Creatives and their work need to be seen to be appreciated, and often finding the right outlets and platforms to achieve that visibility is tough, particularly in Africa. One entrepreneur, Amanda Sibiya, co-founder of Conté Magazine is looking to change that, by creating a high quality, content rich publication and accompanying exhibition event that aims to put the continent’s creatives on the map.
LoA met with the highly creative Amanda Sibiya this month to find out more.
What does your company do?
One of the key business products which was identified as crucial, was to identify and produce a magazine, namely Conté Magazine, which was launched in May 2015. The Conte Magazine is a creative portfolio aimed at driving collaboration among artists in order to turn the arts into a force to be reckoned with. Conté started a vision that would revolutionise the way people think of the creative industry internationally. It is more than just a creative portfolio, it allows the reader to be involved in the creative process, to make the transition from consumer and viewer to creator and enthusiast. We are all about changing the way we work together - we are quite excited about this new adventure and we’d like to invite you along. The Conté creative portfolio is aimed at creative African individuals such as illustrators, fine artists, graphic designers, animators, architects, interior designers, poets, photographers and fashion designers. These creatives are given the opportunity to be featured in both digital and print spheres. Conté Magazine is a bi-annual creative book that is accompanied by an exhibition event, where all the featured artists get the chance to have their work exhibited.
"The Conté Magazine is a creative portfolio aimed at driving collaboration among artists in order to turn the arts into a force to be reckoned with."
What inspired you to start your company?
Both my business partner and I have a creative background, mine being in multimedia and my business partner’s being in illustration. We found that it was extremely difficult for us to have our work recognised, so much so that people would have an interest in buying it. The arts had become something people considered as a hobby and not a career and that stimulated us to create a platform for artists like us who were struggling to place their footprints in the creative industry.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
For African artists, someone would use our platform to exhibit their artwork to be appreciated by potential buyers and art enthusiasts alike. For art collectors/buyers/curators, someone could pick up our African creative portfolio to look at what the African creatives are doing and also to see what their empty wall spaces might need. For agenciesit provides the opportunity to see who the next best photographer is to work with and which talented interior designer or new graphic designer is available to hire. It’s a platform that caters to different audiences from different places.
"Conté started a vision that would revolutionise the way people think of the creative industry internationally. It is more than just a creative portfolio, it allows the reader to be involved in the creative process, to make the transition from consumer and viewer to creator and enthusiast."
Tell us a little about your team
Our team consists of four people at the moment, including the Co-Founders (Amanda Sibiya and Charmaine Ngobeni) and also a Community Manager (Nelisa Nojoko) and a Graphic Designer (Dylan Jan Van Rensberg).
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
My entrepreneurial journey has been quite interesting. Having been raised by a single mother I saw how much she hustled to put food on the table and I had all I could ask for, but that was because of the amount of businesses my mother started, recognising market needs and supplying to it. She started selling underwear, jeans, moved to pantyhose, then later manufactured her own ginger juice which was successful. My entrepreneurial urge came from there. Conté Magazine and Conté Creative Agency are the first companies I've ever owned, together with my business partner, and like I mentioned it has been interesting, challenging yes because its enforcing growth, but very pleasant because the feeling of having something of your own which you're building is a beautiful feeling.
"We are all about changing the way we work together - we are quite excited about this new adventure and we’d like to invite you along."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
Moving forward, Conté’s mission is to expand its leadership role in the creative market, using groundbreaking creative solutions and also expanding creative collaboration by using its publications. We want to have the biggest database of African Creatives and become a leader in the creative industry, both as a branding agency (Conté Creatives) and as a publishing company (Conté Magazine)
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
The most satisfaction is owning something of my own and knowing that I'm working towards building an empire and legacy which my children will be able to continue on. Having my name on something I know will be GIGANTIC makes me sleep at night.
"Moving forward, Conté’s mission is to expand its leadership role in the creative market, using groundbreaking creative solutions and also expanding creative collaboration by using The Conté Magazine."
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
I can't say this enough: if you have passion for what you do, you will not be working a day in your life but you have to put that passion together with perseverance, because building something from the ground up has never been, and never will be, an easy task.
Contact or follow Conté Magazine
Why LoA loves it….
The publishing industry is a tough sector to break into and not for the faint-hearted, and success comes from producing quality publications that are targetted to specific reader interests with known buying patterns. Conté co-founder Amanda Sibiya and her business partner are tapping into a gap in the African creative industry marketplace to create a publishing and exhibition showcase portfolio that fulfils a need. Their business model celebrates the power of creative collaboration and is fresh, youthful and dynamic, reflecting their readership. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa