Nelia Annandale of Keedo International in Cape Town

Nelia Annandale, owner and found of Keedo children's clothingWhy did you start your own business? 

When my twin babies were 2 years old, I was involved in a near fatal ski accident. This was for sure a life changing moment that made me realize that life is too short to postpone my dreams.

What are the hours that you work?

 When you have your own business there are no definite “working hours” I live, eat, breathe Keedo and it consumes many hours, sometimes up to 16 hours a day. One of the secrets to business success is unwavering commitment to back your dream with hard work.

How many people work in your business?

 Keedo provides empoyment opportunities to more than 200 people.nelia 1

What are the goals for your business? 

To grow Keedo as a world renowned brand that children will love for its softness, quality, playful prints and vibrant colours. To educate children to respect the environment and to empower the women of South Africa by providing them with jobs where they can grow to fulfil their full potential and take charge of their own careers and future.

How do you handle pressure?

I usually thrive under some pressure and I find it helps get the job done!

How would a man run your business differently? 

I think men can for sure add value. I however believe it is my female and motherly instincts that have shaped the core values of Keedo.

How do you juggle being a mom and running a business?

 Give a busy person more to do and they always manage it. Of course one needs to prioritise. When your kids are small they should always be your first priority. Your child’s safety, security and stimulation should never be compromised. As your kids grow older however, it is healthy to let them take more and more responsibilities; it makes them independent and allows you to spend more time with your business.  Another secret for me was that when my kids were little I stuck to a strict routine, especially their 19h30 bedtimes, to allow me evenings to work on strategic matters etc.

Would you ever go and work for a boss again? 

No, that will be extremely compromising!

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Do you ever take work home with you? 

Yes, all the time. I love what I do and do what I love so I love designing over week-ends in my home environment, I often wake up in the middle of the night and find my mind drifting off to work matters. I will sometimes get up and deal with the matter straight away. I also try to do a full hours admin work  from home before going to work in the mornings, I avoid the traffic and deal with most urgent emails before my day at work starts.

What do you do to relax? 

I paint and walk my dogs. I go to gym, read, enjoy creative cooking, work in my garden, listen to music and watch tv.( only since I have a pvr and record the programs that is of interest!)

What would you like to know more about?

 Technology, trees, birds and the healing energy of colour and semi-precious stones.

If you had to start again what would you better knowing what you know now?

 I wouldn’t put too many eggs in one basket.

Did you have to borrow money and if yes what route did you follow? 

Yes, I convinced my bank manager to give me a loan by showing her the beautiful clothes I made for my twins. She (a female bank manager) couldn’t resist and that’s how the Keedo brand was able to be brought to life!

What satisfaction do you get from running your own business? To empower the women of South Africa has always been a very important passion for me. In my company I have often seen women grow from shy and uneducated into confident individuals that take responsibility of their own lives and jobs. These women are often the main breadwinners of their immediate and extended families. I am driven and have devoted myself to making my life meaningful. For as long as I can remember, I have experienced an overwhelming compulsion to serve the children of the earth because I believe that we must invest in them, from their formative years, as they will to a large degree fashion our future.

 What makes your business successful? 

Two words…. Keedo cares

What form of marketing do you use?

 Word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising.  Other forms of advertising are loyalty  rewards program , newsletters, facebook, website, fashion shows, brochures,  good customer service and location of our stores is also an important aspect of our advertising. Being in an easily accessible location, especially for moms, plays a huge role in the success of our business.

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