Anthea Ambraal, the youngest of 3 children, grew up in Tafelsig, Mitchell’s Plain. She was forced to grow up and survive on her own at the age of 16 when her mother passed away.
In her final year of school (Grade 12) having no income in the house, she had to pay for her schooling and found a job, working at a stall that sells caps and sunglasses in Town Centre. After completing Grade 12, she started working in Epping as a line feeder cutting thread off garments and working herself up to a Fabric Buyer during the 8 years at the company.
When Anthea was on maternity leave with her second child, the company started retrenchments. She then volunteered to be retrenched and started working for one of the fabric suppliers as an Admin Clerk for 3 years.
Later, Anthea gave birth to her third child who was born with health problems which forced her to resign to take care of him and this caused her to start selling toilet paper, chicken, biltong and many other goods to help her family survive. On her son’s first birthday, she planned a party and used her time and sourcing skills to buy the latest props and themed decorations and that is where it all started. After the birthday party, her family and friends asked her to plan and set up their kid’s parties as well and after a year of this, she realised she could make a living and started charging set up and planning fee. Anthea grew tired of hiring from suppliers so she invested in purchasing furniture to hire out which brought in more events then business started growing rapidly.
After speaking to a friend about her business, she was informed that the Youth Café in Town Centre was running an entrepreneurship course. She decided to join and that’s how her RLabs journey started. After the entrepreneurship course, she had so much more confidence as she learnt that all she needed was a Minimum Viable Product which was her couch that she used for hiring services and then partnering with someone who has transport to deliver and collect her furniture at events. The course made her see that it was much simpler than she had thought.
After the entrepreneurship course, she had the confidence to step out and sign up for more courses with RLabs such as, Get Crafty and Events Management. She learned how to create her own centrepieces with recycled material which saved her from hiring for her events. She has now employed three teenage boys who used to loiter on the corner and now they earn their own salary and are excited about learning more about the business.
“My business is doing well as I have Events almost every weekend and also the hiring side of the business is booming within less than a year, now I have 4 couches, 2 different table and chair combos, flower stands, a headboard, a candy cart, red carpet which I hire out on a weekly basis so even when I don’t have any events, the furniture is still working for me.”
Anthea is still on a never-ending journey of learning to improve her business by working on her strengths and weaknesses, overcoming challenges and laying hold of opportunities that come her way.