The Sibhale collection was initiated Caroline Hlahla and Khulile Vilakazi-Ofosu ......a calling to mental emancipation..a new definition of freedom....soul freedom. The dolls are representative of an ignition in early ages for black children to be proud of there natural selves, African affirmation at roots level!
“The Sibahle Collection was born from the need to encourage our black children to be comfortable in their own skin! “The dolls smell of vanilla and have typical 4C Afro hair!” Khulile Vilakazi-Ofosu
Meet # CreatePreneurAfrica’s Caroline Hlahla and Khulile Vilakazi-Ofosu
Tell us what drives you? What is your true passion in life?
We want to leave a legacy, our drive is to be part of something that will positively impact another person’s life either through the Sibahle Collection Doll brand, which consists of a collection of dolls that are representative of us or, through our natural textured hair extension brand ‘Bounce Essential Hair’ which sells afro textured hair extensions that empower black women to embrace their natural hair.
How did you find your passion and how old were you?
We cannot give you a specific age. It was a soul calling we guess. Our purpose is to conscientiously awaken black pride
What about your passion appeals to you the most?
The feed-back from children who look at our dolls and say “mommy/daddy she is beautiful she looks like me” that response is the validation that we need that our brand is making a difference one doll at a time or the women who buy our afro textured hair extensions having the courage to wear their natural hair and feel beautiful.
What drove you to make money from your passions?
The need to make money was not the driving factor to produce the dolls nor the hair extensions. Money is a by-product of us addressing a lack of dolls representative of the black child, children deserve to see themselves in the toys they play with. Further, money has been the by-product of addressing the lack of afro-textured hair extensions to encourage women to embrace their natural hair.
When was the first time you were paid for your passion?
When we formally set up the business Bounce Essentials Africa, our goal was to build a brand that would raise awareness that there was an alternative to the flowy Indian/ Peruvian hair on the market. We wanted to give women the tools and know-how of how to take care of their natural hair. We quickly became a brand synonymous with quality and a niche offering, therefore money came as a by-product of addressing a lack on the market.
What kept you going when you thought about giving up?
It is always important to remember why you started, what problem were you seeking to solve? Has the problem been resolved? The business has taught us to be resilient, the business has also taught us lessons about growth through failure.
What motivates you every day to be even more successful?
What we love about our brands Sibahle Collection and Bounce Essential hair is that we are addressing the issue of self-love. We live in a world that we as black women, black children have been set standards of beauty by other races other than us. What motivates us to be successful is challenging the beauty standard that society has set for us by having more little girls growing up feeling affirmed that they are beautiful without long flowy hair. Further, women having the courage to embrace their natural hair and believe that it is professional to wear your natural hair to work.
What do you have to say to all of the people who doubted you?
Nothing, one of the most important lesson we learnt on this journey was not focusing on the nay sayers, there were too many, however, what we do say is, be grateful for the few who believe in you.
What advice do you give to aspiring creative is who look up to you?
The hardest thing is to start, there will always be a reason why it is not the right time, be it finances, or timing or other commitments. Our first advice is to take a deep breath and just start, the second is, on this journey you will need to resilient, the journey is full of trying times, disappointment and let downs, however, the journey is also filled with wins, accomplishments and self-growth.