Food writer and former consultant Nothando Moleketi has just branched out into entrepreneurship as the co-founder of ReWare, a provider of good quality second hand smartphones making them accessible to a wider range of users. We spoke to her to find out more about the business:
Tell us a little bit about your professional and educational background?
I have a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Economics from the University of Witwatersrand. Prior to this I helped launch Zomato South Africa as the Associate Vice President (AVP) of Operations. I started my career as a management consultant with Deloitte Consulting Strategy & Innovation, where I gained exposure to a wide range of industries including banking, energy and resources, retail and manufacturing. My interest in Telecomms led me to Cell C’s internal strategy team, where I learnt about regulatory and mobile telecommunications.
What inspired you to take the step in becoming an entrepreneur?
My decision to become an entrepreneur was a combination of the right timing, the need to make an impact and build a legacy. Given the growth of mobile internet penetration and the smartphone market, there's a wide scope for impact in this field.
Tell us about ReWare. Where did the idea come from and what are you ultimately trying to achieve?
The ReWare story began with the consumer. We (co-founder Felix Martin-Aguilar and I ) launched a buy-back business called Zwipit South Africa and, through that, we identified a gap in the cell phone market for high-quality smartphones. The ReWare brand was launched in retail (14 select Edgars stores countrywide and through CNA Online) in November 2015. This retail partnership provides the consumer access to the ReWare As-Is range, which consists of13 fully tested, pre-owned certified smartphones (Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxy Smartphones) in perfect operating condition at affordable prices.
What are some of the challenges that you have faced?
Building trust with the consumer. There is a big informal buy and sell market for second-hand cell phones in South Africa and the perception is not purely positive. Due to this we have to build trust in our brand, the consumer and the concept of certified, pre-owned devices. To build trust we are transparent and upfront about our devices in all our messaging - including having transparent packaging, so that the consumer can see the condition of the device they're buying. We also offer a ReWare certification and a 1 year warranty on all our devices.
What changed in your mentality when you became an entrepreneur?
Always looking out for opportunities and keeping a customer-centric mindset. I have also become more of a connector – aligning people and opportunities. On a personal front I have become more frugal, managing the pantry and adding extra consideration to my general spend.
How do you achieve work-life balance?
My work-life balance is a work in progress, but I have made a conscious effort to re-focus and prioritise health and fitness in 2016 to help fuel my productivity. I try to cook at least three nights a week as I find it therapeutic and a good way to toss ideas around in a creative space.
What does the future hold for ReWare?
In the short-term ReWare will be expanding its retail footprint through the Edcon network as well as launching our eCommerce platform. In the medium term we are looking at having a flagship storefront and then we would like to expand within the continent for in the long term.
What excites you about being a woman on the continent right now?
Other women! Being part of a group of women that are formalising the female-led entrepreneurial (historic) culture of our continent. Being able to witness and consume what other women are doing in the entrepreneurial and creative spaces – it’s a great time to be living and making a meaningful impact!
Find out more about ReWare: reware.co.za