As they gear up for their annual fashion show in October Masa Square Hotel is building hype around the event. They held a mentorship programme workshop on Thursday where the 12 fashion mentors and their mentees were grilled by industry experts on key aspects of their business. Held under the theme ‘Turn your passion into a sustainable business’, speakers from Brand Botswana Director Gaorekwe Gaorekwe, Managing Director of Botswana Bureau of Standard (BOBS) Masego Marobela, Bobbi Brown Makeup Artist Dudu Tshosa to Thobo Kerekang of Keno Custom Suits took turns to lecture them on business etiquette. Gaorekwe said they should aspire to make products that are authentic and export ready. “Make products that define who we are as Batswana so that someone can just know the signature of Botswana even before knowing who did those products,” he said. He gave figures on how the fashion industry is contributing to the economy of the world, especially that of women around the world. He said it is important for designers to turn their passion into successful businesses and take their branding very seriously. “Most fashion designers are there because of passion and as such they should be able to turn it into a successful business because it is also fulfilling to do something that someone loves,” he said.
Gaorekwe warned against modesty, saying it is not helping Batswana because they always shy away from standing out with pride for what they do. “You should stop being apologetic but be able to stand out and grab any opportunity that comes your way, that is the only opportunity you have,” he said. Marobela said as BOBS they are always there to help Batswana turn their businesses into sustainable businesses. “Innovation and creativity is key. You can’t separate them from quality standards,” she said. Marobela encouraged them to approach their offices to get help on mechanisms and approaches of running their businesses well by achieving high standards of their products and the labelling. Tshosa said they should upkeep their public image; hence make-up plays an imperative role in how they look. She encouraged them to invest in makeup because fashion and makeup go hand in hand. Thobo Kerekang, who has managed to establish a successful fashion business, urged them to pay attention to details and know that for investors to put money in their businesses there should be records of everything. Most of them agreed with him, with Tankiso Matlhware of Priestly saying that, that happened to her when an investor wanted to put money in her business but she did not have all the records or even a plan.