Like all the best adventures, the entrepreneurial journey is challenging, takes people out of their comfort zones and stretches their limitations and imaginations. For Bee Khumalo designer and owner of event management company, Dotty Moments, it also involved coming full circle back to
where she began – almost. In this rotation, however, Bee is armed with a wealth of experience, business acumen and the support of Riversands I-Hub.
Having started her business in 2014 after leaving the corporate sector, Bee began by organising children’s birthday parties, where she caught the attention of a mom who demanded that Bee plan her wedding.
“One of the moms came to me and said, ‘I’m getting married and you’re going to do my wedding and you’re just going to have figure it out’,” says Bee.
With zero experience in weddings, but plenty of enthusiasm Bee had to think on her feet but pulled off her first wedding with great success. Soon after she registered to study wedding planning while growing her business. As business boomed, she began buying chairs and other event furniture to rent out, until she grew to the extent that she needed warehousing space. In 2017, Bee applied to Riversands I-Hub.
“Just the process of applying made me realise I needed to get my act together, before that I’d never thought of things like having a business plan,” she says. “But the good thing is that by the time I was accepted, I had all those things together.”
“I can’t tell you, it’s been so fabulous [being part of Riversands I-Hub]. I loathed the financial element, the HR element of business, anything that pushes me outside of my comfort zone. But I was forced to look at them and I’ve learnt a lot.
“The thing is Riversands could demand these things without guiding you, but they help you every single step of the way. There are courses for everything, legal, accounting, logistics, everything,” says Bee.
When Covid hit in 2020, the events industry came to a complete standstill and Dotty Moments income came to a standstill.
“I can tell you now, my business would not have survived without Riversands,” Bee says. Riversands offered access to a business advisor, who helped Bee to understand cash flow and to reevaluate her equipment business model. “He made me understand that I needed to consider my cash flow every single day, if I don’t it’s like operating blind. It also made me see that I was paying a huge amount on my salary bill and I realised, I’m bleeding here. The thing I really enjoy is creating the events, so I had a full-circle moment.”
Riversands also further lowered her rental to help with cash flow as she pivoted. “If you can’t pay rent, most landlords will kick you out, but they lowered the rent. I realised that if I fail now, it’s my fault, they have done what they can to help.”
Bee decided to scale down and lose the rental aspect of her business. She moved into a smaller office space and cut down her staff complement to one personal assistant.
“Riversands supported me through the process and it’s been going great. I’m having fun, creating beautiful things, beautiful moments and beautiful memories. This has been such a journey.”
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