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From lawYer to ShoemaKer, wendYm iS taKinG leather to new leVelS
Sometimes opportunities lie in our daily
necessities, which is what inspired WendyM, a
shoemaker for professionals.
how did your business journey begin?
I started selling linen in the township and at
university. After I qualified as an attorney and
entered the corporate world, I was dissatisfied
with the kind of shoes that were available for the
professional life and vowed that one day I would
make the shoes I wanted to wear.
what was the major turning point for you?
In 2015, I decided to take the plunge and go to
Italy to train as a shoemaker. I came back and
started my business, WendyM.
what has been your biggest achievement?
Landing my first client.
what are your qualifications?
I am an admitted attorney with more than 20 years
how would you describe yourself at the
I am an entrepreneur, a creative who loves life and
the creative environment I am in.
take us through some of the obstacles you
encountered as you were starting your
Having not been in the industry before, it was
difficult to source material. The scariest moments
were being at peace with the career change and
not feeling like I was making the biggest mistake
of my life.
how would you describe your business
The business is stable now, with a number of
what challenges are you currently facing and
how will you overcome them?
Marketing. I have handed marketing over to a
professional as it is not my strong point.
what is the key to your success and what
advice do you have for small entrepreneurs
who would love to be in the same line
Believe in yourself and produce samples for
people to see. Seeing is believing. Talk to people,
you will be amazed how many people are willing
to help you. When I did not have machinery, an
engineering company helped me get started
by cutting my leather and making some of the
instruments I needed. My advice is work for a
manufacturing house and learn all about the
business. Attend programmes for entrepreneurs
or get into ESD programme.
what other projects are you involved in?
I assist other entrepreneurs with legal advice and
drafting of contracts for them
how much was your first salary? R1, 000.
what products do you offer and who are your
I manufacture leather goods such as belts, purses,
bags, corporate gifts like mouse pads and desk
pads, and shoes. I also manufacture on behalf of
Volume 23 • 2018/19