By Danica Hansen
Local business woman, Shamila Ramjawan is well known for her community venture and partnership with Olympic gold medalist, Caster Semenya, the Princess D menstrual cup. The Tongaat & Verulam Tabloid recently had a chat with the high flyer to find out what makes a women in business.
T&VT: When did you realise that you were a natural born- business woman?
SJ: I established my business on my defining trait, empathy and I have a desire to assist the less fortunate as a driven, dynamic and determined person, continuously thinking outside the box. I decided after my MBA degree that I had the tools, encompassing expertise and experience to grow myself as an individual and the only way to do that was to start my own marketing company. It was only in last 18 months, due to my successes, that I started to believe that I have what it takes to be a successful business woman. I don’t think anyone is born as a businessperson. It takes long hours, hard work, blood, sweat and tears.
T&VT: Have you faced any challenges as a woman in business in South Africa?
SJ: As a start-up business owner there are major challenges. It was difficult because I started the business from a grass-root level with no investors and limited funding and resources. It’s been a mammoth task being a female entrepreneur pitching menstrual cups to males in a boardroom.
T&VT: What advice to you have for aspiring businesswomen?
SJ: Believe in yourself. Be bold, brave and take calculated risks. Stay focussed and positive, never give up as you are bound to have your good and bad days. We all have fallen and jumped up again so pick yourself up and be proud to be a women of stature. Complacency will destroy you so challenge yourself to do more every day because you have the potential.
T&VT: What inspired the PrincessD Menstrual cup?
SJ: Having worked with communities for over a decade, I realised there was a dire need to research the menstrual cup as a sustainable solution for menstruation because girls in deep rural areas miss school for up to 5 days in a month. I researched menstrual cups for about 2 years and since they have been around since the 1930’s. Early in 2016, I launched my own brand, the PrincessD Menstrual Cup, named after my daughter, Daksha whom I called PrincessD from an early age.
T&VT: What response have you had from school girls?
SJ: At first the girls are apprehensive but once we take them through the training and education around the product, they become more comfortable and look forward to using it. Feedback is always positive and this shows that we are making a difference to the lives of our girls.
T&VT: What are some of your goals going forward?
SJ: To complete my PhD. To grow the business to an acceptable level so that I can get some sleep. To further motivate and inspire people with my Facebook page, Quotes by Shamila Ramjawan.
T&VT: What has been your greatest achievement/ proudest moment as a business woman?
SJ: Launching my very own product, the PrincessD Menstrual Cup. Another greatest achievement is acquiring my business partner Double Olympic Gold Champ and SA’s Sportswoman of the Year, Caster Semenya. We share the same vision in making a societal difference. Being recognised as a women of worth and being nominated for various Business Woman of the Year Awards.
My perfect Sunday would be: reading the Sunday newspaper, catching up on current news and planning my diary and tasks for the week ahead.
A Durban event I wouldn’t miss is: the Vodacom Durban July (it’s on my bucket list. I wanted to attend this year but my work schedules didn’t permit.
My favourite Durban spot is: my sister, Sues’ house on the North Coast. She makes the most divine crab curry.
A night in or a night on the town: a night in
Dresses or slacks: dresses
What is your favourite colour: red
What is your favourite hot drink: Rooibos tea