Bathabile Masilela (28) is the owner of online shop Bathabile Boutique. She chats to us about running her store while based in China.
By Fundiswa Nkwanyana
As a little girl, I dreamt of exploring the world and being an independent woman. After graduating from the University of Pretoria with a degree in commerce in 2011, I worked for several companies. But, I was bored and hated spending the whole day cooped up in an office. In 2014, I decided to follow my dream. So, I relocated to China to teach English.
Learn to put your faith & trust in the Almighty. Even in the midst of adversities He’s got you. You best believe it. ☝🏽🙌🏽🙏🏽 Let’s learn to have a thankful heart because there is always someone who is in a worse off position than you. #grateful #blessingsuponblessings #ireceive #grateful #thankful #thealmightyreigns ♥️ #entrepreneur #fashion #fashionist
For two years, I worked hard and saved enough money to start an online boutique store. I also researched ways to run the store and found places to buy stuff cheaply. The store was launched in 2016. I sell men and women’s clothes, lingerie, shoes, handbags, extensions and wigs, sportswear and many more items. I buy my stock directly from wholesalers in China in order to keep my selling price low and competitive.
Running an online store requires constant communication with customers online. I have a social media assistant who quickly replies to clients’ queries and requests. This gives me time to deal with bulk buyers, quotations, marketing and growing the business. I am involved in international trade, which means I’m not limited to one country.
I had to overcome many challenges to get where I am now. One of these is the scepticism by many people about buying online because they think they might be scammed. However, positive feedback from other customers often reassures them that I’m legit. I also encountered difficulties with shipping companies, which resulted in orders being held up at customs points for three to four weeks. I now only use reputable and reliable shipping companies.
I’m glad that I did not let my fear of failure cripple me. Though I have made many mistakes and failed several times, I did not let that stop me. Instead, I’ve used these as learning curves and picked myself up. This has helped me to grow my business.