Vestige Prestige Part 1
It’s a super chilled Friday afternoon and I’m waiting for Vestige Group director and influential social media extraordinaire, Mthokozisi Biyela. What drove me to interview this young man is the fact that he is: young; building a business from the ground up; has taken the world of social media by storm; and most importantly how he is helping other young minds like himself accomplish their dreams and aspirations. Let’s have a look at his story.
Before we get started, the “K” is me and the “M” is Mthokozisi
K: Tell me about yourself, background, upbringing, your schooling and so forth.
M: Kay you’re making this easy, ok background, I’m a kasi kid originally, born and raised in Voslo [Vosloorus] in the East Rand. I don’t need to tell you about school, I finished high school, that’s what’s important. I got those four distinctions my parents wanted. But then around grade 11 I already knew ukuthi going to study is not going to be my thing. So I’m taking a lifetime gap year now. What else do you want to know about me?
K: Oh there’s so much. Tell me about what you currently do, tell me about your business, what it’s called, what you guys do and when it all started.
M:Vestige Group, right now it’s an events company but I’m looking to expand in the next two to three years, get into property and farming as well.
K: Why the name?
M: Vestige? Ok Vestige means a small trace or remainder of something that was important at some point. It’s like that last distinct trace a demi strand for example, fossils or dinosaurs.
K: Trust you to go deep, so when was your company established?
M: (he chuckles) Last year August
K: What brought it about/inspired it?
M: I was tired of working for people. I always had a saying that I’d never a night losing sleep working for someone else or helping someone else build their dreams while my dreams are neglected. Then I just derailed for a couple of years but I finally got back to my senses.
K: So do you have employees, how many do you currently have?
M: At the moment I outsource. I’ve got a lot of connects, like I’ve got access to a lot of databases that I can use so for example if I’ve got a corporate event, I can get a company that does corporate events and work with them and their staff, I just oversee the operations.
K: So I’m sure you have a lot of friends/acquaintances who are still in school (tertiary), what advise would you give them if they were thinking of pursuing this entrepreneurship journey?
M: It depends, are they looking to be entrepreneurs or do they just want to be corporate slaves?
K: They want to be entrepreneurs.
M: I’d say carry on studying yes uummmm one important thing, don’t take any credit and if you are planning on taking anything on credit, get credit insurance maybe for like three months. That’s something they don’t teach you in school, if you have credit insurance you can I don’t know get a clothing account, get a car on credit. When you start failing to pay back your debt, credit insurance will pay for you. You don’t have bad credit as entrepreneur because when you apply for funding or sponsorship they can’t really help you if you’ve got a bad credit record. My record is clean by the way.
K: Your business is still in the early stages, if you could do anything differently if anything at all, what would it be?
M: I would have started planning much earlier especially for the projects I have this year, I was supposed to have started last year October. All entrepreneurs in the family have this policy (he gets distracted when he notices I refer to him as a tweleb in my interview questions, we derail and have a little quarrel but we’re soon back on track) that if you’re going to start something we all have to pitch in and help out, it’s not a must but it’s one of those things that helps you in the long term. So for example my brother has a catering business and I know people who have furniture and cutlery, glasses and table cloths, all he has to do is provide the food and hire caterers.
K: What are some of the failures that you’ve experienced on your journey?
M: Ok I had a music festival that I was planning last year at the beach in Durban, I had everything paid for except for the artists I was just missing one more sponsor. I had all the quotations and invoices but just needed someone to pay for artists. So what ended up happening is two brands ended up pulling out and I had to cancel the entire event. There was no one to perform so I couldn’t have people getting there, drinking and just looking at each other. It’s different when you’re working with a government department because they can then make an arrangement directly with the artist.
It’s not over yet, stay tuned for part two…