Nonhlanhla Mthethwa is the proud co-owner of Girlz Ink, a design house that offers trendy clothing, toys and accessories for girls. Fundiswa Nkwanyana chats to this inspirational business owner.
The lack of local brands that cater to young black girls inspired me to start a business. My co-owner, Luleka Nzimande, and I wanted to create merchandise that young South African girls can relate to. And, we also wanted to encourage people to support proudly South African products.
I’ve always loved the idea of our kids playing with toys that resemble them and wearing a brand that is South African. I love seeing little girls smiling when they have a Baby Thando doll in their hands, it’s heart-warming. Girlz Ink is more than just a business; it is an African movement that aims to change the narrative of toys and brands in South Africa.
Baby Thando is a brand under Girlz Ink that is very close to my heart. It gives me the freedom to teach girls about self-acceptance from a young age by playing with a doll that resembles them. This is important to me because I want young black girls to love and be proud of themselves. Baby Thando also has accessories such as bags, watches and belts.
Asking for help was one of my biggest challenges. I used to be afraid to ask for help, and I found myself struggling to complete certain tasks. I had to learn to not be ashamed to ask for help when I need it. I now know that there are people who can assist me, and together we do it better. I embrace challenges, and I learn and grow from them.
My future plans include expanding our product range. I’d like for us to be able to provide a wide variety of merchandise for girls. Our products are currently available on our online store girlzink.co.za/store/ and we are working towards making them available in retail stores nationwide. We also hope to have a fully fletched manufacturing company and open a Girlz Ink store which will create employment opportunities.