Diana Washe : Woman Crush Wednesday

My name is Diana Washe, I am a Johannesburg based mother to two handsome boys who are 6 and 3.  I’m also a full time Digital Marketer, Post-Grad student, an entrepreneur and an upcoming life coach.
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How did you get to where you are today?
Businesswise I can never talk about my business without including my story.”  My business was born out of depression.  After tragically loosing my husband when I was 6 months pregnant; I was diagnosed with depression.  My Grief Counsellor advised me to look for a hobby I can do in between our sessions, then I would go back and we talk about what  would have made. I still remember the very first item I created; I sew up some Ankara fabric and covered my new baby’s shoe with it.  I posted on Facebook page and I received positive feedback from my Counsellor and Facebook friends.  From then on every sample got more encouraging feedback until people started offering to pay for my products.
At first I was very hesitant until I gave it a go, I thought to myself, why not?  I’m enjoying making these accessories why not get paid for doing something I love?  It has not been an easy journey, as a single mother, full time employment, being a student and being the Creative Director of my business Shaina. As the Creative Director I come up with concepts and have to make some of the products myself and sometimes I outsource labour. My business is growing steadily at a pace I can manage and get to enjoy life while I’m at it. Earlier in the year I showcased at the Soweto Fashion Week, which is a fashion show for upcoming designers!
 
Who or what keeps you going?
God has been faithful and amazing in my life, without Him I would not be where I am today.  I don’t want to let Him down. I even renamed myself to Dianawashe because I am His.  My children also keep me going. I want to give them a “normal” life; I don’t want them to physically feel the gap left by their dad. The smiles on their faces and when they brag about me makes me push a mile further in everything I do!  I have an amazing support system in the form of family and friends.   My love for finer things in life is the other main reason I keep going.  I love champagne, wine, WiFI, All Stars, Mac, Fenty Beauty among other things, there is no way these things will buy themselves, I have to keep going to keep the ka-ching ka-ching coming!
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What have you learned about being an entrepreneur?
My business is only 3 years old. I’m still a work in progress and so far I have learnt that:
  • sometimes you need to work smarter not harder,
  • don’t put all your eggs in one basket,
  • diversify!

 

What exactly does your business entail?
I can safely say I do my life; my business is an extension of my life!  I love fashion, I love prints, I hoard accessories. I’m a very crafty creative being. I hand make African inspired accessories and bags. I make trendy and fancy accessories for vibrant young adults. I fuse different textures with African print to make affordable luxurious clutch bags and bow-ties. I am a Serial Entrepreneur!  I live in light bulb moments.
There are more lines from Shaina that are coming and I’m adding another wing to my business which is very exciting.   Follow me on my Instagram Page there is exciting business chapter coming up!
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What are the 5 words that people use to describe you?
Bubbly, Talkative, Gwara, (what’s the English word by the way?), Loving, Kind-Hearted
What is your favourite quote or saying?
Lets just make them two..
  1. I refuse to be ordinary my kids are watching!
  2. Life is short.  Be silly, have fun, love the people who treat you right.  Forget the ones who don’t, regret nothing, believe everything happens for a reason AND buy those shoes!  Never forget God above all else.

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Where can readers find you on social media?
Twitter: @dianawashe
Instagram: @mylife.andkids
Business Instagram: @shainaonline
©MaKupsy 2017

 

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Day 11: Top Brands To Look Out For

Being a Zimbabwean is not the easiest things to wake up to every morning.  On Twitter we term it as “an extreme sport!”  Unemployment rate is currently sitting at 95%.  In a normal country things shouldn’t be like this.  We are going through the most; from cash shortages, to roads that are filled with potholes, parents unable to afford to take their children to school, employees not getting paid their monthly salaries, failure to access health care…the list is endless and heartbreaking and not something I would want to dive into on a Monday morning.

Most people have taken to informally employing themselves and for some it is working out well for them.  Today I want to share with you what some young entrepreneurs are doing in Zimbabwe to keep themselves afloat during this very trying time.

Retail Apparel 

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Avo Apparel by Kudakwashe Juta

From a young age I had a keen interest in drawing, I would scribble on desks, walls, chalk boards notebooks.  I wasn’t good with numbers but I would always connect with shapes and understand infographics more than digits.   At age 17 my older brother and I taught ourselves graphic design on a desktop computer that had an 8gig hard drive, it was super slow and we had no tutorials, this was a year before YouTube even existed.  We had to figure out the software through trial and error. I would then develop and design my own brands even through college and fail and start over again and again until I started reading up on professional textiles printing, networking with international screen printers online until I had become a master of the game.  It was then that I realised it could turn into something real that had the power to change the industry.   I started seeing it as a business opportunity.

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At age 26 I quit my job to pursue textiles printing full time but I didn’t have bulk production equipment; so I had to work as a freelance designer for almost two years till I was able to get my first machine through the help of a long time friend called Denis Hozheri.  After  3 failed attempts at starting a retail apparel brand I told myself I would get it right if I kept on trying.   It was then that I came  up with the Avo Apparel brand which I developed for nearly a year doing almost 30 designs only to start with 2. The brand was launched in July 2014 and got great online reception which to me was a sign of potential.   However, I had to put everything on hold for nearly 9months because I didn’t want to do door to door and boot sales, I wanted a shop!  The shop opened for business in February 2015 and by then I only knew the printing side and had to learn the manufacturing side of the business and 4 months after we opened the shop we pretty much controlled almost all of our entire production processes. Besides retail I also do Corporate Wear through my company called “Inklab”, we’ve worked with reputable brands such as Tanganda, DHL, NetOne, Ernst and Young, KPMG, City of Harare, Institute of Chartered Accountants Zimbabwe, African Sun, Telone, and Old Mutual.

Follow us on social media and be part of our journey;

Facebook: @inklabzimbabwe

Instagram: @inklabzim

Twitter – @inklabzim

Make sure you get in touch with Kuda for all things retail apparel. 

 

Hair Accessories

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Hair piece and Earrings by Ndini Fugu $10

Unemployment inspired me to start on this journey!  I used to make my own accessories after I found it hard to find exactly what I was looking for. People started inquiring about where I got them from and if I could make them some customised pieces.  I saw an opportunity to turn my hobby into a profitable business.

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Customised Bag by Ndini Fugu $12 each

I have only recently started a few months back but it has been nothing short of a blessing it couldn’t have gone any better.  People still don’t believe I make the accessories myself, actually they still don’t believe it!  The first question I always asked was “are you really the one who made this?” In order to claim ownership of my products I termed my brand “Ndini”.  My hair accessories range from $1 to $10 so there is definitely something to suit your pocket.  You can get my accessories from ISU collections in Eastlea and I also work per order and deliver if it’s not too far out of town.  You can check out my work on social media from these links:

Instagram: @ndini_byfugu

Facebook: @ndinibyfugu

Ladies if you need something to make your hair pop then she is definitely the person to hook you up!  Gents, surprise your girl with something cute and artsy crafty just because it’s Monday. 

Culinary Services 

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I grew up loving to cook and the BBC Food Channel was my all time favourite and I would spend time swooning on Ainsley Harriots dishes and Nigela Lawson’s sweet treats. I was a Brownie and a Girl Guide and I remember even then it was the cooking competitions that we would always win with me leading my team. After high school I went on to study Culinary Arts and I have been in the industry since then.

The food industry has allowed me to visit diffrent countries and given me the oppourtunity to study in the culinary capital of the world Paris at one of the most renowned culinary schools Le Cordon Bleu. That has allowed me to have an appreciation of international cuisine and which I have since fused with local dishes to create incredible bespoke menus for my clients.

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Mozarella and grilled cherry tomato bruschetta

Food is always good business and economically it’s one business that will always thrive no matter how good or bad the economy is. I would like to see more professional culinary schools opening in Zimbabwe with Internationally recognised Diplomas and Certificates.

I’m on social media and you can find me on:

Twitter: @Dananai_C

Instagram: @chef_dananai

Facebook: @ChefDananai

If you want to have top notch meals for an event or any special occasion, Dananai does bespoke menus after a consultation.

*Bonus Brand To Watch Out For!*
“My Zim Hustle” is an educational campaign about investment on the capital markets. They are trying to increase people’s knowledge about the stock market and other investment opportunities available. If you are looking to having multiple income streams and not just depend on your month to month salary from your job then be sure to be a part of My Zim Hustle. For more information contact them on www.myzimhustle.co.zw

I’m a firm believer that you can do anything that your mind conceives.  Even though there as so many negative things happening in Zimbabwe some positive and productive ventures are taking shape.

What are some of the brands that are making noise in your country?  Perhaps you initiated a programme of sort within your community that has spread like wild fire?  Tell me more about it, I would love to hear from you.

©MaKupsy 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Found My Purpose

I never really wanted a lot of things badly enough.  I could like something alright but really want and need it was a different story.  I went through the greater part of my life having a luke warm attitude towards a lot of things until one fateful day.  The day I went for my regular medical examinations and hopped on the scale to reveal how I had gone from being fat to obese was a life changing moment.  It was at that very moment that I decided I was going to do everything in my power to do something about the excess weight I was carrying around.  I was 85kgs and NOT pregnant.  Why is this important to note?  Well, when I was full term and a few days before giving birth to my baby girl I was 85kgs so you can imagine the horror!  It was time to get up and do something!

I was 85kgs and NOT pregnant.

With no money to subscribe for gym membership I was left to my own devices.  I decided running would be my best bet since it was free and all I needed was myself.  The first days were hard and I power walked through most of the distances I had set out for myself.  After weeks  of pushing myself I eventually ran for longer without stopping and I got all the motivation to keep going…I haven’t stopped running since.

I did not have much information to work with when it came to my eating habits so I simply worked with what other people were trying out.  I remember waking up in the middle of the night and sending a message to my friend telling her how hunger was stopping me from sleeping.  I had adopted a diet where I ate a very heavy breakfast, sometimes it even had sadza, a heavy-ish lunch and close to nothing but a glass of water and fruit for supper.  The scale was not moving, I was unhappy, I was hungry.  It was only after reading an article on the internet that I realised that I was doing myself more harm than good and started learning the art of preparing healthy balanced meals.  That was one of the best things that ever happened to me!

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I am going to be the first NikeWoman from Zimbabwe 🙂

Running got much more fun.  I had set out distances to try out and each time I managed to run through them.  My goal was to run 10K and if I could do that I would have officially accomplished the biggest goal in my life.  It did happen and it was just as I had pictured it.  From thereon I started challenging myself to run not just longer but faster and the hobby slowly became an addiction.  When I started I showcased my fitness journey on social media.  I knew I would have no choice but to show up come rain(in every sense of the word) or shine because my followers would be expecting to see my progress.

I switched things up and added Zumba, Yoga, NRC Workouts, Aerobics, Swimming and Tennis.  I realised that running alone was going to get boring at some point so the more activities I included the better variety to choose from.  I was bubbly, stronger, happier, fit and lean.  I did all this from the comfort of my home and never had to part with a single dime to reach my desired goal.  I have bumped into friends from College who can’t believe I haven’t changed at all because I am physically the same person.  If only they knew how much change that has taken place mentally as well.  I am a completely different person now.

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With family and social media followers starting to compliment on my progress I felt the need to to work harder.  When I realised the impact my journey had on people around me I created a WhatsApp group which has turned into a movement termed #RunWithFitnessBae.  At the beginning of the year it was trending because of a Fitness Challenge I had planned and organised.  The movement has participants from different parts of the world but mostly Africa.  I have taken the movement from WhatsApp to Facebook, Blogging and Instagram.  As it stands I am currently the only Zimbabwean Fitness Blogger and I create fresh content each week!

It brings me so much joy to know that even though my fitness journey was mainly pushed by a case of depression; the fruits that have come from it have actually created a passion and purpose that I could have never imagined.  I have managed to inspire people across the globe; especially mothers, to exercise and get back to their pre-pregnancy bodies.  Those who have come into contact with me have become better not only physically but emotionally as well.

I am a woman on a mission to make the most of every opportunity life throws at me.  I believe everyone can exercise for the body that they want and if you can not afford the gym there is no excuse not to get fit.  I am a living example of what park runs can do for you.  I am currently 74kgs and I have never had to part with a single dollar to lose weight.  I have been through it all, the fad diets, the hoping for miracle weight loss, the drinking fruit juice all day but at the end of the day what I have learnt is that you have to eat right, exercise and be patient.  The results will come, just make small changes everyday and you will be amazed at what your body can do.

If you would like to talk to someone about weight loss or weight management then I am the person for you.  If you would like to be a part of the current Winter Challenge feel free to join us, all the more competition for the team.

Never give up on what you truly want, it’s not everyday that people get to find out what it is that fires their soul!

I found my purpose.  The one thing that makes me get up in the morning and look forward to starting the day.  The one thing I dream of, the one thing I get excited talking about, the one thing that keeps me up at night writing up ideas and chewing up my data while I do research on the internet.  The one thing that I can’t live without.  I think, eat, dream, live fitness.  I am Fitness Bae.

I have a series coming up on Tuesday 18 July, be sure to log onto my Fitness Blog and subscribe.

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©MaKupsy 2017

 

5 Blogs That Make Me Happy

One of the many lessons that I have learnt in the past 3 years of blogging is that it’s important to read work written by other bloggers.  Not only does it let you view things differently, it sometimes puts a smile on your face when you are having a bad day.  The following blogs are my go to sites when I need that extra dose of feel good hormones.

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Image from Pinterest

  1. missfelistas.wordpress.com

Felistas has not been blogging for a while but this does not stop me from occasionally browsing through her site.  If you want to read something random then this is the place to go to.  There is always some drama going on there and best of all something to give me a good laugh, this woman is talented I kid you not!   My favourite read is the piece she wrote about How NOT To Break Up.  I can relate to Hurricane Katrina, Big Brother Style and with a bang!!  You have the article from here to understand what I am talking about.

2. hararelifestyle.wordpress.com

Tata takes the trophy any day when it comes to getting me deep into my feelings.  Each time I read one of her posts I am left questioning a lot of things.  What I love the most about her blog is that she doesn’t stick to writing in English only but throws in Shona here and there.  There are just some things that don’t sound the same if written in English.  There is a time she wrote about heartbreak and with each single word she wrote I could relate.  Sex is a real enemy of progress when you are trying to figure out which direction your relationship is going especially during a shaky phase.

Actually, I don’t know who was hurt more, my heart or my vagina.

You can read about it from here and get to read what I’m talking about.  One thing is for sure, she needs to write a book and be quick about it.  The honesty that comes with her blog posts especially where relationships are concerned are priceless!  I used to write about sex but it was never this detailed, do something Tata, I want to go around telling people she is my friend when your book becomes a best seller!

3. businessblundersandbrilliance.com

Would you believe me if I told you that I only discovered this site last week.  Best thing ever!  As you already know I am working hard on building my Fitness Bae  brand and I am always on the lookout for any and everything that will help me work towards making it a success.  My attention was grabbed by the blog post titled 3 Start Up Lessons From Prostitutes.

You are a startup, you carry your business with you everywhere!

What I took from this article is something I already practice but for the sake of emphasis I feel everyone who is an entrepreneur needs to do themselves a favour and follow this blog because it is gold!  Archie talks about how you should talk about your business to any and everyone.  You have to stop feeling shy and make noise about your business if you want people to pay attention.  Be your own hype man(woman).

4. hermajestyexplored.wordpress.com

Books, books and more books!  I am one of those people who love to read.  I have concluded that reading and writing go hand in hand, you can’t be a writer if you don’t read!  I am very old school when it comes to reading and I love me a hard copy.  I want to see, touch and feel my book and you know I got very excited when I realised that one of my favourite bloggers also likes reading.  Her post left a smile on my face especially the fact that she loves to read African Literature.  I don’t remember the last time I read a book that I did not want to put down.  Both Half of a Yellow Sun and Americanah did this too me, the feeling was priceless! I love this blog because there is always something new and different to read on, she might not be a regular blogger but when she does make time she goes all out.

5. tetehumba.wordpress.com

I am always there for the photographs.  Have you seen her contagious smile?  Whenever I am feeling down or uninspired just a few minutes on her site leave me smiling right back at her pictures.  Kumbi is a DIY (Do It Yourself) blogger and I have plans of asking her to make some pretty hair bands for me once my hair is thick and on the road to being a full grown afro!  She recently had a beautiful photo shoot session and you can check it out on this link.

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Positive Vibes Only 🙂

I hope you all had a restful weekend and you are ready for a brand new week that is filled with nothing but promise of beautiful things.

Pray tell…which blogs make you happy?

©MaKupsy 2017