Thanthi Sepeng – The startup story of a South African entrepreneur on a mission to change lives for the better in her country through her work

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Reve Productions is the brainchild of Thanthi Sepeng, one of an exciting new breed of entrepreneurs in South Africa who are finding solutions to key challenges. Her company is geared up to provide clients with a comprehensive, professional and unforgettable service, be it in Event Management, Marketing, Event Logistics Management or CSI Projects.

 

LoA met with Thanthi Sepeng this month to find out more about this company that is committed to making a difference.

What does your company do?

We provide a range of Catering Services, Event Management, Marketing in terms of Branding Collateral and CSI Projects.

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What inspired you to start your company?

I was inspired by the fact that I wanted to change my situation, to change the lives of those around me. I wanted to serve and provide platforms for people to better their lives; I wanted to control my own time, and what I did and why I did it. More so because my then manager at the time told me at the end of my probation period that the boss said no salaries were being raised, and that if people couldn’t wait for the 3rd quarter of the year they should leave and see how tough it is outside. I got exposed to and had the opportunity to work closely with CEOs that owned their companies and were doing quite well. I learned all that I could from them and also pushed to be better in areas where they were lacking. I was given a platform to learn and to be the best I could possibly be, to dream big and do big. And that has been my driving force, among other things.

Why should anyone use your service or product?

Buy and use our products and services because you are guaranteed high quality, reliability and exceptional service delivery. Buy and use our products and services and help change the lives of those we employ, and in turn, their families and their communities. All that will result in the growth of the economies in our local communities, thus growing the country’s economy. Buy from us because we are EQUIPPED to serve (Our Values), which include:
Excellence, Innovation, Enthusiasm; Quality, Pride, Dedication; Understanding, Passion.

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“I was given a platform to learn and to be the best I could possibly be, to dream big and do big. And that has been my driving force, among other things.”

Tell us a little about your team

The team is comprised of young, qualified, exceptional and vibrant chefs, administrator, and technical staff who have been with company for years now. We also have freelance staff that we use from time to time. Teamwork, passion, commitment and serving our clients with the highest standard at all times are what drive us. We pride ourselves on the highest methods and standards of preparation, as well as the transfer of skills by training on the job. The right hygiene standards, safety standards, storage standards and kitchen maintenance standards put us well on our way of being not only a top, black and women- owned caterer, but also one of the top event producers.

Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?

I don’t come from an entrepreneurial background, far from it! My family always believed that you have to go to school, get a degree/diploma and then find a job and that’s it. However, the support they have given me is amazing, and each time things get difficult and unbearable I always get reminded how they put all their reservations aside and trusted the choices I made. They are my pillars of strength.

It wasn’t easy starting this journey, with no capital but bucket loads of passion for people. I remember while at kindergarten, being asked what I wanted to be when I grew up and my response being ‘a social worker’…So I decided to do that through my work. Having studied Business communications and majoring in Marketing, Public Relations and Communication science and working on campus right from 1st year, I learned a lot about people. It taught me to be versatile and never to conform to society. I did everything I wanted, tried everything new and became quite the risk taker and brave young woman. I got bitten by the hospitality bug and so after graduation I worked for a hotel group called Village and Life, in a hotel called THE BAY Hotel – Camps Bay in Cape Town. I also had an opportunity to travel and that gave me the total experience of hospitality, behind the desk and in front of the desk. I had been involved in putting together events from high school and even through tertiary school, so it was just a perfect fit being exposed to banqueting and also working for two other events companies when I moved back to Pretoria. The final straw that pushed me to start and focus on my own company was when my then manager told me at the end of my probation period that the boss said no salaries were being raised, if people couldn’t wait for the 3rd quarter of the year they should leave and see how tough it is outside. I left immediately and a month later, I had a gala dinner and team building to organize for Provincial Secretaries’ Day hosted by The Premier’s office in the North West Province. That was in 2011 and I’ve never looked back since, and the experience taught me how not to treat my colleagues, employees and clients because ultimately, they make the business what it is…

“Our philosophy is “Identify a young and willing South African person from the street, make his or her weaknesses and poor conditions irrelevant, provide an appropriate environment where they can be better at what they do, and let them achieve their highest possible potential.”

What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?

There are a few plans that we intend pulling off in the short-medium term, like moving the current kitchen and restaurant to a bigger and better location. That means the team will increase, more families to feed, and more impact on their lives for the better. We also intend on using our farm to expand our crops from maize and sunflowers to also include fruit and vegetables. We’ll just have to employ systems and technologies to deal with the drought and all the challenges facing farmers currently. This will create further employment opportunities for people within the community where the farm is located, enabling us to contribute in increasing the economy in the area, and changing people’s lives. Like the saying: give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man how to fish and feed him for a lifetime.

What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?

Seeing an idea, a dream become a goal and then making it a reality is the most satisfying moment. Also meeting and exceeding clients’ expectations of our services just makes the journey of entrepreneurship all the more worthwhile and fulfilling. Working with the most energetic, dedicated and willing people also makes it worth it as i am driven by the Philosophy: “Identify a young and willing South African person from the street, make his or her weaknesses and poor conditions irrelevant, provide an appropriate environment where they can be better at what they do, and let them achieve their highest possible potential.” This is how I am living my social worker kindergarten dream… by serving others and providing a platform for those that need it.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?

It’s better to be prepared and not get an opportunity than to get an opportunity and not be prepared. Resilience is the most important attribute you will ever need, so that you don’t give up on your dreams and goals – no matter how difficult and challenging it may get.
Don’t make the mistake of entrusting anyone with your dream as you are the only one who will be committed into making it a reality. Surround yourself with people more knowledgeable and experienced so that you can learn from them. Get a mentor and always strive to inspire, influence and impact, as well as lead others to reach their highest potential so that they too can realize their dreams.

SOURCE: lionessesofafrica.com

 

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