Ofentse goes for a win in the marriage business

  • But rental costs have killed prolific Batswana businesses
  • Industry players put Facebook as most preferred marketing tool


What started as a tent hire business for weddings by a Mahalapye woman and her daughter has since diversified and blossomed into a fully stocked up wedding retail shop at Mogoditshane’s latest convenience shopping mall, Bodiba Mall.
Bride All Boutique provides wedding packages for different budgets and lifestyles, with tents, gowns and event sitting.
Like many professionals who have taken years studying qualified clinical psychologist, Ofentse has chosen to rather go into business. The wedding business is worth P3 trillion annually.
“I don’t really have time for the profession because of the business,” she declares unapologetically.
What does Bride All Boutique need to transcend to the next level? “We have to open more stores around the country, this the next stage of our strategy,” she said, adding that “We have to do more marketing.”
Ofentse is also looking to pivot the benefits of social media platforms such as Facebook, which many Batswana have taken to in the last ten years.
Ofentse Molapisi first got into the business two years back, starting off with six bridal gowns, not a smooth start by any measure, according to her.
“I went to Belgium and bought the wrong gowns for this market, and they didn’t do as well as I had hoped,” she said. “So I went to China and bought some midrange gowns that are not too expensive but not cheap either and that has since been a hit with the locals,” she said.
“My mother discovered the gap in the market for wedding gowns and suggested that I explore this line of business,” said Molapisi.
Not detered by recent reports of Batswana businesses getting into cashflow trouble due to accumulated rentals and other fixed costs, Ofentse posits that she has made the right choice and her timing is just right to open a store, after observing her market for two years. She however, would not reveal how much rental the business pays to Apex Properties, the owners of Bodiba Mall in Mogoditshane, where the store has been operating since the beginning of the year.
This happens in the backdrop of other retail stores struggling to meet rental obligations, resultantly facing liquidation. Since mid 2011, renowned urban wear retailers, Mafia Soul (recently rebranded to Urban Soul) entered into a lease agreement with Turnstar Holdings to occupy a shop space at resort retail centre, Game City mall, paying monthly rentals of P20,509.47 per month, which escalate by 10 percent annually.
At a global level, marketers prefer Facebook adverts with 87 percent while Twitter only serves 19 percent of the market.
Reached for comment on whether social media platforms can work for Botswana businesses, Marketing and brand expert, ,told Gazette Business that definitely, social media platforms could work for marketing small businesses “if it is done effectively for the target market.”
The 2016 Social Media Marketing Report put Facebook as the most important social network for marketers by a long shot. When asked to select their most important platform, 55 percent of marketers chose Facebook, followed by LinkedIn at 18 percent. Plus, 67 percent of marketers plan on increasing their Facebook marketing activities, with new live broadcasting features Facebook, exciting marketers even further.
However, only 46 percent of marketers feel like their Facebook efforts are working, a slight increase from 45 percent in 2015. Again, most marketers either don’t know or indicated that their Facebook marketing is not working.