Buyi Mafoko: Embracing Self and Striving for the Very Best
Inspired by the unrelenting pursuit of her dreams to create a meaningful legacy. Buyi was born into a family of self-starters that have a strong influence in her life. She embraced the discovery of becoming entrepreneurial from the foundations of her career. Her demeanour to life is that of a student and the opportunity to constantly learn has been her greatest motivation to stay the course. The quote by Lao Tzu perfectly articulates the season she is growing into, a naturally reflective time that we all find ourselves in right now: “When the student is ready the teacher will appear. When the student is truly ready the teacher will disappear.”
She describes herself in these three words: Live, Love, Legacy. We share the learnings, her journey as she dishes advise to other entrepreneurs on how to harness and leverage on self.
Tell us about your business, when you started and why you started your entrepreneurship journey
My career started in publishing at Media24 and has been enriched with experience across the marketing, branding and advertising industries. I’m also the co-founder and Managing Director at Matte BLK, a 100% black-owned, digital experiential and activations agency which is complemented by its digital print production subsidiary, Matte BLK Printing. It is after more than 10 years on this entrepreneurial journey, some failed business ventures and great mentorship from my business partner that this vision for my luxury consultancy was birthed. I celebrate all the seasons I’ve endured in business and the power of failure is in creating an enabling environment for you to rediscover your dreams.
The Events Fraternity is a Pan-African consultancy vested in the Emerging Affluent and Affluent consumer market. Nuanced towards a luxury motif, we curate connections between brands and corporations with a pantheon of cultural devotedness. Our conviction embraces the progressive perception of luxury and endeavours to bestow African luxury businesses with the poise to realise global commercial ventures.
We are currently a team of four consultants with expertise in the strategy, finance, marketing and legal disciplines and rapidly growing as we make connections with other African players and the global luxury industry. At present, we are at the important stage of capacity building and fundraising to identify potential investors.
Our team is made up of a 50:50 balanced gender complement which we will diversity as the team grows.
Do you have any partners and if so local or international
Our ethos is a virtue for Curating Connections; therefore, collaborations are an inherent value in our business. We have invested in this process by leveraging our business networks to connect with other local and international luxury partners. Currently, we have built relationships with global organisations such as Conde Nast.
What is your growth plan in the next 3-5 years
Acting at an institutional level, the firm provides intelligence and market access to luxury enterprises that strive to accelerate the continent’s economic and social growth. In the next 3-5 years, we plan to expand our presence across the continent as a data and insights-centric advisory firm rooted in e-commerce fostering commercially viable, results-driven and profitable relationships between B2B stakeholders vested in African luxury. Our end goal is to build credibility in advising global luxury brands by being a strategic repository and regulatory body of African luxury standards.
What is your business doing differently to impact others in your community?
Our sustainability strategy strives to partner with local communities in order to preserve craftsmanship skills, commercialize raw materials and develop Africa’s future luxury brands. It is distinct in the aspect that it seeks to educate, advise and enable market access opportunities for local enterprises looking to grow in the African luxury market and internationalize to global markets.
How has COVID-19 this affected your business?
Our plan was to work out of Europe this year to spend time in networking and studying the makings of luxury conglomerates with a view to develop a distinctly African luxury strategy for our business. The advent of digital has progressively advanced our relationship with technology and though limited, we have leveraged these platforms to still make these connections online.
What challenges as a woman are you facing?
The gender gap impairs the extent to which women can grow in business and the intentionality of certain industries being exclusionary perpetuates this status quo. As women we must have the confidence that we can lead, we can excel and that where we’re faced with challenges, we can ask for support from other women and men without being labelled as incapable. I am an advocate of academics and seeking support, allowing myself to be taught has availed unimaginable platforms for me to learn develop my career. I’m not intimidated at the prospect of claiming not to know therefore this has never hindered my growth in business.
What do you believe can be done to address these challenges?
Women, particularly in leadership and influential positions are representative of the female stakeholders that need to recognise themselves as change agents in key economic activities. Creating a clearer path to gender-diverse senior leadership in organisations is critical in offering an interconnected experience, that in turn breeds creativity and innovation that improves the overall performance of the business in value creation for its clients. We are intuitive and integrated thinkers and bring the perspective of inclusivity in organisations. As nurturers, we have a place in key decision-making positions to employ the softer skills and give society the confidence that business is mindful of its impact on the communities they service. In an era where people are looking for authentic connections, emotions can no longer be negated as unimportant because more feminine skills can be leveraged by brands to connect with their consumers, which is pivotal to being able to sell any product or service.
What valuable lessons can you share with other women?
Be courageous, lead your own way in pursuing your dreams and be unyielding in your aspirations. Give yourself the permission to dare greatly and be consistent with your vision in order to achieve the mastery of your dreams.
What is your advice to women especially during these very uncertain times?
Embrace your feminine power and be realistic with the expectations you set for yourself. The role of the modern woman is met with very high expectations and the façade is to strive for perfection. On the contrary, the more authentic experience for women should be to trust and be kinder to themselves and this will be reciprocated with beautiful collections of hope for your future.
What is your contact and how can other businesses get in touch with you?