MEMORY MANINGA, Lusaka
THERE are many faces to Katanekwa Matundwelo, a former model who represented the country at the Miss World 2006 beauty pageant in Russia.
For most people though, they know her as a television presenter, a good one for that matter. But Katanekwa is also an entrepreneur, a vibrant entrepreneur.
But she did not study any of those things; Katanekwa graduated from the Swaziland College of Theology with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible and Theology.
She remains a committed and proud Christian.
“I am immensely proud of being a part of the Miracle Life Family Church family. A few years ago, our pastor and church leadership embarked on a church building project, once the 20 acres of land was located and fully paid off, we sought a bank loan of over US$2,000,000,” she wrote on her Instagram account.
“Just this Sunday, (sometime in January), it was announced that the loan has been fully settled five years before it was due. [About] 96 percent of the funds came from the church members themselves with each making a contribution of no more than four percent. So yes, it was combined effort and not by a ‘few fat cheques’.
“Now, don’t tell me that Zambia is cash strapped, don’t tell me tithing don’t work and please don’t tell me that the church is out to fleece its congregants! For those of you in doubt just check out #MLFC and those of you ready to make your boast, go ahead and get your praise on #BoastInTheLord… I am very proud of this my family… #PraiseTheLord.”
That is Katanekwa for you.
“I love modelling but I had to stop because I was gaining a bit of weight,” Katanekwa says.
Now, through her television production company Tane Productions, which she founded in 2008, she is running an online shop called Store by Tane.
She opened the online shop last month.
“Tane Productions through its online shop http://storebytane.myshopify.com defies the recession and puts its affordable foot forward into the Zambian market,” she announced on Instagram.
“For the past seven years, our company has operated as distributors through the leading retail outlets, Pick ‘n Pay, Shoprite & Game Stores. Having first launched our retail business as the Revlon Cosmetics Franchisee through Foschini, we understudied our market and learnt the rules of engagement of brick & mortar. Today, we launch our online store as the Queens of Retail!
“At ByTane, we take a personal interest in a holistic lifestyle approach. We aim at being your one-stop beauty & fashion shop, with shopping convenience at your fingertips and delivery at your doorstep.”
Katanekwa has been running the online shop for a while now after gaining some entrepreneurial experience from working for a distribution company.
“In 2010, I was into distribution, at that time, I was working for a business that was a franchise distributor of Revlon products and our main retail outlet was Foschini at Manda Hill,” she explained.
“In 2011, that deal was cancelled and we decided to venture into the distribution of organic hair products and our main retail outlets then were Pick ‘n Pay, Shoprite and Game Stores.
“But with the economic challenges that the country has faced over the last few years, our products were not doing so well on the market. People were not spending much on luxury items and thus our business went down.”
However, the concept of online shopping in Zambia is relatively new and people are struggling to getting accustomed to it.
But Katanekwa, who grew up in both Zambia and Yugoslavia, is still optimistic that the industry will grow.
“The online business industry in Zambia is still quite small and people are sceptical about it. But am optimistic that soon, more people will begin to get accustomed to the trend and they will begin to purchase things online,” she says.
But as Dave Chaffey, chief executive officer and co-founder of Smart Insights, whose passion is helping marketers and businesses get more from integrated digital marketing, says, online retail is a huge and booming industry with retail sales reaching an astounding US$1,115 billion last year.
Katanekwa is also doing pretty well.
“Store of Tane caters for almost all the age groups but right now my biggest clientele ranges from 30 to 40-year-olds. I know that this maybe surprising to many, but that is the status quo right now,” she says.
“Currently, am running a promo which am calling the ‘Spring Sale’ and am offering 30 percent discount on all my fashion accessories in this promo.
“This includes sun glasses, jewellery, watches and earrings and am happy with the response so far. Apart from that, my hair too is also doing very well on the market.”
Store by Tane consists of six collections ranging from feisty weaves to wigs. The shop also consists of a variety of costume made jewellery, hand bags, sun glasses, watches and a wide range of fragrance.
Katanekwa says she will soon be introducing a larger range of cosmetics, fragrance, skin, nail and hair care accessories for customers to have a variety to choose from.
“We sell a variety of Cazabella accessories; we have handbags, jewellery, sunglasses, watches and even fragrance. Soon, we will be offering other products from Cazabella just to have a high range of accessories for customers to pick from,” she adds.
She encourages people not to be sceptical about buying things online saying they should instead see the trend as an opportunity to purchase things at their convenience.