By Sisana Masithela
There are side hustles and then there is Bonnie M Trading, a brick making company that has become a source of hope for a section of Botshabelo community in the Free State.
Run and managed by Boniwe Mpolampola, 30, the start-up company has started employing the locals and ensuring that the dream of many residents there to built beautiful homes is a reality.
Ignited Woman caught up with the lady who runs this business from the back yard of her mother’s house.
Ignited Woman: Can you briefly tell us who is Boniwe Mpolampola?
Boniwe Mpolampola: Boniwe Mpolampola is a young woman born and bred in Botshabelo. I’m from a family of 6 and a mother to 1. I am a self driven individual and a family orientated lady.
Ignited Woman: How did the idea of starting a brick making company come about?
To be honest it all started as a joke. I think the love of making bricks came from the fact that I used to love bricklaying and plastering in school and I thought I will pursue a career in construction but I ended in logistics. My father reminded me how much I loved the construction industry during my school days so I decided to start making bricks. Starting was not difficult because my father was previously in that industry.
Ignited Woman: How did you manage to purchase your own machines, did you have any financial backing or sponsors?
Boniwe Mpolampola: I currently have an 8 to 4 job. So I have been saving money. The plan was to save the money for my daughter’s education and to buy property. But somewhere I decided to purchase the brick making machines and go for it.
Ignited Woman: What’s the intention behind this idea of making bricks and selling them?
Boniwe Mpolampola: My mission was to develop our youth especially those who have give up on life, those who have been declared as “unimportant” in our community and again to give the best quality bricks in to my people.
Ignited Woman: How old is the company?
The company has been operating since October 2018.
Ignited Woman: How many employees does BonieM Trading have at this stage?
We currently have five employees.
Ignited Woman: You are also employed, who helps with the managing of the business when you are not there?
Boniwe Mpolampola: My mother does the part of it in the mornings when I am not around, then I take over in the afternoons.
Ignited Woman: Where do you want to see your business in the future?
Boniwe Mpolampola: A dream come true for me will be to see BonieM Trading with at least three branches across Free State with a building team.
Ignited Woman: For other women with plans to start their own businesses and change lives, what’s your best advice you can give about business in a male dominated industry?
Boniwe Mpolampola: Your background shouldn’t stop you from achieving your dreams.
My advice is if you have the will to do it, you can do it. And we shouldn’t be afraid to join male dominated industries like this. We are imbokodos we can do absolutely anything
Ignited Woman: Tell us about your working relationship with your employees, They are mostly males, are there egos to manage?
Boniwe Mpolampola: I have a wonderful relationship with my employees, yes it’s tough at times but we have a good workplace culture, we can talk about anything, money issues, family matter, almost everything. BonieM trading is a home to them all, I mean happy workers are more resilient, they are the best team I could ever ask for.
Ignited Woman: In which other ways do you market your business, where people can get hold of you when they need your services?
Boniwe Mpolampola: Because BonieM trading is a new baby
I started everything on social media and I have my number there should anyone want to get hold of me and place order or get more information about us.
Ignited Woman: You are a family person, employee and business owner, how do you manage your time? Any tip you can share with us on how not to take strain?
Boniwe Mpolampola: I normally plan my week in advance, Sundays it’s me and my family (this includes my social life )
During the week I strictly stick to 8 to 4 at my job and on Saturdays I spend most of my time concentrating on BonieM trading, it’s tough but I enjoy everything about my work schedule. In short do what you love.
Ignited Woman: Professional advice for other women in business you would like to share?
Boniwe Mpolampola: My advice would be, do not mix business with pleasure and as a woman you should not compromise your dignity for anything in this world.