Tumi was born and raised in South Africa’s most famous township Soweto. Her mother was self-employed for most of her upbringing,this inspired her to be an independent woman.Her father worked for a mining company and worked night shifts most times so this allowed him to be home during the day. This was great but it also meant that he needed to work on Christmas and special holidays. “I have many sad memories of him leaving for the afternoon shift just when celebrations started to peak and we would have to pack him the elaborate feast in several containers so he can enjoy at work”. This was a sad moment for Tumi which led to her desire for freedom of time when she got older. “I thought that this came,by being an entrepreneur,little did I know that when you work for yourself, you work harder than when you are working for someone else”
After high school Tumi studied Copywriting and worked for a year as a junior Copywriter for one of the big advertising agencies at the time and she was nominated for a Lorie Award,however Tumi was not happy she knew that the creative industry was not for her.
She went back to study towards a Marketing Management Diploma. She wanted to become a brand manager and be in a position to influence the marketing strategy and campaign messaging from the beginning as opposed to being a creative where you come in at the end with “the how ” the message should be communicated. Tumi started working before she completed the diploma due to family responsibilities and got an internship in the account management department in another advertising agency, where she was the campaign manager and a link between the various departments within the agency and the client.This gave her an overview of how all the various departments interlinked to create one cohesive campaign. “This worked in my favour as I took it as training for when I would one day run my own company”.
Tumi left work and started a cleaning product manufacturing company and soon realised that she had rushed into launching a shop without proper evaluation of the location’s suitability to their product.They were selling bulk cleaning chemicals in an upmarket home decor shopping centre with a brand conscious target market,the rent also became very expensive as sales target was not being met.This resulted in high company expenses which was putting strain on their finances as they had to subsidize the company every month end.The company became unstable and they ended up closing down.Tumi realised in hindsight that they should have started operating from home, scale up to hire employees and get premises based on the growth of the business.”Coming from a corporate environment I think I wanted to make a lateral move from one office to my own office without starting from the bottom.”
Tumi went back to full time employment and once she got settled the discomfort started again she knew it was time to venture out into business again.She later applied for the Branson entrepreneurship training and got accepted she learnt valuable business lessons.
Tumi then started Space Water a mineral water bottling and branding company. This time she started with minimal costs, focusing on securing the source of water, and working from a home office for administrative tasks when she is not needed at the bottling plant.She has seen a much faster return on investment by starting small and focusing on the main thing.Today Space water is set for greater heights. Tumi started a women empowerment organisation called Action Queens, which aims to inspire other women to take action towards fulfilling their dreams.It was with the same spirit that she partnered with two ladies to create a company called Kebotho Consultants,through this company they managed publish and distribute a cookbook called cooking with Zanele. The profits from the book sale helped start another business.They developed Chabi’s family ginger drink recipe into a formula that she was able to sell for a profit.The ginger drink was launched in 2019 and has been well received by the target audience.The aim is now to distribute it in Supermarkets.
“My mission is to inspire and assist other people where I can to chase their dreams and not live in doubt. But to take action so that you can either succeed or fail fast and move on to the next thing.”