Two Batswana sisters, Natasha Maphorisa Town and Reneilwe Maphorisa Motswasele are the brains behind trending store, Atelier du Desert Kids.
The store is located at Game City mall, and also operates online. It all started as a dream by the sisters to offer their clientele the funkiest and trendiest children’s clothing but at affordable pricing. The two sisters strongly believe that fashion can be fun without breaking the bank. Narrating how it all started, Motswasele explains that the journey started two years ago with a dream to start an international business that could help launch Botswana into a global spotlight. Mid last year, she says they launched their first online store. Subsequent websites have been launched in response to the market demands; as they received so many requests from South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique to mention a few.
Today, the sisters have one physical store (the Gaborone one) and operate online in four different markets with no intention of slowing down. They started off with children’s clothes and have expanded to include women fashion accessories such as sunglasses, hats and handbags. “We always aim to provide the trendiest looks and pieces, so we keep our sourcing dynamic. We source mainly from Asia & Europe,” she says. Detailing how one can transform a look for their little tot, she explains that accessories are imperative for every outfit and that is why have hats, sunglasses, hair bows, bags, necklaces and shoes for the little future fashionistas. Motswasele also explains that they try to put great outfits together for their campaign shoots to help their clients see how they can dress their child. “We also create mood boards and post them to help one visualise how they can put outfits from our store together,” she says.
“So just a simple hat or necklace and bag can make the cutest difference,” she adds. Quizzed about challenges, she notes that every single day of the last eight months have been a challenge but also such an amazing experience. The duo have found that while there have been great measures from the government to push entrepreneurship, a lot still needs to be done in order to achieve the potential that Botswana has. “For example, our country needs more affordable solutions for entrepreneurs and young businesses to be able to trade beyond the borders such as shipping costs, customs tax and so forth. This could really boost the economy,” she says.
“As a country, we need to find solutions to make Botswana businesses more visible on a global scale. The exciting thing about Botswana is we are only at the beginning. It is only upward from here,” says Motswasele. So what is next for the duo, well their plan is to operate two physical stores in two years. And their next step is opening a second branch in Francistown where they already have a large clientele that orders from their website Francistown but also to have physical stores in Nairobi, Beruit and Johannesburg to support their local websites.
“We also plan on collaborating with local designers and we have a vision of manufacturing locally in the next five years,” she says.