Briefly introduce yourself, what is the nature of your business?
I am Gavin Wildschutt-Prins, a publicist, and event coordinator. Been an entertainment reporter for 12 years, a TV presenter on kykNET before going into radio at CliffCentral as a host for about 7 years until last year. I am also a published author with a book titled “Joost and Amor – Behind the Headlines”. Last year in September we started a Fashion Week called Africa Kids Fashion Week. In order to start planning for the event, we needed to register a business. This is the first-ever fashion week in South Africa dedicated to kids. And we are going green. That’s right! Our theme is “creating sustainable fashion” and designers will be asked to use recycled material for their outfits. Global Warming is real! We pay too little attention to what is happening around us.
What inspired the launch of your business?
I like to involve myself in projects that are unique, first of its kind. And if I do something that someone else has done, I do it better. Entrepreneurship was never on my mind growing up, but as I grew older. I became fascinated by business models, that you can make money and determine your own diary. I am a father of two children and I see how fashion is important to them.
How did you know there was a market for it?
We did research and found that there is an overwhelming focus on adult wear because ultimately, adults are the buyers. But no one cares about kids’ wear, yet sales have gone up in the last three years. Children’s mindset is changing and they are becoming conscious about what they wear at a young age, not just teenagers. Also, this platform is about designers as well. We want to put these creative designers in the spotlight.
How did you raise startup capital?
I took money from my other business (PR company) but realise I can’t do that all the time. Plan B is needed.
Describe your business model and how you make money?
Well, our first event is only in June this year. Our company launched in September. The plan is to make money from ticket sales for the event. But with that said, there are suppliers who don’t work for free. So, certain suppliers and stakeholders need to get paid. We will take whatever is left. I suspect very little. But I am not too worried. This is the first event. We will put together a world-class event. Once people see our passion and dream become a reality, the next event will be bigger and enjoy more buy-in from Corporates.
What challenges has the business faced and how did it overcome them?
Our biggest challenge was capital and access to it. So with the little money we had, we opted to go for cheaper quotes. For example, our logo and website were designed at minimal cost because we didn’t really have a budget. We ended up with a logo that looked old and too formal and didn’t really speak to the audience in terms of the event that we were trying to sell. Our logo was black and gold and formal. So, during the festive season, I had a lot to think about the direction. I decided to do a trade exchange with a very good IT company who revamped our website recently into the immaculate piece of work it is now. Our logo also changed as a friend, Dilyn Hansen, was listening to my cries and frustration. He redesigned the logo and surprised me.
What was the business’s first big breakthrough?
When Benmore Centre, one of the most exquisite shopping centres in Sandton, called to say they want to host our event. I felt honoured and realised there and then we were onto something amazing.
What online tools/apps is business using daily?
We are working on making this part of our business.
What marketing strategy has proven profitable for your business?
Our marketing will kick-off in a big way in April. A media company in Pretoria is giving us a billboard for free. The government is giving us a few billboards and marketing material after we pitched to them. We have partnered with Babies and Beyond Magazine who is giving us advertising space on their website and in the magazine for free. We are still in talks with a radio station and a newspaper. Our PR campaign will kick off in May. I am a publicist by trade, so I am really excited about that.
What remains a challenge for your business today?
The biggest challenge is financial sponsors for this event. The challenge is to get buy-in from a company by sending them an email. I am better at persuading with my personality than on email. I have learnt to change my pitch slightly and incorporate more of my personality into it
Please share your business website and social media links
- Twitter – @akfashionweek_
- Instagram – akfashionweek
- Facebook – AfricaKidsFashionWeekZA