My name is Tiisetso Noxolo Skosana. I am 26 years old, born and bred in Daveyton, Ekurhuleni and the youngest of 3 children and a very proud aunt to my amazing 8-year-old niece. Both my parents are in the medical field (yes, they met at a hospital about 28 years ago). My parents worked very hard and tirelessly to afford my siblings and myself a good education and comfortable lifestyle. I am proudly Ndebele (and Tswana), and hope to learn how to write and speak it fluently, soon.
My interests include yoga, reading and meditation. I try to squeeze all three in daily, if I’m not too busy or lazy. I also love the outdoors and enjoy hiking on weekends or hanging out in nature. I really love the arts, especially when expressed through interior décor and the culinary arts. My other passions include Africa, women empowerment and holistic health. I am obsessively wanderlust and can’t stop dreaming about one day travelling the world comfortably. Currently I am in the Brand Communications field but in the near future I am going to expand into interior décor and writing books, books, books.
I attended an all girls school most of my school life, St Dominic’s Catholic Convent in Boksburg, but then spent the last three years of my senior schooling at Bishop Bavin High School in Bedfordview, where I eventually matriculated in 2007. As a student I participated in Public Speaking and had a very keen interest in Art and Languages. In 2010, I completed a BA in Communications Management at Vega, The School of Brand Leadership, in Randburg, specialising in Creative Brand Communications. The highlight of my final year at Vega was winning a Bronze Loerie Award for my Student Life Magazine radio adverts.
After varsity I was an intern, for a while, for Advertising agencies and Décor magazines. I then decided that I wanted to own my own business sooner than I had anticipated, so I completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration from Milpark Business School in 2012. That same year I registered my Business, Lotjhani Investments.
As stated above, I am proudly Ndebele and I have a passion for Africa, her people and landscape; and Lotjhani means ‘Greetings’ in isiNdebele. This name encompasses what Lotjhani believes in: we ‘welcome’ creativity and collaboration for the greater good of all.
Lotjhani Branding, which is a sub brand of the umbrella brand Lotjhani Investments, is a Creative Brand Communications organisation. We assist brands to engage with their stakeholders authentically, transparently and in a manner that is sustainable. Simply put, what we do is this: While organisations focus on their daily operations, we help their brand ‘get out there’ and engage with its people through creative and authentic strategies and executions. Currently we are finding that our services are moving towards assisting woman owned brands and social brands (even though we are still open to any individuals who are heart-centered and see the value in investing in premium intentional branding). But we are super excited and look forward to collaborating with more woman owned brands!
Our services include:
− Qualitative desktop and focus group research
− Brand Strategy
− Internal Branding
− Social Media Strategy and Content
− Corporate Identity Design
− Web Dev & Design
When I was younger I always felt like I wanted to own my time and the spaces I got to move around throughout the day. So for many years I thought I would become a travel writer, diplomat or I would completely rebel and go become a monk in some remote area. So, clearly I have always desired to be travel flexible, space flexible and time flexible. In addition to that I have always been interested in the arts, the use of language, business and storytelling.
So all this yearning led me to infusing all my desires: storytelling (organisations telling their stories through branding) + creativity + time, space & location flexibility + business= LET ME RUN A BUSINESS; it’s the only thing that made sense for my personality and desires.
Another huge inspiration was that, as a black woman in SA I wanted to surpass what my parents had achieved and do better for myself and call the shots in my life. I felt it was imperative for me to contribute to a better self for my family, the country, the world and myself.
I registered Lotjhani in 2012, but only began trading in January 2014. Some highlights include:
Moving out of working from home and into an awesome, creative and fluid working space in January 2015; At OPEN Collaborative Space in Maboneng.
Working on a big Social Branding project, which tackled many stigmas that are attached to being a public servant. It was an eye- opener and one of the biggest projects for Lotjhani Branding.
The most recent highlight is collaborating with amazing woman owned brands; Women who are true to themselves, and redefining what ‘success’ ‘hustle’ and ‘work’ means to them.
Starting out in business on your own can be challenging and I am still trying to navigate all these challenges presently:
− Most of the challenges I have realized are the voices in my head that are fearful and ego based. Sometimes I am very conscious of my age and that magnifies my insecurities.
− Other challenges include: People telling me what business is and how it should look. They are not open to the current reality that women (and people in general) are recreating what ‘business’ means and is. They want to stick to traditional notions of the masculine model of business ad are not open to a feminine, fluid and nurturing model of business.
− Lack of mentorship: People in SA have varying opinions about what mentorship is and as an aspiring mentee, I never know what to say to a possible mentor because all the requirements are so vast and varying and on top of that, there is a lack of mentorship.
Dealing with Clients in the Brand Communications industry is three fold – Creative Agencies, Corporate/ Government and Customer/ Society:
Creative Agency clients:
Dealing with Creative Agencies could mean that deadlines are very short and reverts need to be made asaptually in most cases. So dealing with Creative Agencies means that one needs to be versatile, have a quick turnaround, communicate clearly whilst sticking to client briefs and producing high quality content.
Corporate/ Government/Social clients:
On the other hand, dealing with Corporate/ Government or Social Brands means that they view you (Lotjhani) as the ‘Creative Agency’, with that there are already many stigmas about creative people/ agencies being unprofessional and consistently not meeting deadlines. Therefore, when dealing with these Corporate/ Government/Social clients: you need to show up, dress appropriately, add value over and above your work, meet deadlines, communicate clearly, follow the brief and be respectful of your clients company culture.
Then there are the actual Customers/ Societies, who Corporate and Creative Agencies target. At Lotjhani we believe these are the most important clients. We must treat consumers as competent and worthy clients, by not perpetuating stereotypes, but by gathering factual and authentic insights, because these insights influence the creative executions, which then influence societal dialogue and discourse. We owe it to the people to treat them with truth, dignity and respect.
When customers are choosing a Brand Communications company to service their business they should look for a company that speaks to their values and culture because this will heavily influence the work processes and outcomes.
The Branding companies are literally helping you speak to your people and that is a mammoth responsibility, so you want to work with a company that you believe can carry your message.
In addition to that, you must look for a company that values detail, respects your vision and speaks your language. This is the advantage of small boutique companies like Lotjhani, we are intimate and form an organic detail oriented relationship with you and your organisation.
The plan is to keep Lotjhani Branding as a micro to small business with an intimate team of brilliant professionals, we believe in quality over quantity. We plan to expand into several other African countries over the years, and to expand (or shift) our service offering to digital media services and products. We plan to be a top African Brand Communications consulting company for international companies planning to venture into the African market.
My Advice and business tips for female entrepreneurs:
Do you! Believe in your gut, instincts and intuition. Your desires are worthy of manifestation and you have the right to do what you want to do and to redefine what business means to you.
Reach out: Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you think could assist you. Network and make connections, it is not a bad thing at all.
Master your trade: research, ask questions, read books- already as a woman many people oppress you, therefore you must play your part in being the best you can be, for yourself and for all your other goals and aims.
If there was anything I could do differently, I would be a lot more patient and compassionate with the business process, but that is a constant work in progress.
My most effective marketing tool is word of mouth and networking events. Nothing beats meeting someone and letting them see and feel your passion and desires, that’s the best marketing tool and then receiving referrals through word of mouth.
There are a few specific women that I look up to and who I draw inspiration from:
Solange Knowles- she is so blatantly rebellious and radiant in her definition of herself as a black woman, an artist, wife, mother and creative.
Melissa Ambrosini- her kind and heart- centered approach to business and life makes me realise that one does not have to ‘work like a slave to live like a king’ one can work like a king and live like a king, life can be great at any and every moment!
Nomndeni Mdakhi– Her positivity is contagious and her work ethic is inspiring. She radiates self- awareness, consistency and kindness.
Sian Richardson– Her mantra deeply resonates with me ‘define your WHY’. Whatever your ‘WHY’ means and looks like is UP TO YOU and only you. Whether you make 7 figures working from a hammock in a beach house in a remote part of the world or from working 9-5/ 7 days a week in a boardroom- you get to define whatever you want, however you want, forget the rest and do what feels right to you; those who appreciate you will easily be attracted to your cause and way of life.
Women entrepreneurs in South Africa lack mentorship. We need more mentors, not only that, but more mentors who know what mentorship is. We also need more fornal conversations for women amongst women, to share our ideas and have sound springboards for any mental ramblings we are too fearful to say out loud out of fear of judgment. We need to begin to embrace the feminine and fluid business model.
Tel: 0110288886/ 0617833458
Linkedin: Tiisetso Skosana