While many may have said it would’t be a success, the two women behind the Windhoek City Market have proven that having a bimonthly market in the capital can not just work, but flourish. MYD Smart sat down with Nerine Uys and Bernice van Staden to hear about why its important to know yourself and how they made starting a business work for them.
The first step to a good business is knowing what you’re good at
The most important thing, the ladies agree, is to know yourself before you start with a new business. As your own boss, you have no one else to blame, and you push yourself in a way that no employer would do. Its all a learning curve, but knowing what you’re good at is a start, and begins with knowing yourself first.
Nerine and Bernice go about their work comfortably together in their little office space in the Village (which is coincidentally where most of the Windhoek City Markets are held). They both know what they’re good at, and in the areas they aren’t the other takes over. But as with most start-ups, there is no straight hierarchy, especially since it is a two women project as yet. After a friend put the two women in touch, it was a little leap of faith that got them under the same metaphorical roof.
Prior to the Market, Nerine was in the retail industry. It was her need for a creative outlet, for an entrepreneurial endeavour, that made her take the plunge and begin WCM. And while she might have been excited about starting something new, she didn’t realise at first how much the market is centred around people, an aspect that’s not exactly her favourite part. Which is why she and Bernice work so well together; Bernice studied psychology at university, but more than that she is an absolute people person. The two are an example of a partnership where each fills up the other’s weak point, together making something stronger.
Social Media is there to help
One of the biggest little helpers, especially at the start, is social media. Not only could the word get out so much easier, but the “look and feel” of the brand was established without need for professional help. Its not as if Nerine had any experience in graphic design, and yet she could use websites such as Canva to get the right imagery for an entrepeneural project that would have needed professional input if not for the internet.
Moreover, social media allows the market to communicate directly with its fans and followers. Says Bernice, its as if in Namibia people are shocked that a business replies quickly. Perhaps its the fact that these two are still so young, and so used to the realm of social media, that they are not fazed by its use. In fact, its been their only source of marketing thus far. Social media is an opportunity thus far underused by most Namibian businesses, but the Windhoek City Market is an apt example of its potential in leveraging small businesses.
For the Future
The future shines bright for the Windhoek City Market, with big plans in the pipeline. “The market in contrast to what we have planned is very small.” There are things yet to come, but these are all based on the experience of those who attend. “Its going to be a first for Namibia” is all the ladies will say.
Its not easy to start a business, especially if you don’t have someone to back you. But if you see a gap, or a service that’s missing in your life, start it. Be ready to push through the tough times. Even if it means starting with a stall at the Windhoek City Market.