After a long sabbatical, trying to sort out my financial situation. I tried out Miss Mercy Mabiza’s bags. We all know that a bit of shopping makes the heart beat a little better. I mean, the saying does state in no uncertain terms, “behind every successful woman is a fabulous bag,” ~unknown. She is a powerhouse, a whole bundle of energy. Very affectionate, I got the warmest hug. Somehow we got to talking about life business. A whole 90s baby, who is not obsessed over blessers, and easy money. I learnt a few business tips, and after convincing my editor, I decided to bring Miss M to the world, through iNgudukazi. She is the very definition of aspire to inspire before you expire.
How did you come up with the name “Royal Infinity bags”?
Royal Infinity was a well thought out name. I knew it was going to be a brand, which would go very far. I had to come up with a name that described the individuals that would carry these bags with pride. I have always associated myself with a great force, more of the daughter of a King (The Most High). In that mind-set, the words Imperial and majestic came to mind. However, Royal is what I settled for in the end. I see this brand soaring for a long time, “till Infinity”. Thus the name Royal Infinity. It was almost Royalty Bags unfortunately there is another company trading under that name, so I could not register it.
What was the driving force behind launching the spring range in the midst of a pandemic?
The driving force behind launching the range was just the fact that despite the thunderstorms or the hail or the earthquakes and tsunamis, life has to move on. Getting comfortable and complacent just because the environment is unbearable has never been my strong suit. I move forward always. The spring range has been by far my best, in terms of being unique, the bags are trendy and the quality is a solid hundred. I am very proud of my team and I.
What has been your biggest failure to date? How have you recovered from it?
I would not class anything I have ever done as a failure. I give myself a pat on the back every time for taking up challenges and “trying”. Sometimes things do not go as planned, obviously losses are part of the journey. There is a feeling of defeat after each drawback, but from every fall great lessons are always learnt. Failure is just not a word I want to associate myself with. So no I haven’t failed in business. I have had setbacks, but I rise every time. You cannot keep a hard working woman down.
Royal Infinity bags is not your first business venture, which one was your most successful venture before Royal Infinity bags?
I would say Avroy Shlain. I was a fireball in 2016, making sales over R100 000, with a team of a thousand ladies in Zimbabwe. When it comes to selling products or even an idea, I am gifted. I am a people person and I am always able to align or resonate with almost anyone on a personal level. Apply this to business the recipe is success. Cazabella was the company which then groomed me later on and I learnt a lot there. I got so many life lessons, when you are caring for someone’s business as the face of the brand in a country like Zimbabwe. I budded off eventually and my baby Royal Infinity was birthed.
Which one was your worst venture?
I have no worst venture. Every opportunity I have been afforded, I grasp with both hands. I learn what I can and take what I can. If it is not something which speaks to me on a personal level, then I leave. I have worked with companies in the past specialising in distribution of medication, kitchenware, etc. I did not have a personal attachment with any of those, so it was challenging for me to go out there and sell a brand of something I personally would not use. Or recommend to people close to me. Bags, however, have always been home. I could sell and market them even on what I term a bad day.
Change is always uncomfortable, what was your biggest fear in launching into the bag business, and how did you overcome it?
There are a lot of big brands which are making handbags, even I stop and stand in awe of them. I feared being compared to these big brands. These have been around for centuries. I looked at the positive side of it all. As a young entrepreneur based in Bulawayo, I honestly was overwhelmed with the thought of starting anything. One needs to be daring, which I am. It is natural to be scared, but basking in the shade of fear is not the way to get to the top. I told myself I would give my best, with God on my side, I would shine somehow. The response when I launched the bags in 2020 was overwhelming. People were more supportive, I would like to think, because they gave me props for trying. A bag is the final detail of an outfit, who does not need that?
How many hours a day do you work on average?
I am a very time conscious person, and I run a lot of other ventures and projects so I make sure I allocate enough time to each, so that at the end of the 24 hours I have, I can say I achieve what I need to. Royal Infinity is my top priority and biggest baby, so I spend approximately four hours on it a day. The rest goes to my farming escapades, Royalty catering, branding and marketing through Making Money Mondays initiative, as well as Taba Tented camps just to name a few.
How do you generate new ideas?
Grand ideas are birthed in silence (meditation) and sometimes even when surrounded by other people. I make it a point to spend time on my own. I am literally my best friend (Laughs). I have learnt that when I am in my own space, ideas come to me. I love to meditate and read (avid reader). Then approximately 10% I allocate to meeting people, mostly out of my comfort zone. I learn so much when I engage with older citizens. They are full of wisdom and their experiences can give a lot of insight. You will rarely ever see me with peers my age.
Where did you get your entrepreneurial spirit?
From God, we all have gifts and talents. This is my God given gift. I have taken time to understand my gift, refine it, and here I am now. I literally enjoy seeing something grow from the ground up and look back and say I know how it got to be there. Being surrounded by other people running their own races as well eventually rubs off and you join the race.
What capital do/ did you have access to?
I worked in network and marketing for over five years. I made it a point to save enough because I didn’t want to sell someone’s brand for the rest of my life. I saved just enough to hit the ground running. Royal Infinity Bags was born. I am a modern day farmer; I keep poultry for egg distribution, the money I make becomes capital to farm. From the proceeds I get from selling farm produce, I buy feed for the hens. The projects feed off each other, basically. I have never been a fan of debts and loans. I cannot fall asleep knowing I owe someone. I read enough to understand the power behind saving, money management, discipline and consistency.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I love to live in the moment. This very moment I am in now, I prayed for at some point, so I gladly embrace it. So the only thing I am certain of, and will allow you to document, is prayer. I love to move in silence, so I will not pen everything down. Just know Mercy Mabiza will be a household name. I am clawing my way up to the top, so that every time anyone sees me, they see God’s hand in my life. Honestly, my whole life is a testimony. That, though, is a story for another day.
What financial literacy advice would you give young women?
Discipline, discipline, discipline. If you want to go far, learn that. You can never make money if you are not disciplined on your spending, etc. Once you master that character trait, the rest is history.
Patience, I started by running around town with a catalogue. Making profits off a dollar. You start somewhere, then you grow. Fast money-making schemes will leave you in tears. Cultivate the seeds, water and add manure, a little sunlight and one day the tiny mustard seed will become a big tree. This tree will offer the biggest shade to most, that is business. There are no shortcuts. Put in the work.
What advice would you give young Bulawayo ladies aspiring to make a name for themselves in the various industries they are in?
Identify your gift, your purpose, and your passion. Align it, dig deep in your heart, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit (if you are a Christian like me). You will just know where your place is. Take calculated risks and step out of your comfort zone. Be genuine in your endeavours. Never stop for anything or anyone, your biggest obstacle is your mindset. If at first you do not succeed, try, try, try again. Believe in yourself, though if you see that you are backing a dying horse, take a step back. Try something else. Some things are only meant to last for a season, then it is time to let go, go back to the drawing board and map a new route. Just because Mercy is designing and distributing bags, it does not mean that is where you need to get your bread as well.
Behind every successful man there is a woman… Is the reverse true in your case, is there a Mr Royal Infinity?
I am not married as yet. “When the time is right I the Lord will make it happen,” I love this verse. Therefore I shall leave it here. [insert laugh]
How has being an entrepreneur affected your personal relationships?
Being an entrepreneur comes with a lot of challenges and sacrifices. Fortunately for me, my friends and family are very supportive. My backbone is my mother. She has taught me to be the woman I am today. Being my own boss means sacrificing a night out with friends, to look at numbers and make them make sense. As the founder and CEO, basically the sole proprietor, you are the brains, the graphic designer, the manager and the accountant. For any business to succeed you need to be hands on. Nobody is as passionate about your vision as you are, nobody can chase your dreams as hard as you.
What can we look forward to seeing from you? In terms of building the community.
What is closest to my heart is seeing everybody winning. I started the initiative Money Making Monday (MMM). This is a movement I hope will be national, then eventually global. I post advertisements, posters, flyers for business owners on my page (I am a mini influencer in my circles.) The numbers I have on my social media give these entrepreneurs that extra exposure. My circle is full of supportive people that want to see the next person win, so they are always willing to support. Landing that one sale because someone saw a product or service on my page is what keeps me going.
Other than that, I do support a few families and girls financially. I will not delve into that much. It is not for clout, or to be camera worthy and showy. I do what I can for those that I can with the little that I can give, give praise to God for helping me locate them. I am somebody’s destiny helper.