Finding success in the business of love

Updated on 13 February 2015

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Finding success in the business of loveValentine’s Day is a day away and the subject of love will soon be on the minds of many couples across the globe.

It’s no secret that Valentines Day is considered by many to be a commercial holiday, which is being driven by brands to sell more products and generate more profits. While many may be uncomfortable with mixing business and love, Felicia Buthelezi has found a way to mix the two by focusing on an often ignored and niche market.

Spreading the love

Buthelezi is the founder and MD of Fisokuhle Media (Fisokuhle for Good wishes), a company that publishes a monthly lifestyle magazine, I Do, which promotes healthy marriages and happy homes, now in its fifth year.

Buthelezi is not a marriage counselor or a love guru, but she says she saw a gap for a publication that spoke to married couples, and would help fix broken marriages and also build happy homes.

“The magazine is aimed at bringing marriage back into fashion,” she says. “The inspiration came from realising that every second marriage ends in divorce. It was happening at a very high and scary rate and people were beginning to make it seem normal.”

The 2012/13 annual report of the Department of Justice showed that there was a 28% increase in new divorce matters in South Africa.

The roots of love and business

The I Do magazine.

The magazine’s content ranges from expert relationship advice, wedding fashion and decor tips, and profiles of inspirational couples among other stories.

“Married people don’t realise that there is a marriage after a wedding day. A marriage needs work – it’s a job,” she says. “Career women and men fail to observe that they are married to human beings, not robots. They put their careers before their marriages.”

Buthelezi says the most important aspect of a healthy marriage is vision for that marriage, understanding why you are married and where you want to see it go.

“If you don’t have a plan [for your marriage] – you are planning to fail,” she says.

Brand expansion

In conjunction with the magazine Buthelezi also organises the annual I Do Awards. Now in their third year, the awards celebrate love and honour inspiring couples, and are held on Valentine’s Day.

Buthelezi also established the Fisokuhle Foundation which offers support to marriages that are challenged, and also benefits less-privileged families that can’t afford such help.

She says to keep the spark in her 10-year marriage alive, she and her husband work together – he manages Fisokuhle, while she focuses on building the I Do brand.

Aligning purpose with business 

Navigating the media industry has not been without its fair share of challenges. Buthelezi says she knows well the struggles of trying to make it in the media industry as well as the often male dominated entrepreneurship space. She now employs six full-time employees.

“I made a lot of mistakes along the way. I also learnt valuable lessons from my mistakes,” she says. “[But] it has been a blessing to be able to align my purpose with my business.”

Buthelezi says her successes is as a result of her innate business acumen, professionalism, determination, and of course, her parents’ influence on the sanctimony of marriages.

“My parents were strict disciplinarians who impressed upon me the importance of hard-work and honesty,” she said.

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