‘I’ve learned what my weaknesses are. I’ve always known my strengths, but this process teaches you how to either shed or improve on your weaknesses.’
It was during her studies in fashion that Phendu began to realise that young Africans weren’t being represented authentically enough in the media. She worked for a while as a visual merchandiser for Mango, and managed a blog, while interning as a writer at Fashion Week, but she knew she wanted to go into publishing. She took the leap and founded online youth culture magazine Unlabelled, which showcases authentic African fashion and style. Visit Unlabelledmagazine.com.
On why she loves being an entrepreneur:
The learning, growing and constant problem-solving. I love a good challenge and that’s what business is about, problem-solving.
On initial challenges:
One of the biggest challenges was being taken seriously as a young female entrepreneur.
On the misconceptions of being an entrepreneur:
I think entrepreneurship is harder than most people think. You make a lot of sacrifices. There are a lot of lessons you learn – for example, I stopped seeking approval or caring what people thought. It also teaches you to be resourceful, it teaches you resilience, determination, focus and most importantly, bravery.
On what women entrepreneurs need more of:
Guidance and mentors. We need more business incubators and accelerators, and they need to be more diversified. We need more business facilitation programmes for the arts.
On her achievements so far:
I would say the constant recognition and acknowledgement from brands or companies that have been in the industry for a long time is always a sign for me that I am on the right path.
On advice to other entrepreneurs:
Be resilient, be positive, be determined, be yourself, be calm, be happy and don’t worry, make money.
On what she can’t live without:
Firstly, my team and collaborators, Evernote, Manager (an accounting app), Feedly and music or audio tapes when I’m zoned in.