seek funding on something I personally believed in. It was a risk I was willing to take and I’m glad I did, since it has already started to pay off. KHALALA™: Risks associated with the chosen business model?

UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™: Given that I pay for the transportation as well as the exhibition space, I’m carrying the whole risk. If I do not make a sale at an exhibition, having incurred all of the expenses, I’m the one that loses out and not the artist. The beauty of this model is that it acts as a motivation and pushes me to perform at my absolute best since it is an all or nothing situation. KHALALA™: What is the highest selling piece of art you’ve ever made? UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™: The sale was in 2015 and it was for a piece of art measuring 1.90m x 1.50m, a panting called “the gathering of the spirit” sold to a Nigerian business man. Because of the sales on this paining, I’m able to work one full year without requiring any financial injection. The earnings are simultaneously sustaining the artist for an entire six months before working on their next piece. KHALALA™: How important is France as a market for South African visual artists? UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™: Extremely important. If a South African visual artist can succeed in France, they can succeed anywhere in the world. France, USA, China and the United Kingdom combined account for the world’s largest share of the visual art market. It is true for Cinema as well with prominent platforms such as Cannes Film Festival,

MIPCOM, MIPTV etc. KHALALA™: Is collecting in France generally geared mostly towards passion or investment? UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™: A bit of both. KHALALA™: Who are the most influential French collectors? UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™: Bernard Arnault, Chairman and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton, the world’s leading luxury products group. Bernard is in direct competition with François Pinault, who is famous for having led Pinault-Printemps -Redoute (PPR) through a long battle over control of Gucci, the Italian fashion house, which began with an attempted takeover of Gucci by LVMH. These are the two biggest trend makers and richest men in France, both self-made billionaires. We also have Guillaume Houzé who is the President of the Galeries Lafayette Corporate Foundation. These three are France’s biggest art collectors at this present moment. KHALALA™: Are you reaching out to clients or are they coming to you? UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™: At the moment, I am reaching out to clients. However, my long term goal is JUNE 2016 KHALALA™ | 21


COMPANY: UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™

to build my brand to the point that clients start reaching out to me. I always make sure that I’m out there, making myself visible and known. I’m on major social media platforms, I have a company website and I’m always physically present at all the exhibitions, making sure that I create contacts and build long term relationships. As much as I’m there to represent and sell the artist’s work, I’m also selling the Undiscovered Canvas brand. KHALALA™: What projects are you currently working on? UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™: I have just finished exhibiting at the 13th Edition Festival International du Film PanAfricain in Cannes, JUNE 2016 KHALALA™ | 22

France. At this event, Undiscovered Canvas showcased a haunting and breath taking exposition called “Reflections on Blackness and Identity,” featuring two young South African photographers, Vus Ngxande and Reatile Moalusi and the mystic South African painter Mathias Chirombo. Through these young artists, Undiscovered Canvas offered a glimpse of how South Africans see the lingering effects of Apartheid on current society. The event attracted over 30 countries from across the world, spanning over a period of four days, starting 16 – 20 April. 50 African films were broadcasted this year, there were concerns, exhibitions and in the hotel where the exhibitions took place, I had the honour of dressing up the

walls with my artists. I was an official partner and I will be continuing with this partnership on an annual basis going forward. I’m also working on my next exhibition titled Black conscience, showcasing works of Vus Ngxande and Reatile Moalusi. They will be exploring what Steve Biko said "Black Consciousness is an attitude of the mind and a way of life, the most positive call to emanate from the black world for a long time". The Vernissage is taking place on 5th May, from 18:30 until 23:00, and the exhibition will last until the 02 June.


COMPANY: UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™

KHALALA™: The art market is an international business with bids increasingly coming from all corners of the world. Do the South African artists you represent enjoy the same surge in demand? UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™:The artists that benefit largely come

rom the United States, China andFrance. However, my challenge is to ensure that the artists that I work for enjoy the same surge in demand as these other artists from across the globe. KHALALA™: Tell us about any successful partnerships or strategic alliances you have

developed while running a business in France. How did those partnerships help you? UNDISCOVERED C AN VAS™: The partnerships that I have forged are in relation to the events that I carry out JUNE 2016 KHALALA™ | 23


COMPANY: UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™

across France. I work with known vintage photographers who help me not only with on location photography but with logistics in relation to transportation of the canvas. I also have established relationships with galleries across France. I also have strong relationship with the PanAfrican Film Festival Owner, who has an intensive network and knowledge in the sector, which I have benefited from immensely. He also has a radio show which I always go to whenever I have an exhibition to market and promote my artists. KHALALA™: To what do you attribute the lack of South Africa visual artists in France? UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™: The main reason is that even if the French are well travelled, they travel less in South Africa compared to other touristic destinations. JUNE 2016 KHALALA™ | 24

Secondly, there is the language barrier. Thirdly, there is still that notion of lack of understanding of South Africa in terms of geographic location. Sometimes when I say I’m South African, people often follow that question up with “from which country in South Africa”, confusing South Africa as the Southern part of the African continent and not a standalone country. Without international agent representation, it will be extremely difficult to penetrate the French market. Here in France, we have two types of visual artists. The first type has gallery representation that takes care of all the business aspect, allowing the artist to focus purely on the creative side. The second type are the independent artists that manage both the creative and business aspect of their work. The independent artists go out and look for the exhibition space themselves while also

focusing on their artistic creativity. Already, its extremely difficult for French artists to gain recognition in France, even with the advantage of being on the home soil. Therefore, it would be extremely difficult for a South African artist, living in South Africa to penetrate the French market without some sort of domestic representation. KHALALA™: What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from conducting business in France? UNDISCOVERED C AN VAS™: Nothing is impossible. Coming from nowhere, having no connections, no track record in this field, and having to break the barriers and get people to believe in my concept showed me that nothing in this


COMPANY: UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™

world is impossible. My mother is the one that first entrenched the idea in my head that nothing is impossible and I think when she first mentioned this, little did she know that those simple words would propel me to build up enough courage to open the types of doors that I am opening now. It can take longer to attain one’s goals and dreams but if the hunger and desire is deep enough, nothing is impossible. KHALALA™: What are your future goals? UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™: Continue to grow in the South of France and to expand beyond France and cover the rest of Europe. There is massive room for growth in France alone. I’ve only done a few exhibitions. The main interest still remains in France, without a doubt. What I have learnt through exhibitions in France is

that there are two types of markets here. The first market is the French themselves, who buy out of passion. The second, which I’m focus on is where clients purchase art pieces for investment. The clientele in the latter market prefer that the artist whose work they are prospecting has ideally been exhibited elsewhere, and ideally either in the United States of America or in London. For 2016, my calendar is fully booked for exhibitions in the South of France. However, in 2017, I have my eye set on an exhibition in Monaco in April, London and Berlin. My intention with these two cities is to circulate my artists outside of France, to ensure that when they come back to re-exhibit, they bring with them a much heavier portfolio and help them grow. The more I push the limits of how far I can take the artists, the more exposure they get. My company benefits, the artists benefit. It’s a win-win.

I also want to diversity and add sculptures into my portfolio. We have such a huge talent for sculptures in South Africa and in the French Riviera, beautiful and unique sculptures are in high demand. KHALALA™: In closing, what would you like to say to our readers who want to learn more about South African artists? UNDISCOVERED C AN VAS™: South Africa’s contemporary art scene is characterized by a myriad of remarkable artists who have paved the way for the next generation, and a fast-growing number of promising young artists. Using their artwork to interpret and portray South Africa’s socioeconomic realities, political challenges, rich traditions and diverse beauty, many South JUNE 2016 KHALALA™ | 25


COMPANY: UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™

African artists go beyond aesthetics, and dive deep into concept. These leading and emerging artists continue to influence the evolution of contemporary art in South Africa. And Undiscovered Canvas is here to shine a touch on these amazing artists for the international world to appreciate. KHALALA™: And finally, what advice do you have for South African artists who are interested in selling their art in France? UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™: For the majority of artists, they need to realize that success will ultimately come down to their effectiveness in marketing. Artists need to embrace the fact that both their work, themselves as artists, JUNE 2016 KHALALA™ | 26

are brands that must be marketed. So for South African artist who wants to break into the French market, I would first advise that they create an initial following aimed at expanding awareness of their brand. In this regard, it pays to get savvy to social media marketing techniques to help them achieve their objectives. Firstly, artists must optimize their websites. A website is now a cost of doing business, and it is essential for artists to have at least a minimal web presence. They must also consider blogging. Blogging is one of the best ways to get their art found by the search engines and provides excellent content to fuel their other social marketing activities. Artists must maximize their facebook presence and use it as a vehicle for promotion and

awareness-building. Having a facebook business page for their brand should be a nobrainer: it’s free, it’s simple to use and it gives them access to more than 1 billion people. Artists must be active on twitter, which is a great tool for building a following and promoting their art. They must also take advantage of Pinterest or Instagram, which are visually oriented social media sites and alternatives to promoting their work beyond Facebook and Twitter. Lastly, I would advise that they experiment with facebook ads,which is a lowcost way to promote upcoming shows and events. They must put themselves out there and be visible. █


UNDISCOVERED CANVAS™

nomaza@undiscovered-canvas.com www.undiscovered-canvas.com


iTU ESPACE DESIGN™


CHARLOTTE TUMI FELIXFAURE FOUNDER: iTU ESPACE DESIGN

WORDS & INTERVIEW BY: MAHADI GRANIER


s

COMPANY: iTU ESPACE DESIGN™

ince December 2009 Charlotte founded her own

company, iTU Espace Design, a faire-trade art and design boutique/ gallery working with Southern African artisans, artists and fashion designers. iTU Espace Design presents a unique collection of creations resulting from the rich artistic traditions and cultures of Southern Africa (South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe etc.). The creations have been designed and handcrafted by artisans and artists working within nonprofit organizations and by artists employing people from the townships and rural areas. The aim of this project is to support young talent and expose it to the world, while contributing to the livelihood of families and to sustainable development. iTU Espace Design works directly with artists and designers and also through fair-trade organizations that aim at improving the lives of the

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people from the disadvantaged communities by providing training and helping them to make a living from their art. The company aims at encouraging cultural exchange and discovery of the

Southern African art and cultures in France and internationally, in a responsible, respectable, and fair manner. It is now exporting products to countries like Japan, Russia, Saudi


COMPANY: iTU ESPACE DESIGN™

Arabia, North America and the EU. KHALALA™: Why did you decide to open a business in France? iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: I opened a business in France because I was already living here. It was an opportunity to promote South African creations that deserve to be seen and exported outside the country.

KHALALA™: What do you enjoy the most about working in international business? iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: I love meeting all different kinds of people and seeing people from different cultures appreciate South African creations. KHALALA™: What challenges or barriers do you typically face while running a business in France? iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: Well,

like everywhere now, France is also going through economic challenges, so sometimes people tend to buy cheap low quality products. The administrative aspect of running a business in France is another real challenge as well. KHALALA™: Besides the barriers mentioned above, competition is one of the biggest barriers to entry for small businesses. How is local competition? iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: I’m working with handmade products, and JUNE 2016 KHALALA™ | 33


COMPANY: iTU ESPACE DESIGN™

As I result, I enjoy no economies of scale. The local competition mostly produces in Asia, meaning they are able to sell at much lower prices. This poses a real challenge. Not only for me, but also for all those who are promoting ethical business practices as well as human hand made products. KHALALA™: Raising capital is another big barrier. How did you overcome this huddle? iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: I used personal finances and a small bank loan. That was in 2009. So the loan is paid off now. KHALALA™: France is the world’s fifth largest economy. It has the second largest consumer market in Europe with 65 million inhabitants. It is also a geographical hub for business within the European Union (EU), but also with Africa and the Middle East. Despite this large, open and diversified market, there are very few South African owned businesses in France. Why is that? iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: Simply because of language and culture barrier. South Africans mainly emigrate to or run businesses in English speaking countries. KHALALA™: Between taxes, language barrier, stagnant

economic growth, cultural differences, financing and bureaucracy, it has long been said that France is simply not the place to start a new business. Would you agree?

iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: South Africans are already offering great and original products. We can perhaps try and capitalize on the fashion design capabilities of South Africans.

iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: It is not for the faint hearted.

KHALALA™: How has the French market as well as other international markets that you do business with, received your merchandise?

KHALALA™: What is your selection criterion for Southern African artisans and artists that you work with? iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: High quality, handmade, Ethical, FairTrade KHALALA™: How do you determine that the artisans and artists you work with are stable on a day to day basis and that they have built a solid foundation that will ensure sustainable supply of the required quantities and quality at the right price? iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: We do not determine the prices; we pay everything in advance before the products are shipped to France. The artisans are part of stable structures in South Africa and they already have the expertise and right quality products to supply the international markets. They all have to be at that level before we can offer their products in this market. KHALALA™: In where do you African artisans missing out on nal markets?

your industry, believe South and artists are key internatio-

iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: They received them like they were the most beautiful objects that they ever laid their eyes on. KHALALA™: What type of assistance do you receive (and from who) in recognition of the contribution you are making towards the economic and social empowerment of historically disadvantaged communities, primarily by means of entrepreneurship development, with a priority focus on benefiting women and youth in the South African rural areas? iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: None KHALALA™: Tell us about any successful partnerships or strategic alliances you have developed while running a business in France. How did those partnerships help you? iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: We work independently. But busy working on a partnership with a Swiss import-export company. KHALALA™: iTU EspaceDesign has a very strong online JUNE 2016 KHALALA™ | 35


COMPANY: iTU ESPACE DESIGN™

presence yet it opts to establish a Boutique, which not only requires physical presence but incurs shipping and tax regulation costs. What made you decide to pursue this strategy vs simply expanding your online presence? iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: The kind of products we offer need to be touched and beautifully merchandised. KHALALA™: What are some of the changes you have seen in the international market since you started running your business? Any important trends and how have they impacted your business strategy? iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: It was hard selling African made products and hard to change the perception that African art or design has to be cheaper than European ones. But the new trend with African design getting more and more recognition helps to bring more clients our way.

KHALALA™: For South African SMEs wishing to penetrate France, which route to market option would you recommend (e.g. direct export sales? Direct sales using local representation? Foreign direct investment, etc)? iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: That completely depends on the type of business. It is never a one size fits -all affair. KHALALA™: What advice do you have for South African SMEs who are interested in doing business in France? iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: Your offer must be of good quality and you must be reliable and professional. No chancers █

iTU ESPACE DESIGN™ AT A GLANCE iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: My international business journey began…2009.

KHALALA™: What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from conducting business in France?

iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: The first country I did international business with outside of France… Japan.

iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: Not everyone will appreciate what you offer, but those that appreciate really do and become ambassadors for your brand.

iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: My biggest achievement…. Supplying the exclusive department store “Le Bon Marché Paris”.

JUNE 2016 KHALALA™ | 38

iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: The best piece of advice I ever received…”Listen to my heart, never

doubt my instincts and stay away from people without courage” – piece of advice from myself.

iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: My biggest challenge…having to run my business from a hospital bed.

iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: My biggest surprise running an international business….Rather what impressed me , how Japanese are so professional and efficient. A pleasure to do business with.

iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: My international business goal … growth

iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: I am inspired by …. Game changers, courageous people, honest people kind people .

iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: I'm most proud of …. my shop space.

iTU ESPACE DESIGN™: My number one tip for international business…Prepare well █


iTU ESPACE DESIGN™

iTU Espace Design, 5 Rue Aubert Dubayet, 38000 Grenoble, FRANCE T. +33476472822 | info@itu-espacedesign.com | www.itu-espacedesign.com Facebook/iTU Espace Design


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LEONANDI™


NON TSIKELELO VELEKO CO-FOUNDER: LEONANDY CONTEMPORARY GALLERY™

WORDS & INTERVIEW BY: MAHADI GRANIER


COMPANY: LEONANDI™

P

LEASE INTRODUCE LEONANDI CONTEMPORARY GALLERY

LEONANDI™: Leonandi is a new online gallery representing young artists and photographers from Africa and the world. The gallery was founded in 2012. KHALALA™: What is your background and how did you get into the business of presenting exhibitions of modern and contemporary art from Africa in France? LEONANDI™: I’m a South African photographer and visual artist most notably recognised for my depiction of black identity, urbanisation and fashion in post-apartheid South Africa I have extensive experience teaching photography to marginalised communities specifically girls and women in South Africa. In 2012 along with Benjamin Sigidi, we founded Leonandi. We worked on many projects together in South Africa in the past. Over the years, I have been showing my personal work all over the world with galleries and it just felt natural to also want to show work of my fellow artists in France.

KHALALA™: Why did you decide to open a business in France? LEONANDI™: This was initially triggered by countless enquiries I received, mainly from African artits attempting to penetrate the international markets. They were reaching out to me, asking if I could recommend a gallery or agenty in that could represent them in Europe that. I used this as an opportunty to mentor and grow their market growth mainly into Europe, but also covering other international markets. KHALALA™: What has surprised you the most about promoting African modern and contemporary art in France? LEONANDI™: The French audiance has a tremenous thirst and appetite for African contemporary modern art. KHALALA™: Do you collect art yourself? LEONANDI™: I mainly collect photography as well as a lot of graffiti canvases. I’m looking at collecting painting and other forms of art next. KHALALA™: How do you select most of your consignments (artists to work with)? LEONANDI™: We send out a call to entry and in response, receive portfolios. We then go on to select artists whose work is the strongest. Besides technical strength,

we also lean towards artists who are at the beginning stages of their careers as we would like to grow with them.

KHALALA™: In total, how many different artists have you worked with? LEONANDI™: To date, we have a total of seven artists under our belt. KHALALA™: Are your relationships exclusive LEONANDI™: Not at all. Our artists are free to show with anyone they choose to work with. What’s important for our relationship is that they keep us informed of the nature of new partnerships being forged with other agents or galleries. KHALALA™: What has been the highlight of your business so far? LEONANDI™: When our artist got approached by one of the greatest collectors of African Art: Sindika Dokolo. KHALALA™: What are the greatest benefits that Leonandi offers to African artists? LEONANDI™: We focus on quality and not quantity. We know how important it is that the artist’s work is show alongside other talented artists, therefore being represented by Leonandi means the artist’s work is always seen in the right environment. Some African artists have websites

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COMPANY: LEONANDI™

but they rarely attract more than a handful of visitors because without the vital knowhow, and the investment to promote them, potential buyers will never find them. However, at Leonandi, we have international marketing experience to attract potential buyers. Lastly, our online gallery and our marketing is active across France and internationally. Which means buyers in key markets across the world are able to access the artist’s work. And because we focus specifically on promoting African contemporary artists, our artists get greater cut through. KHALALA™: What are your current projects? LEONANDI™: My primary focus right now to forge and explore new, mutually complementary partnerships. The types of partnerships I’m looking for are those that will enable Leonandi to build bridges by way of artist exchange, focusing initially between France and South Africa and in the medium to long term, expanding to other African countries. I’m also busy recruiting more talented artists to bring on board. KHALALA™: What challenges or barriers do you typically face while running a business in France?

LEONANDI™: Raising capital as well as absence of art inventory in its physical form that clients can touch and feel. As an online gallery, we experience a fair amount of traffic on our site. While this is also an advantage, it can be a challenge as more clients love to see and be in a physical space with art or photography. This challenge however, is not just unique to France, but cuts across all over the world. KHALALA™: Besides the barriers mentioned above, competition is one of the biggest barriers to entry for small businesses. How is local competition? LEONANDI™: Local competition is exciting as we are aware of each other’s presence. We have a positive spirit of collaboration which allows us not to tear each other down but rather support and compliment each other. As I previously mentioned, we are looking for partnerships, and one of our aims is to send our artists to partners who have physical space for them to work and engage with our artists.

stages of Leonandi more challenging than anticipated. KHALALA™: What are your future goals LEONANDI™: To develop Leonandi into a household and a global brand. KHALALA™: What advice would you give to our readers who want to learn more about African artists? LEONANDI™: They should follow the vast majority of the art that has been collected by Andre Magnin and Jean Pigozzi. This will give the readers a trajectory of how far African art has come as well as a where is at the moment. KHALALA™: And finally, what advice do you have for South African artists who are interested in selling their art in France? LEONANDI™: The french market is itching for contemporary African art. The demand is increasing and therefore, I urge South African artists to position themselves appropriately to supply this market █

KHALALA™: What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from conducting business in France? LEONANDI™: Contemporary african art still remains a new area of exploration for the French audiance. Although the appetite is now building fast, it has not always been there, making the teething JUNE 2016 KHALALA™ | 47


LEONANDI™

http://www.leonandi.com gallery@leonandi.com


MEAT-ME™


THOMAS MOSSINO MARC DU GARREAU FOUNDERS: MEAT-ME

WORDS & INTERVIEW BY: MAHADI GRANIER


COMPANY: MEAT-ME™

P

LEASE INTRODUCE ME AT -ME AND EXPLAIN HOW IT WAS BORN

MEAT-ME™: Meat Me is the first French brand of biltong. Created by Marc and Thomas in June 2015, Meat Me’s goal is to democratize biltong in France. Meat Me offers three different flavors: Coriander & Ginger, Garlic & Cloves, PeriPeri into nice and colored packaging. We sell our biltong in more than eighty delicatessen and wine shops in France and Belgium. KHALALA™: How did the idea for your business come about? MEAT-ME™: The idea naturally came up in South Africa, in Pietermaritzburg more precisely. I spent a few days at a friend’s house and tasted the biltong for the first time. It was homemade biltong and I immediately fell in love with the product. It was difficult to put words on that taste because I never ate biltong before, but I knew I liked it. I asked my friend’s father to explain to me how to make biltong and he showed me his biltong box, his spices, his meat and described the steps.

JUNE 2016 KHALALA™ | 52

At that point, I started playing around with the idea in my head of introducing bilton in France with no business intention but simply to share this hidden gem with friends. Little did I know that a year later, I would be running a company, selling biltong in France. KHALALA™: As a French citizen, what ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture around South African traditional beef snack, Biltong? MEAT-ME™: French gastronomy is known worldwide however, there are so many different things to discover abroad. Throughout my travels, I learnt that South African people eat more meat than the French. Coupled with that, I also noted the lack of a beef snack like biltong in France. What I also knew for sure was that as French, we do like taking the aperitif, that famous moment right before dinner when we gather with family, friends and share a moment around the table, eating and drinking appetizers. When I tasted the biltong in South Africa, I knew right at that moment that biltong would be perfect to integrate into an aperitif. KHALALA™: How has this concept been received in France? MEAT-ME™: Extremely well. People really enjoy biltong here, which confirmed my original

expectations. We have a lot of delicatessen meat in Europe coming from Italy, Spain, France, Switzerland, etc. However, the only product that can be compared to biltong is the “viande des Grisons” which comes from Switzerland. It is dry beef, but it is not very trendy. As far as I am concerned, I think biltong is tastier than the “viande des Grisons”, and the texture is more pleasant. Biltong also has other convincing arguments, starting with its composition. It is a high protein and low fat p r o d u ct . A cl a ss i c F re n c h “saucisson” is composed of 20-30% of fat, which is not attractive to people who are concerned about healthy eating. KHALALA™: Between South Africa and France, what factors determined the location for your business? MEAT-ME™: To the best of my knowledge and market research, biltong does not exists in France . My research confirmed that the market was ready to welcome new products. In South Africa on the other side, there are already countless suppliers of different types of biltong. Therefore, it was a no brainer for me. It did not even cross mind to become another competitor in a already saturated market. The opportunity in France was bigger and offered complete monopoly. Coupled with that, I have been living in France for twenty years, I understand the market, I know people’s need, I know the culture, it


COMPANY: MEAT-ME™

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COMPANY: MEAT-ME™

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COMPANY: MEAT-ME™

it was an obvious that opportunity for me to capitalize on. KHALALA™: What has surprised you the most about running Meat-Me in France? MEAT-ME™: What I noticed in South Africa was that biltong was far more popular amongst men than women. In France however, the observation is the other way round. French women are enjoying our biltong a whole lot more than men. I strongly believe this trend has a lot to do with its high protein, low fat composition. KHALALA™: What do you enjoy the most about running a business that marries South African and French cultures? MEAT-ME™: I think the most famous South African product in France is rooibos tea. In general, French people do not know a lot about South Africa,. Therefore being the one to mix the two cultures has been absolutely amazing. Bringing biltong to French dining tables is like bringing a part of South Africa in France, making the French to travel. When the French taste biltong for the first time and have the same reaction I had, it is an accomplishment. It is such a pleasure for me having to explain to them how the idea became a reality.

KHALALA™: What has been the highlight of your business so far? MEAT-ME™: Finalizing the crowdfunding campaign was a huge victory. It confirmed that people where really interested in our products, shared our vision, understood our values and wanted to help us succeed. The other highlight was when the first shop accepted to sell our biltong. The association with this high profile shop give us credibility and access into their existing customers. KHALALA™: How did you build a successful customer base? MEAT-ME™: By being authentic, transparent and motivated made people believe in us. We try to remain as close as possible to our customers, sharing with them our evolution, our success, asking for constant feedback and making sure they are part of our adventure. Customers who feel strong links to our company have proven to be our most loyal and valuable. They have been generous with their feedback, which has enabled us to incorporate continuous improvement and best serve their needs. KHALALA™: Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur? MEAT-ME™: If it exists, I am still looking for it. I do not believe that there is some sort of pattern or

formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Everything one does varies from a country to another,. Customers’ needs are not the same, brand communication is specific to a country, and you do not manage a team the same way in South Africa as you would in France. In the case of Meat Me, our success formula has been largely attributed to our ability to listen to our customers’ needs and adapt our product as much as possible, and in real time, no matter what our own convictions are. Adaptation is key. KHALALA™: Where did your organization’s funding/capital come from and how did you go about securing it? MEAT-ME™: We started to work on Meat Me with zero external funding. We were finishing our studies and had no money to invest in this venture. We participated and won two start-up contests, and we injected the winnings from those two competitions into this business venture. Not only did we win cash prices but most fundamentally, the positive feedback we received cemented some very solid beliefs in our abilities as prospective entrepreneurs. Following these two competitions, we then launched a crowdfunding campaign for one month. The funds raised too allowed us to start the biltong production. KHALALA™: How did you obtain investors for your venture? MEAT-ME™: To date, we do not have any investors on board. JUNE 2016 KHALALA™ | 55


COMPANY: MEAT-ME™

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COMPANY: MEAT-ME™

KHALALA™: France is the world’s fifth largest economy. It has the second largest consumer market in Europe with 65 million inhabitants. It is also a geographical hub for business within the European Union (EU), but also with Africa and the Middle East. Despite this large, open and diversified market, there are very few South African owned businesses in France. Why is that? MEAT-ME™: Interesting question. When I decided to create Meat Me, my family and friends found it rather strange that there was not a single biltong brand in France. I believe there are many attributing factors to a lack of strong South African business presence in France. Despite the healthy historical ties between the two

Countries, I think the legacy has progressively disappeared. Currently, the French economy is not the most attractive in Europe. This economic growth shrinkage in m in my view greatly influences the investment destination for many South African entrepreneurs. Furthermore, the rate Euro:Rand exchange rate does is not favourable for South African businesses. Unlike the United Kingdom where the link between the two countries is very strong, the South African community in France is quite small. It makes sense to me why South African would chose England instead of France when launching their business in Europe. The cultures have a lots in common and there are no language barriers. KHALALA™: French people love to eat out and see it as a normal part of life rather than just a

treat. As a result, it is assumed that running a food based business in France is a license to printing money. Would you agree? MEAT-ME™: Competition is quite strong. Many France-based food brands, restaurants and bars are created with that exact same purpose. Before printing money, you must first prove your value and stand out from the crowd. French gastronomy’s reputation does not make it easier, on the contrary, it gives people the illussion of free money making machine. However, one soon learns to go beyond the illusion and start working hard. Hard work is the only path to success. KHALALA™: How does the French government help create a culture of entrepreneurship? MEAT-ME™: To encourage JUNE 2016 KHALALA™ | 57


COMPANY: MEAT-ME™

entrepreneurship, French government offers an array of high impact support including attractive financial packages. France is without a doubt, one of the best countries in Europe for an entrepreneur to start a new business. KHALALA™: In general, do you believe that the international palate towards South African food is widening? MEAT-ME™: Absolutely. For example, most of the French people that visit South Africa for the first time bring back with them lots of back culinary JUNE 2016 KHALALA™ | 58

traditions. A few months ago, I discovered that yet another biltong brand has been created and introduced in New York which proves that South Africa is going global. HALALA™: Besides France and South Africa, which country’s culinary traditions do you enjoy the most? MEAT-ME™: Thai food. When I first visited Thailand, I discovered so many different flavors, spices, vegetables and fruits. I like to eat spicy and in Thailand, they offer so much variety, enabling one to choose between spicy and non with so much ease. I discovered

that in humid and sweaty weathers, fruits tend to be a lot more enjoyable. I got to discovere strange, tasty fruits that only exist in Thailand. I really liked the fact that I could buy my food in the street at anytime, anywhere and was very affordable. Thai food that I have sampled in Paris on the other hand, is not as good as it is Thailand and yet pretty expensive. One of my goals in the near future is go back to Thailand tand reconnect with their culinary traditions. KHALALA™: Tell us about any successful partnerships or strategic alliances you have developed while running a business in


COMPANY: MEAT-ME™

France. How did those partnerships help you? MEAT-ME™: We have met numerous young entrepreneurs like us, also launching their own businesses in the food industry, and also facing the same chalenges we have encountered on this journey. Having said that, since inception, it has always been our goal to enter into a partnership with a start-up from the wine industry, a partnership that will allow us to make food and wine pairings and events together. We found the perfect fit in the name of “Les Grappes”, which gathers hundreds of winegrowerd all over France online. Our product offerings are complementary allowing us to jointly organize events. They have wine, we have biltong, it the perfect.

KHALALA™: What other projects are you currently working on? MEAT-ME™: We are also working on Le Boeuf Français, a company that directly connects farmers and customers with no middle man. Under this concept, customers can buy high quality meat directly from the farmers and the meat gets delivered right at the customer’s door. step With less intermediaries, the prices are lower than at butcher shop and you have a full tractability as the value chain is much shorter. KHALALA™: What’s the most valuable lesson you have learned from conducting business in France? MEAT-ME™: No man is an island. Mutual aid, support and partnerships between companies strengthens everyone involved. We go out of our way to meet new start-

ups as much as possible. This interaction gives rise to fresh ideas, exchange of advices and most importantli, rather than focusing purely on competing, working together and forging synegies enables all of us to operate in a healthy environment that results in prosperity for all. forward together. There are always synergies between companies, even those operating across the same sectors, which are useful, easy to implement and produce massive multipliers. KHALALA™: What do you believe has attributed to your success? MEAT-ME™: Listening to customers is the key fabricating a product or service that precisely responds to customer’s needs. Going back to when we first started, the feedback solicited from our customers back then was that the taste JUNE 2016 KHALALA™ | 59


COMPANY: MEAT-ME™ and texture of our original biltong was not 100% satisfactory. The feedback was that it was too dry and too chewy, so we adjusted quickly and made it wetter and tender. The results were immediately positive. Other example of listening to our customers was with our original packaging. It was designed in such a way that one could not see the meat while holding the pack. Customer feedback revealed this to be a purchase deterrent. We immediately revamped and launched a new packaging with a small window that allows one to see the slices. Listening and acting on all the feedback gathered helped us improve our product, resulting in far more happy customers. KHALALA™: What are your future goals? MEAT-ME™: We want to increase our distribution network as much as possible and make our biltongs available

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everywhere. We are also diversifying our product range. A Norwegian product will be distributed shortly. KHALALA™: For South African SMEs wishing to penetrate France, which route to market option would you recommend (e.g. direct export sales? Direct sales using local representation? Foreign direct investment, etc)? MEAT-ME™: It depends on many factors. If it is food, factors such as packaging, price, culture and taste are key. I keep thinking about adaptation. Here in France, it is necessary to sell biltong in a specific packaging. If we sell biltong in transparent bags like is the case in South Africa by most suppliers, French people will not buy it for the simple fact that they would not know what it is. With our currect packaging, we made a concerted effort to pique their curiosity in order to attract them. South African and French cultures are different. Prior to penetrating the French market or any other market for that

matter, it is necessary to collect as much information as possible concerning customer habits, competition, customer needs, entry barriers, substitutes, legal information and much more. KHALALA™: What advice do you have for South African SMEs who are interested in doing business in France? MEAT-ME™: For South African SMEs intending to do business in France, I would advice to conduct extensive market research, starting as soon as the opportunity has been identified. Starting as soon as possible, even before the product or service is 100% perfect is the only way to test the market. Going step by step, getting as much feedback as possible along the way has proven to be the best way to improve or perfect a service or product. We have been consistently applying this lean start-up strategy since the beginning and we definitely recommend it as it is producing results for us █


MEAT-ME™

www.meat-me.fr bonjour@meat-me.fr

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BATATUNDE™


GARETH COWDEN VELEKO FOUNDER: BABATUNDE™

WORDS & INTERVIEW BY: MAHADI GRANIER

WORDS & INTERVIEW BY: MAHADI GRANIER


COMPANY: BABATUNDE™

T

ELL US A B O U T YOUR INTERNATION AL BRAND, BABATUNDE™

BABATUNDE™: Babatunde is an accessories brand that started in 2009. We are based in Johannesburg and all of our products are supplied out of South Africa. KHALALA™: What were you doing before you became a fashion designer? BABATUNDE™: I was a fashion stylist for about 7 years. KHALALA™: Why did you decide to start a Clothing and Textiles business? BABATUNDE™: I needed a change from freelancing and wanted to try the challenge of starting and running my own business. The timing was also right as I was full of ideas that needed implementing. KHALALA™: Who do you design for? Are you targetmarket driven? BABATUNDE™: It is a combination of both. I design firstly for myself and secondly for clients based on their needs. When I first started designing for clients, I did not have a certain target-market in mind but was just passion driven.

I have been very lucky and extremely surprised with how well received my designs have been by the general masses. So although I started off with a concept based purely on my own style of dressing in mind, the ideas continued to flow in the direction of what seemed to appeal the most to my clientele. KHALALA™: What are your preferences? Being a generalist designer or highly specialized? BABATUNDE™: In an ideal world, I would say it would be great to be able to do both. Mass market trends as well as underground or more exclusive, limited edition collections both interest me. In order to succeed in Africa though, one has to be some sort of a generalist. Versatility is always a big plus here. Having said that, I do envy the specialists that are able to focus on one speciality. I have always admired people who are masters of their own trade or craft. KHALALA™: What is your favorite part about being a fashion designer? BABATUNDE™: The flexibility and being able to do what I want to do. I really enjoy having the freedom to make products that I want to make and not those that I have to make. KHALALA™: What has been your greatest achievement so far?

BABATUNDE™: Staying afloat as a business. People see your hat or umbrella in a magazine and think you have made it and are now wealthy. They don’t realise how difficult it is. So for me, being able to stay afloat and grow during challenging economic times and getting interest as well as stockists from different parts of the world has been our greatest achievemen. However, there is still a long way to go before we can talk about serious achievements. KHALALA™: What has been your greatest challenge so far? BABATUNDE™: Dealing with local factories as well as cash flow are our biggest challenges. Growing without external funding or investment has been very challenging as well. Balancing cash flow and growth is incredibly difficult at times. KHALALA™: Is the production of your garments outsourced or done inhouse? Why? BABATUNDE™: At this stage, it is all outsourced, mainly because we do not have the capital and skills required to start our own factory and to buy the relevant equipment required. Outsourcing is also quite convenient for us, although not without challenges such as loss of quality, time and cost control over the entire process. We started outsourcing to factories that already made similar products to enable us to benefit from the economies of scale. As much as we would like to start our own factory, it makes more JUNE 2016 KHALALA™ | 65


COMPANY: BABATUNDE™

sense to stick with our current production company. It makes more sense to support existing factories who are already struggling as they don’t have enough work. We are adding value to their growth and this gives us incredible satisfaction.

trims from a South African firm, the raw materials used are made in Asia most of the time.

KHALALA™: Is everything you create 100% South African?

BABATUNDE™: I think it is great. Obviously we all strive to work in ways and with materials that better our environment and the world we live in. But realistically, as a small business, I need to work with what are the most cost effective materials at this stage. In general, I striveto work with the best, greenest and most ethical materials and products available to me, as far as I can afford to without risking being out of business.

BABATUNDE™: Unfortunately not. A lot of trims (zips, piping etc) and even the fabrics originate from India or China sadly. Even the labels you order locally get made up in Thailand and sent here as finished products. So even if you are buying these fabrics or JUNE 2016 KHALALA™ | 68

KHALALA™: There is a trend right now of using organic fabric. And there is all this talk about eco fashion. What do you think about it?

KHALALA™: Is there significant interest for your designs internationally? If so, which markets specifically? BABATUNDE™: We have been very lucky with international interest. Our caps have been worn by global figures such as Solange, Erykah Badu, Damon Albarn, etc. In addition, we have had some great exposure in amazing international publications such as Wallpaper, Vogue Italia, Financial Times ‘How to Spend It’ Magazine and various respected blogs. Roughly 60% of the interest we get on our products is from outside of South Africa. France is one of our biggest markets and we have several stockists there who hold our merchandise. The United States of America has been


COMPANY: BABATUNDE™

a great source of business too. Besides France, we have several stores across Europe that we supply including Denmark (Stockholm) and the United Kingom. In addition, we get a lot of online orders from various parts of the world that come through our website, which is optimized for online purchases. KHALALA™: Which international channels do you use to market and sell your products? BABATUNDE™: Mainly boutiques, who contact us frequently to place orders. Our future expansion strategy includes securing additional distribution

platforms to cover different areas that we are currently not serving. as we grow however. This is crucial considering that about 95% of the orders from our website come from outside of South Africa. KHALALA™: How many local and international fashion shows have you participated in? BABATUNDE™: Two. We supplied Loxion Kulcha with our headwear in their 2010 show and then supplied clutch bags for Pontsho by Palesa Mokubung in 2012. Being an accessories brand, we have not yet participated in a fashion show as a standalone. KHALALA™: What would showing or supplying into at Paris

Fashion Week or another major fashion show in Paris mean and do for your brand? BABATUNDE™: It is quite difficult to tell. The immediate assumption would be that it could only be positive. But from what we have learned, it is very important to identify events and shows that work for your product. Not only the show itself, but the clientele who observe these platforms too. KHALALA™: What does Ecommerce mean for your business? BABATUNDE™: It is a very important aspect of our business and its brand image. Although not quite as profitable at this stage, it remains an important part of our monthly revenue as well as a crucial supplier JUNE 2016 KHALALA™ | 69


COMPANY: BABATUNDE™

of information about where and how people around the world make use of our website. KHALALA™: Do you have any special goal with your clothes? (Inspire anyone? Explore your passion? Cultural exchange, etc)? BABATUNDE™: Our goal is to improve the South African clothing and textile industry, specifically the manufacturing side. The name Babatunde means ‘the father comes back’ in Yoruba. We hope that through our clothing, we can inspire the African father figure to return to his African family and restore its structure. We want all the African men out JUNE 2016 KHALALA™ | 70

to embrace fatherhood and take pride in raising young Africans, which will not only be of benefit to society but to the betterment of the entire African continent. KHALALA™: Which South African fashion designers inspire you? BABATUNDE™: Amanda Laird Cherry, Clive Rundle, Palesa Makubung, Marianne Fassler, DD from Magents, Laduma Ngxokolo, Shaldon Kopman, Olé Ledimo… I could go on and on. They all inspire me in one way or another. KHALALA™: What’s next in the near future? BABATUNDE™: Our short to medium term goal is to secure external investment or funding geared

towards developing some of our ideas that are in the pipeline and in urgent need of implementation. Our long term goal is to continue to grow our brand both locally and internationally █


BABATUNDE™

http://babatunde.co.za info@babatunde.co.za


JAN RESTAURANT™


JAN HENDRIK VAN DER WESTHUIZEN OWNER: JAN RESTAURANT™

WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY: JAN HENDRIK VAN DER WESTHUIZEN


COMPANY: JAN RESTAURANT™ YOU'RE

ONE STEP AT A TIME

Olfactory memories are inexorable intertwined in each person's understanding of the world and mine were forged in the kitchens of my mother and grandmothers.

My unique skill set lead to a stint as a contributing food e d i t o r at ELLE South Africa, after which I packed my bags to join the ranks at the test kitchens of the head o f f i c e of ELLE Int e rn a t io n a l in Paris. This career move afforded me the incredibly opportunity to

BLOOM WHERE PLANTED

A LONG ROAD

AND

WINDING

I was raised on our family farm in Mpumalanga, South Africa, where I spent much of my time in the kitchen and garden. The rest of the time I tinkered away in the workshop where I transformed old exhausts into vases and objets d'art that would sell to our neighbours' stylish wines. Before I knew it I had a thriving creative cottage industry that would eventually pave my way to culinary Cape Town. One culinary arts qualification and a Masters in Pastry later I applied for a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Design with a focus in photography at Stellenbosch. Spending a lot of time in the surrounding winelands, I discovered a love for wine and spent a few years plying my trade in the wine industry. In the meantime I continued to foster my love for the visual arts by hosting a few solo painting and photography exhibitions in Cape Town.

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co-found COORD Event Direction and launch Champagne PIAFF in Epernay. THE WAY FORWARD My passion for seemingly insignificant memorabilia and the simplicity of personal clutter has led me to pursue my dream of exploring the concept of self in the intangible realm of space and time. Today I spend my time between Paris, the South of France and Cape Town, South-Africa where I do

freelance photography, food styling and run a small restaurant called JAN. This allows me to indulge my love of the tactile and leave my mark on my surroundings, whether I merely change the position of an object or put my mind to creating something completely new where before there was nothing █


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COMPANY: JAN RESTAURANT™

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JAN RESTAURANT™

http://www.restaurantjan.com/ jh@restaurantjan.com

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MY BRAAI™


KOBUS BOTHA OWNER: MY BRAAI™

WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY: JAN HENDRIK VAN DER WESTHUIZEN


COMPANY: MY BRAAI™ OWNER: MY BRAAI™ Meet Kobus Botha, proud South African and owner of My Braai in Montreuil, France. Kobus looks like what you would imagine an Anglo-Boer warrior would look like if he decided to forgo the hardships of the battlefield in favour of stoking the home fires for the return of the victorious hoards. Genial, bearded and barbecue-savvy, there is no mistaking the immense presence of this inimitable chef who has succeeded in introducing the French to the humble art of the braai THE MEAT A few years ago I read about another fellow South African who was making a go of feeding the French. Naturally, I had to meet the bloke. So I made my way to My Food, honestly expecting to be cowed by the legend that is Kobus. Listen, I’m not going to lie, the man’s sheer bulk is intimidating, but then again you’d expect nothing less from the guy who decided to design and build his own custom braai equipment because nothing else would quite suffice. However, once I was done feeling just a tad sorry for my scrawny self, I immediately recognised a kindred spirit in the magical Mr Botha. The moment I walked into his restaurant (which is situated in an area uncannily similar to JUNE 2016 KHALALA™ | 86

Woodstock in Cape Town – think tough, but manicured) I felt like I had been transported straight to South Africa. Mariam Makeba was playing in the background and the unassuming blackboard boasted a long list of all my South African favourites -bobotie, boerewors, péripéri chicken, chakalak like you only get in Soweto, malva Pudding, rooibos tea, homebrewed ginger beer and to my utter childlike delight, Sparletta Crème Soda. Naturally there is also an extensive wine list boasting popular South African vintages. BRAAI IN PARIS Kobus does what we all thought impossible – he braais in Paris. The former film producer is highly creative and adaptable and has become extremely popular with a large local following. His cuisine is also not merely confined to My Food; he has taken his show on the road with immensely

impressive custom-designed metal braais that can feed up to 3000 hungry Parisians in one go █


COMPANY: MY BRAAI™

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COMPANY: MY BRAAI™

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MY BRAAI™

http://mysouthafrica.fr/ welcome@mysouthafrica.fr

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KHALALA

PROUDLY AFRICAN | TRULY INTERNATIONAL KEY STATISTICS: ISSUE NO. 1 LAUNCH DATE: 3 December 2015 (4 MONTH TRACTION)

TOTAL DIGITAL READS: ±100,000

READING DEVICES MAGAZINE READS: TOP COUNTRIES

% OF TOTAL READS (±100,000 Reads)

1. South Africa

32%

2. France

26%

3. United States

21%

4. Norway

4%

5. Italy

3%

6. Denmark

2%

7. Belgium

2%

8. United Kingdom

2%

9. Germany

2%

10. Botswana

2%

11 Canada

1%

12. Others

<3%

Desktop

Tablet

Mobile 44%

47%

9%

Others < 3% Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Reunion, Turkey, Netherlands

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CONTACT US KHALALA™ MAGAZINE Tel: +33 (6) 95 58 88 07 Email: info@khalala.com Paris, France

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@KHALALAMAGAZINE KHALALAMAGAZINE COMPANY/KHALALA KHALALAMAGAZINE KHALALA

Khalala™ Magazine June 2016  

This entire issue is dedicated to SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESSES IN FRANCE. In this special edition, South African Entrepreneurs and South African...

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