Personality-led brands and businesses connect with audiences because of precisely that - they are created by women entrepreneurs who are big on passion and personality. Rose Sibisi is an entrepreneur who has both of these traits in huge quantities, and her passion for what she does is infectious. Her popular Talk Show, StylewithRoseS, is must-watch television.
LoA had the pleasure of getting to know the wonderful Rose Sibisi recently at our first Lioness Lean In event in Lusaka.
What does your company do?
StylewithRoseS is a lifestyle brand that has launched a TV Talkshow. The TV Talkshow is geared towards teaching, inspiring and challenging viewers across the African continent to pursue their purpose and fulfill their destiny. This hugely entertaining and informative talk-show aims to motivate and sprout a blossoming pan-African social fabric, driving national and economic impact by showcasing self-made women entrepreneurs, women game changers, women trailblazers and women innovators.
"The StylewithRoseS tv show mirrors women’s personal experiences and individual journeys in order to express and communicate emotional significance that people from all walks of life can identify with."
What inspired you to start your company?
Roses inspire the show’s unique DNA. Roses are highly rated and valued as the most popular flower in the world. This talkshow, StylewithRoseS, mirrors women’s personal experiences and individual journeys in order to express and communicate emotional significance that people from all walks of life can identify with.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
The show features compelling interviews and profiles personal biographies of upcoming, successful and inspirational women personalities or collaborative initiatives across Africa. It is a visual mentoring and learning tool that inspires change, to add to social and economic development across the globe; starting with Africa. The media platform is powerful in challenging audiences to break limitation barriers by seeing how others have overcome barriers and challenges, and ultimately succeeded.
"I left corporate employ simply as the result of a personal epiphany that I was called for something different in life."
Tell us a little about your team
We are a small self-managed team that is yet to grow. We outsource many of the day to day operational functions of the business to our specialist network.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
I come from a long-term formal corporate background of more than 23 years and did not have an entrepreneurial background at all. I am a customer communications management specialist with extensive experience gained working with globally branded companies such as DHL Zambia, Multichoice Zambia, MTN Zambia, Herbalife SA, Sony SA, Samsung SA, BMW SA, as well as Charities Aid Foundation SA. I also have wide experience in event management, branding, social and corporate communications.
I left corporate employ simply as the result of a personal epiphany that I was called for something different in life - I was working for the church where I was a high level volunteer full-time. At the time I left, I had a great job with amazing pay and benefits at one of the most prestigious companies in the world! I was settling into my managerial role very well at the time and starting to get recognition and the due credit for my contributions. I started StylewithRoseS in 2012 with a general feeling that I wanted to be independent and to create a lasting legacy for my children from something I had builtmyself. I just had a vague idea of having “some business” of my own. I registered it in Zambia, my country of birth in 2012 as a Private Limited Company and in South Africa my country of residence then - as a PTY.
The first few years I managed the business from what I knew how to do based on my corporate experience – which was doing proposals and sourcing for business that would bring an income. So I focused on events. I had a business partner on board then and we managed to source for and host high level corporate and private events over the course of two years. During this time I still felt driven to work on a TV Talkshow. So I kept scribbling ideas on multiple pieces of paper whenever I got a chance in my quiet times at home. Eventually the light bulb started flickering and the inspiration for a media platform came from a personal revelation on the anatomy of a rose and its contagious nature. I researched, read a lot about roses and their different meanings and started viewing them as mirroring unique aspects of different people. I further blended the entire DNA of the rose with my strengths which came naturally to me. These were the ability to easily engage people from all walks of life and get them talking to me as if we had been “bff’s” all our lives in minutes! I started appreciating that I had a charismatic and dynamic personality which people resonated with. I was always the "go to" friend for colleagues and friends who needed encouragement and also easily shared my own personal experiences to make others feel better. I realized I was also always being called to public speaking, MCing at family gatherings, work functions and many platforms randomly on a whim, and had no problem flowing even without knowing a particular subject matter, yet articulating it in a very humorous, engaging and connecting way that people loved.
"The concept of the Talkshow kept "unfolding" bit by bit over the years. I couldn't "package" it into a business case for a long time and over the years started writing it; putting it together in a presentation and proposal format."
The concept of the Talkshow kept "unfolding" bit by bit over the years. I couldn't "package" it into a business case for a long time and over the years started writing it; putting it together in a presentation and proposal format. I am a great writer and very resourceful and creative, so I started approaching different people in the media space for advice, presented my concept to many different broadcasters, channels and individuals who I thought would help.
In the process I got so many positive ideas; diverted ideas and over exposed information that got used and abused. There were a lot of broken assurances of taking the concept forward from many associates. I was told several times by the “media experts” that the concept was brilliant; but it needed someone with a media background and journalistic experience, especially well known celebrities! I’m usually a “pit-bull” in character especially when I believe in something, so I did not let this deter me and instead it pushed me to better finesse the concept with the now clearer vision I had in my head. Personally I needed to prove the critics wrong because in my gut I knew I could do this!! Over the years it became tougher with limited to no resources because I’d use some of the income generated from events and other gigs to create a website, some social media presence and also putting together a profile. Production companies and broadcasters also wanted a Pilot which I could not put together for less than $30 000. Family and friends said it was a time waster and I should rather focus on events which brought in income…
I continued knocking on doors in South Africa with no luck; then went to Zambia my homeland. I met with a young production company who loved my concept and the detailed direction in which I’d positioned it. They understood the bigger vision and said they’d take the risk with me. We worked out details; partnered and started working on getting a pilot of the show done. I went all out and started speaking to long term friends who had different elements that could make the show happen with no resources or money exchanging hands. I identified key collaborative efforts by sharing value propositions of mutual benefit, ensuring they would also get important exposure and referrals from the show.
Years went by and we kept at it. Challenges cropped up everywhere and eventually in December 2016, a popular DSTV Channel that broadcasts in 6 African countries asked me to provide them with the episodes I had so far recorded. They licenced the show in a “pre-launch” soft marketing format to assess how it would resonate – the StylewithRoseS Talkshow premiered in March 2017 and has blown many away, with fantastic reviews and feedback!!
This is only the beginning though – a lot still needs to be done to get the show as successful as I visualise it. I’m so grateful and excited that the process has begun to fulfill the intended purpose and vision to inspire and impact the global media space from a Pan African start!!
"The StylewithRoseS Talkshow premiered in March 2017 and has blown many away, with fantastic reviews and feedback!"
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
The successful creation of an African inspired media and production giant that encompasses all sectors of livelihood and cultural diversity. This platform aims to transform and impact current and future generations by bridging the gap with the timeless preservation of life lessons between the past and the future.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
The freedom that comes with the direct feeling that you're making a difference by just being yourself!
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
The first question to be able to ask yourself and have an answer to is: “What is my purpose?” For as long as you are alive, you were created for a purpose to better the lives of others – it’s not about you. Women were created to “birth” life and that is not restricted to human life. It means women have the creative and multiplying power to push boundaries with strength, resilience and focus in any area of business, communities and any sphere of influence they are assigned to. So – for you to get to the next level - know what your passion and purpose is and never give up!
Contact or follow Style With Roses
Why LoA loves it….
Tenacity and the ability to keep going no matter what the challenges, are key attributes to have as an entrepreneur. For Rose Sibisi, her dream has been to create an engaging lifestyle brand that knows and understands its audience, and harnesses the power of television to make the connection. She is fulfilling that dream with her StylewithRoseS tv show, and is winning fans and collaborators alike. Her never give up attitude, and her big personality, mean that she is now on her way to creating the entrepreneurial life she has dreamed of. In the world of media and lifestyle branding, Rose Sibisi is a name to watch out for on the African continent and beyond. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa