Sandile – Freelance writer and blogger tells us how he started his business and career
We heard from Tshepi how announcing to your parents that you want to go out and make a career out of fashion isn’t always what our parents like to hear. More often than not, we’ll get a response to this announcement which sounds more like a “surely, you mean you want to be a doctor” than it does a “what a wonderful idea, I’ll support you”.
Well fortunately for the world, this is not always the case as we learnt from Durban-born Sandile Nene, founder of the SA Bloggers Association, who refers to his mother as “his inspiration and mentor on how to become independent one’s life”. With fashion in his blood, his mother was a seamstress. Through the breath of the craft, she raised 5 children. A true entrepreneur, she has never been employed by anyone and beyond that, in 2010 she decided she needed something more than a dressmaking course qualification and decided to enrol at a fashion school where she graduated with BA in Fashion Design Diploma and received the award of Top Designer on her final.
Inspiring story, right?
Fashion raising 5 children and putting all 5 through schooling.
Fashion creating jobs.
Fashion as a long-term business.
It’s possible and we know so.
But before, we tell you more about what we’re doing to make an impact for fashion entrepreneurs and small-business owners, we interviewed Sandile Nene himself to find out more about growing up in Durban and pushing through as a blogger and PR executive.
Tell us how you started off blogging?
I have always been an inquisitive person. I loved to Google stuff and read the news online. I was actually one of the 1st people to have Facebook in my hood and I helped many people create accounts. I knew this is something I want to do for a living, just spending time online and building conversations online.
But after matric mom wanted me to study fashion so she took me to fashion school. During this time I already had a blog and would go to an internet Cafe nearby called Da Dot Com – once a week I would visit the cafe to schedule items, respond to emails and monitor what’s trending online. 6 months down the line I landed a gig at Vibe FM as an entertainment commentator. This helped convince my mom that I could drop out of fashion school.
What steps did you take to make sure your blogging game was on point?
I made sure that I attend all the latest cool parties, I knew which celebrity was trending and for what reason. I participated a lot in conversations and made sure to land an interview with the trending celebrity at that period of time. Working and reporting for YoMansi groomed me so much about the entertainment industry and blogging.
Why did you create the SA bloggers association?
It was my way of discovering other South African bloggers, and also wanted to create a platform that South African bloggers can share their stories. I am proud of what it has become and I’m looking forward to inspiring more bloggers and expanding the platform even more.
What are you busy with now?
I currently do PR and work as a digital editor for a KZN based radio station. I also run and managed my personal blog www.sandynene.com and www.weblogforlove.com – I am busy taking briefs from different clients, pitching ideas and I also do PR for a KZN based 19 year old musician Dee Wyz.
What fascinates you with PR?
The Buzz, seeing something taken from a simple meeting coming to life.
What skills did you learn whilst doing PR that can help aspiring fashion entrepreneurs?
- Time is very important
- Pay extreme attention to details,
- ‘The brand will always count on you’, so that means BE RELIABLE
- Sometimes saying no to clients can bring out the best in you.
What can we expect to see from Sandile in the future?
I am already building an empire. I want to be the biggest digital entrepreneur in Africa. I want to open an online store for my mom and I want to collaborate with some of the biggest entrepreneurs in the world. There’s just so much!
What does raising the standard mean to you?
It means going for what you believe in.
How can people make sure they reach their next?
Break boundaries, grab every opportunity and always do your research.