Founder Mpho Hansjee on Being the Director of Her Own Growth through Launching Her Business: Shop Consciously
Hello Mpho! Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business.
Hi! My name is Mpho, pronounced “Mo”, and I love the act of women elevating women. My business, Shop Consciously, helps women artisans from different African countries sell their products abroad, so that they can have self-sufficiency.
So Mpho, what excites you about being an Entreprenista League member?
Everything! Being surrounded by other incredible entrepreneurs and receiving coaching and mentorship from remarkable entrepreneurs.
What made you take the leap to start Shop Consciously?
I knew there was more to life, for me anyways, than the day in and day out of a typical 9-5. I wanted to have a much more expansive view for what I could accomplish in my career that did not depend on another person. Being the director of my own growth, that keeps me going.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I worked in corporate retail analytics for both e-commerce and brick and mortar.
So Mpho, have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit?
No actually, I did not expect for the card to fall this way, but I love the way the story unfolded.
Marketing a new business is so important! Take us back to when you first launched Shop Consciously, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out?
I leveraged my warm network, an initial email list and I became an avid story teller. I had plenty to learn, it did not go as expected, but I learned so many lessons that I applied and the next launch was more successful.
So Mpho, as you know, entreprenistas face challenges every single day. What is the biggest challenge you have encountered along the way?
Learning that you grow by iteration in business. Every single experience is only feedback and is teaching me how to make the next iteration better.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
Being awarded the Refer Her award by I Fund Women!
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
No, I do not. I believe it’s more like a dance and finding a rhythm between the two. Sometime the steps are heaver in the work, and sometimes the work slows down and the life picks up. Owning and acknowledging them both helps to navigate the different rhythms.
What’s a piece of advice you can share that you wish you’d known when you first started your Entreprenista journey?
Failure is feedback. If you learn and apply, you will find your way.
Mpho, you have lots to celebrate! What have you achieved recently that you’d like to celebrate with our community?
We just launched our mobile app!!!
What’s next for Shop Consciously? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
We hope to double the number of African women artisans we support on our platform, and to drive revenue so that we are able to grow the demand for the amazing women whose lives are changed when we purchase their products. These incredible artisans not only provide a safe, dignified job for themselves, but when their business grows, they go on to create jobs in their communities.
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