Getting brands and messages out to key audiences and markets is key to any customer centric brand, but the key to success is creating experiences that connect the right customers to those brands and products. For entrepreneur Thandiwe Makhanya, this is where her specialist company, A.T.L Events and Promotions, comes in with the solutions.
LoA met up with Thandiwe last month to chat about her business, her love of promoting brands, and her aspirations for the future
What does your company do?
We are an events, promotions and brand management company
"I have always naturally had an entrepreneurial spirit ever since high school."
What inspired you to start your company?
I have always naturally had an entrepreneurial spirit ever since high school. When I started out in the workforce as an employee in other companies, I had the ability to figure out what works, what doesn't, and find more innovative ways to do things. I had a passion to find ways to contribute towards making the companies I was working inbetter, which always caused more chaos than anything else as I've never liked to be limited to one particular role or position. So what inevitably came next was my asking myself the question, why not focus all this creativity and passion into growing my own brand rather than doing it for someone else? And so my company, A.T.L Events and Promotions, was born.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
I'm an extremely passionate and driven person and continuously try to prove myself that limitations don't exist unless you let them. So I work harder in making sure that I take my clients’ vision and passion for their brands and events and make them my own. This ensures that whatever brand activation or event I work on can achieve the success the client desires. I believe that ultimately you can't truly make a success out of something you don't believe in or a vision you can’t fall in love with.
"My plans are to be a leader in my industry as an events, promotions and brand management company."
Tell us a little about your team
I only work with young people as they are hungrier, more passionate and have a more interesting outlook on things, and the demographic that is being targeted more these days in any given industry market segment is the youth. My team at A.T.L Events and Promotions includes Mxo Mchunu who went to UKZN and has a vast experience working on promotions and managing them; Sboh Mthethwa who looks after event co-ordination; Lucky Motseki who is our Graphics expert; and then there’s myself as overallproject manager
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
Being a young, black female entrepreneur in our country, I have received every type of discrimination you can think of, either because of my race/age/gender. Making the transition into the entertainment industry made that situation worse as I kept on being told that the only way to make it in this highly competitive industry is to sleep with the right people. But I knew I didn't have to compromise on my ethics to get anywhere in life and in business. I come from a very spiritual background being that most of my family are Pastors, as well as my late grandfather, so that played a huge role in my believing that when it's the right time the doors will open. Sure enough, through my hard work and perseverance, I started landing big clients such as the CEO of ADA Holdings, MD of Seanda Healthcare and owner of Trail Magazine. I went on to also manage a popular premium lounge in KwaZulu Natal, as well as working on the NACMA Awards and now the upcoming DJ Awards.
"What gives me the most satisfaction is being able to impact or change a young person’s life through my business and the work we do..."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
My plans are to be a leader in my industry as an events, promotions and brand management company. I am still fairly young so hope to reach my goal within the next 10 years.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
What gives me the most satisfaction is being able to impact or change a young person’s life through my business and the work we do, as what I have learned in life is you are not your situation.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
It's OK to fail. You try again, you fail again, but you fail better as you are not your situation. Business is an uphill battle, just learn to climb and conquer your mountain.
Contact or follow A.T.L Events and Promotions
Why LoA loves it….
So much success in the world of entrepreneurship is driven by passion on the part of business owners, and sheer determination to make things happen. Entrepreneur Thandiwe Makhanya has both passion and determination in huge quantities, and that is good news not only for her own growing business, but also for her clients. She is creating memorable brand experiences and events that connect with people and create lasting feel-good factors for brand owners and customer alike. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa