Starting a business fundamentally requires you to take a chance on yourself, and that’s exactly what Mahlatse Mashao had to do three years ago. It was while she was hospitalised that she found a well of motivation, launching Dipalesa Flowas as soon as she was released. The business offers intricate flower arrangements, luxury flowers, gifting and even has the option to create bespoke picnics for events. She hopes to rival South Africa’s bigger online florists soon.
Her passion for flowers and gardening began early; she was always lending a hand after school. Once Mashao had established her online store, the first customers came from Twitter. She recognised the value of the online community and their desire to support local, female and black-owned businesses. The burst of business from social media then trickled into word-of-mouth and before she knew it, her first business was on its way to success. She is also extremely proud of the fact that her store is the first to deliver to all areas of Gauteng, including the townships. Her inspiring story even landed her an interview on SABC News. What makes this all so much more impressive is that she ran the business while she had another, full-time job.
She knows the success of her business is tied to hard work, but Mashao’s work ethic comes from her passion.
“There were days that I would forget that I have a negative bank balance. Making that one delivery at a time was, and still is, fulfilling for me,” she explains.
Without the risk she took, the business wouldn’t be where it’s at today, and she hopes she can leave a legacy that inspires a new generation to do the same.