Teboho Seretlo- Franchisee Owner of Levingers Premium Dry Cleaning and Shoe Clinic at Greenstone.
Teboho Seretlo is my sister – I have known her for over 4 decades and she is the one who taught me how to write and has often given wisdom to me on life, financial matters. She is a mother to a son, daughter, sister and friend.
Tebo has a B.SC Honours in Mathematics and an IEDP from GIBS – she has been a high school Maths & Science teacher, worked at Unilever, SAB, Coke, Momentum, and Nedbank
Tell us – what made you leave corporate and take the jump to be your own boss?
I always had an ambition to go it on my own by the time I turn 50. I registered a shelf-company in 2012, and honestly, I did not have a crystal-clear vision of what I wanted to do…. To cut a long story short, having postponed and being paralysed by fear of the unknown, God dealt me a catalyst to my dream, in the form of an untenable relationship in my corporate position. Having said that, on my 50th birthday exactly on the day, I finally took the plunge and decided to leave corporate, much as I thought I was not yet ready.
What is your business all about?
My business is a franchise, premium dry-cleaning, cobbling and alterations business. We also offer laundry services, as well as dyeing clothes, leather conditioning and cleaning. We also have a partnership with a company that hires out Carpet cleaning machines with detergents as well as a sneaker cleaning start-up business.
How did it start?
When I left my corporate job, I already had a development planning consulting firm with some friends doing consulting work for government. However, these assignments were few and far in between and I realised I cannot put all my eggs in one basket, and that I needed to diversify my business interests. Through a friend and mentor of mine whom I met at Coke, I had a few discussions about a few business ideas, and due to my risk-averse nature, he advised that I should rather go for an established business with an already existing brand and clientele. What I knew for sure was that I wanted something with low overheads and less labor-intensive. So, I thought of franchising and more importantly, brands that I personally use. So, it was a toss-up between a dry-cleaning service or a business-2-business franchise such as a Post Net.
Tell us about some of your highs and lows ?
The idea of not having a stable source of income was daunting…. you see; I am a very great planner so I plan leave, holiday trips etc. well in advance, with a salary/bonus and so not being able to do that was a huge adjustment. However, I realised that this was a luxury that I afforded because I depended on someone else to pay me to make their own dreams come true. The absolute high is owning my time, working at my own pace and not having to navigate peak hour traffic in Sandton…On a serious note, I am passionate about transforming the lives of others and so through my dry-cleaning outlet, I provide 2 families with a livelihood and that’s what keeps me going….Yes, it may only be 2 families, but like that Starfish story, it makes a difference to those families and that keeps me going.
What can you advise women who want to embark on this journey?
It’s a fulfilling journey, its daunting at times but very liberating. Trust your instincts, and trust that the decisions that you make at that time, are the best ones that you could have made. The buck stops with you, so don’t think too hard about stuff as if you will be standing in front of that intimidating EXCO team at work, who will question your every sentence. Don’t be scared to make decisions. Trust your journey…. more importantly, as phenomenal women, whom I had the pleasure to work for at Nedbank, like Prof Shirley Zinn and Ms Pinky Moholi taught me, always remember to lift others as you climb
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