SURET LOUW – THE STARTUP STORY OF A SOUTH AFRICAN ENTREPRENEUR ON A MISSION TO HELP WOMEN FIND BETTER BALANCE IN THEIR LIVES

Taking a more holistic approach to helping women achieve greater emotional and physical wellbeing, Suret Louwโ€™s entrepreneurial venture,Alive Image and Lifestyle Company, is dedicated to finding that elusive work/life balance.

What does your company do?

Alive is an Image and Lifestyle Company. Our three main focus areas are Style, Confidence and Fitness. I belive in a holistic approach where women have to give attention to all three these areas to be whole and happy within themselves. You have to look at your outer appearance and whats going on inside your mind and heart. If you look after yourself, you will be able give a lot more to the people in your life. Balance is key!

“If you look after yourself, you will be able give a lot more to the people in your life. Balance is key!”

What inspired you to start your company?

I studied psychology and saw the need for women to focus a little more on their outer appearance together with the soul healing. In my opinion it goes hand in hand. Sometimes a 60 minute fitness session is much more worthwhile for your emotional wellbeing than a 60 minute session with your psychologist. Donโ€™t get me wrong, I feel both are equally important, but I saw a gap in the market to combine the three services of counselling, fitness training and outer image styling. You know the saying, If she wears the right shoes, she can conquer the world!

Why should anyone use your service or product?

If you are a dynamic woman, with big dreams, but with a little self doubt, then you should pass by my studio. Women who are unsure how to dress for their interview or new job. Anyone seeking advice of what colours to wear for a business meeting, through to how to keep fit!

“As an entrepreneur you cannot afford to doubt yourself, but weโ€™re human, so we do. And that is where the really good support system comes in. When it seems like my boat is sinking, friends and family always show up to take over the rowing.”

Tell us a little about your team.

My team consists of my photographer friend, Tanita. She takes all my photos for my blog posts. I believe in building relationships as strongly as possible wherever you go. So our friendship coffee dates turned into photo shoot dates where we have a lot of fun. Its way less embarrasing when your true friend tells you you look a little goofy on a photo than when a professional photographer tells you. And then we can at least share a good laugh and make silly memories.

I also work very closely with my mentor and web developer, Carla. Her main job is to ask me all the hard questions. Why am I doing things the way I do? What is my reasoning behind what I do? What do I want to achieve with this specific task? When people ask hard questions, it forces you think about why you are doing the things you do, and question where you are heading with your plans and visions. Unorganised thoughts tend to become clutter over which you stumble, while you are in actual fact trying to put stepping stones towards success in place.

The third part of my team is my support system. As an entrepreneur you cannot afford to doubt yourself, but weโ€™re human, so we do. And that is where the really good support system comes in. When it seems like my boat is sinking, friends and family always show up to take over the rowing.

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

Iโ€™ve been an entrepreneur since I can remember. It started with chicken farming. I bought 10 little chicks with my R20 pocket money and from there I grew my business. Later on I made jewelry and sold it to my mom and her friends. At one stage in primary school I even sold disinfectant products to teach my friends about germs. *blush*. I just never stopped thinking of new ideas to make money.

“I want Alive to be the first place women go when they have a lifestyle question regarding confidence, fitness and style.”

What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?

I hope and plan to grow Alive into a well-known brand among South Africans. Maybe include a clothing line and an etiquette book or two. I want Alive to be the first place women go when they have a lifestyle question regarding confidence, fitness and style.

What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?

Freedom, I need freedom, to express myself, to use my ideas and to spend my time on building everlasting relationships.

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