Pivot with Radical Resilience
How Germaine Jacobs Switched Lanes to Start an iconic African Interior & design brand called spaces
It’s safe to say that every business has been affected by the COVID-19 crisis, but there is one category that’s really felt the impact: Small business.
As the lifeblood of our economy, it’s imperative that we all do our best to help wherever and however we can. We’ve been spending a lot of time at Win@Work HQ discussing how we can best show up for and support our community during this uncertain time. Community is at our core, and connecting with others through one-of-a-kind experiences is what we love to do. While the world has changed, our mission has not. As many small businesses quickly adapt to the “new normal” we want them to know, they don’t have to do it alone.
Welcome friends, Today on the pod, we’re taking a deep dive into the old cliché:
“Find something you love to do, and figure out how to make money doing it.”
Sounds simple doesn’t it? But it’s often easier said than done, because let’s face it, even if you have found your passion, the hard part is turning it into profit. In Germain Jacobs’ case, that path was 10 years in the making, with a lot of blood, sweat, and tears along the way.
But here’s the thing—that didn’t stop her, and it shouldn’t deter you, either! The spark for a new business idea can come at any moment, as long as you’re open to the possibility. Germain’s lightbulb moment came while seeking decorative pieces for her home and around a conversation on decorating with mud cloth fabrics, which soon turned into a realisation of how inaccessible they were to find! For as long as she can remember she had a passion for interiors and design. She knew, it felt wrong, when she made the choice to do a Marketing degree, and as a person of colour what her parents were trying to achieve was to make sure that as kids they would get the education they needed to secure good job
She experienced a general dissatisfaction for whatever job she was doing and ended up starting a blog as an outlet. It was a case of knowing that she needed to change career lanes. it wasn’t as simple to just change lanes with not having the right connections, entry barriers are still today, very much a stumbling block. Changing lanes or pivoting in your career, is not alway easy, as Life happens, I’m sure you the listener is nodding your head in agreement. However, Fast forward to last year, due to a restructure her role with her company was made redundant, and her apparent failure in retrospect was actually the start of the happiness that is now.
So, Germaine fused her entrepreneurial spirit with her passion for all things interior to create a beautiful brand & an online store called Spaces, in 2010 based in Durban. The coming together for this passion project was such a natural occurrence for her and her sister Jocelyn.
Spases is a real appreciation for our African heritage with a minimal twist. This collection of products are their love for all things natural, minimal and African. It’s a collection of handmade products that incorporates various African cultures including their Mali mud cloth collection, Zulu baskets and Malawian chairs. Their goal is to show that being African can also be minimal and chic, creating their own Pinterest if you will! To show that minimal culture is not necessarily an aspiration created by the West, however it’s right here in front of us!
Today, Spaces is a cult-favorite brand with numerous celebrity fans & customers, and I just absolutely love the story, values and heart behind the brand. Of course, the journey from start-up to smash hit wasn’t as smooth as it sounds. So, for this episode of Work@Work, I’m sitting down with this Incredible Female founder to dive deeper into the concept of turning your passion into profit, and how she started an online empire with her Sister Jocelyn, who by the way has been in the textile industry for years and has experience in the nuts and bolts of textile manufacturing, trend forecasting and the back end of the fashion world. Before we dive into this episode, I just want to take a minute to ground it with a quote by the beautiful
"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style."
So get comfortable, grab your cup of coffee, snuggle into a cosy space and enjoy my conversation with the beautiful and inspirational Female Founder.
If you loved this Episode, shoot me and Germaine a DM on Instagram with your favourite part of the episode, because we would love to hear from you
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