Day 18 | Creative Challenge |

Women in Careers

A photo and video series that looks at women led careers

Mine is not to simply document black women and their struggles but rather to tell our truths as honestly as possible, to be inclusive of our diverse realities, and expand on the narrative that currently characters the public image of “The Black Woman.”

Women in Careers is a photo and video series that looks at women-led careers. The aim with this series is to make it an archival or a database series where if you are looking for a black woman in a particular space, you can google and find this project. I also want to inspire a 15-year-old Cebisile sitting at home in Zola 1, Soweto, looking for possibilities. So that when she googles, she finds this project and realise that she can also push against the odds.

Refilwe Makhetha is an entrepreneur, a mom, and a wife. Refilwe runs an event, decor, and florist company called Deco Bloom. She says her business is not just a business but art, a creative space where she can express her authentic herself. I spent the day with Refilwe, watching her as she took calls from clients at a flower market and drove back to her business space in Fourways, Design Quarter to passionately arrange flowers for her clients.

Q: Tell us about yourself

Refilwe: I’m Refilwe Makhetha, I am an entrepreneur in the marketing and media space. I have a flower, events, decor, and design business. I am inspired by God inspires me. He moves me, he keeps me going, and my children inspire me. 

Q: How would you describe your business, the work that you do? 

Refilwe: I make places and spaces beautiful by doing floral work. I work with flowers, I work with furniture and decor items. I work in a creative space where I get to play around, colour outside the lines, and not worry about other people’s perceptions but still produce quality work. My work is joy. That is how I describe what I do.

 

What drew you to this space? Tell us about your journey

After matric, I wanted to study accountant but couldn’t. While volunteering at an NGO, I was tasked with the project planning, mainly working with events in the project space. I fell in love with it. Felt like this was something I wanted to do with my life. So I fell into this career. It’s not something I studied or something I was in pursuit of initially.

How did you expand your business to get it to where it is now? 

I started by working for other people on the more formal side of eventing, which would be coordinating and executing events. I then decided to branch out from doing formal eventing to doing the more creative side of events like deco and design. I then decided to work for myself because I wanted to determine what kind body of work I wanted to produce. 

What is the importance of your business to you and your community?
The importance of my business to me is that, I am fulfilling a dream and the vision I have for my life. I am walking out my life’s purpose, they are so many aspects to one’s life purpose, but this is part of my purpose. So I need to walk this out and live it so that I can be fulfilled and happy.

For my community, small businesses create jobs. Small businesses answer problems that society has. For example, my business is located at Design Quarter in Fourways, and for the longest time, this design center did not have a florist. For some reason, no one thought the florist is quite-essential to bring everything together. If you buying furniture, you buying interior, if you buying a vas you need flowers. So for me, my business is an answer to the fact that this design centre did not have that thing that added to the house aesthetics.

What challenges have you encountered in your industry?
My biggest challenge has been opening a business during COVID. My business in this space, Design Quarter, opened in October 2020. I decided to go for it amid of COVID. It was a leap of faith. It has been extremely challenging. My other most significant challenge is, people don’t have disposable income. Flowers are not an essential, but flowers make people happy, lift up the space, and are a treat, so the biggest challenge is that there is not enough money in our economy.

In closing, what would you like people to know about your business?
We do FLORAL DESIGN. It’s not just grabbing flowers, putting them together, and just selling them. I take time to create the looks. I take time to make sure the end product is amazing. My business is run by someone passionate about what she does. She enjoys it. She loves it, she lives it, and she breathes the world that she is in. So when you come and solicit something from me, you will be buying something worthy because love was put into it. Love, effort, and creativity was put into it.


Company: Deco Bloom
Contact: 0743447134
Pop-Up Location: Design Quarter Fourways

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