Blooming in adversity
• Growing a sprouting business under pandemic circumstances
Event catering enterprise and florist Tebogo Moithoki Marodi’s story is that of hardship and hope.
In this issue of Executive Lifestyle, Marodi speaks of challenges brought about by so far the 21st Century’s nastiest pandemic, COVID-19, and the innovations that she has had to add to her business strategy.
Marodi began her entrepreneurial journey in 2009 with Tebbiemos Catering and Décor, which was aided by the government through the Youth Development Fund and has been in business since. “We were doing very well,” she reminisces of a time before COVID-19 struck and threatened her 10-year old enterprise.
“During peak season we would be booked almost every weekend and for corporate events in weekdays. We saw the company grow in leap and bounds. I don't know if am in a position to gauge how the business is doing because we are literally out of business. Bad is not even enough to explain it. We are as good as not trading. It’s really bad.”
Marodi emphasises that it is tough to think of sustaining a business when its means of survival are all closed. Tebbiemos’ primary goal is to cater food and decorations for crowds but there are literally no gatherings due to the virus that rejoices in crowds. “To make ends meet, we had to move out of storages and try to sell some equipment. The truth is that we are not surviving,” she states matter-of-factly.
But as with any challenge, Marodi’s salvation came through collaboration with women in the business of flowers. Bella Fleur BW, a fresh flower and flower accessories supply outfit is still in its infancy but has created waves by means of rave reviews that the business has been getting mainly from happy patrons. “Bella Fleur BW epitomes what excellent service is. They communicate well in advance when there is delay in their delivery. They go beyond to make a customer happy. Thank you for a beautiful bouquet. I will be ordering more flowers from you,” reads a review on the company’s Facebook page.
“Collaborations help because you are able to pull resources and share responsibility. It also enables us to bid for bigger events. It increases production, quality, performance and sales,” Marodi says.
Bella Fleur BW has also proved to be therapeutic for all involved by keeping them sane during difficult times because they shared the work load that came from a few events of 50 people. The business that Marodi and others are running is still hard to come by. She says they are not coping but have accepted the situation and hope that things will get better. “Giving up is not an option,” she says.
She explains that the years of being in business have taught her that diversity is important. Marodi acknowledges her team’s support, understanding and loyalty despite the difficult environment in which their business currently operates.