Charmaine Ramalope: It takes hard work and determination to make it

12/02/2016


GlamFoodie WINE&DINE is the brainchild of Charmaine Ramalope – a food and wine writer and social media content creator, campaign planner and foodie influencer.  Her flair for all things gourmet has gained her a fair share of limelight within the foodie circles – from hosting interactive
cooking classes, wine tastings and fine dining dinners – all of which have attracted some of Joburg and Cape Town's elite socialites. In this interview, she shares her entrepreneurial journey.

How did you get started and why did you open GlamFoodie?

When I started GlamFoodie in 2015, foodies were either hobbyists or bloggers, no one was offering a compelling and comprehensive service. The category lacked professionalism. I felt that I could exploit the gap and provide a complete foodie package.

The culinary world is notoriously male-dominated. How have you found your way as a female chef and entrepreneur?

Its like any other industry, it takes hard work and determination to make it. Personally, my networking skills, professionalism and an ability to forge strategic partnerships has leveled the playing field beyond gender politics.

How did you raise your start up money?

Aspiring entrepreneurs tend to think starting a successful business requires start up capital, it's not always the case. For me, it took personal sacrifices and forging strategic partners to get my business up and running.

Did you write a business plan? Was it an effective tool for you?


Initially when I started GlamFoodie it was a passion, so naturally it evolved into a business.


Who did you hire to help you with your business - bookkeeper, an accountant, lawyer …? Would you suggest others do the same?


I was fortunate enough to have people around me who believed in the brand and the vision, people who readily gave their expertise to advise on everything from marketing, brand architecture, finance etc.

Have you outsourced any portion of your business? And has that worked for your business?

The business is still in its early stages so I try and do as much as possible myself. With event photography and website maintenance I do outsource as these require specialist skills.

What have you done that has been very effective in helping to grow the business?

To help grow the business I do market my services and events via social media. To effectively manage finances, I have a separate business bank account.

Do you have rainy-day savings for your business? 

Yes.

What's a financial mistake you made as a business owner in the beginning? And how did you bounce from it?

Before introducing an e-commerce system on my website, it was hard to keep track of bookings & orders and I found myself having to cover the deficit.


What advice can you offer female business owners on making sure they're being compensated fairly for their work?

Find opportunities where they can add value for their clients and focus on delivering outstanding service.


Do you have business mentors, and if so, how have they helped you develop as an entrepreneur?

Yes, I have more than one mentor because my business has different growth needs. It's enabled me to fast track my learning. 


What have you learned from starting your company that might be useful to would-be entrepreneurs?

Apart from the financial gains, it's been more satisfying learning and discovering about myself, my weaknesses and strengths. I've learned to nurture my leadership, organiational and planning skills.

You can follow GlamFoodie on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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