Tshepi Vundla has built a business for those who are either too busy to shop, don’t enjoy shopping or don’t know what to shop for.
She is the founder of Twelve Consulting, which specialises in personal shopping, styling and wardrobe consulting.
Vundla’s clients, who also include celebrities, call on her styling services for various events including weddings, award shows and parties. She also does styling work for brand campaigns and TV productions.
In 2015 she was appointed as a wardrobe specialist for one of SA’s biggest television productions, The Road. She also styles cast members for the television production, Isibiya. Vundla earned her fashion credentials as a fashion blogger and influencer.
Like many influencers who go on to launch businesses, she used her Instagram account (where she posts outfit pics) to establish herself as a brand.
It wasn’t long before big brands came calling. In 2014 Vundla was selected by retailer Woolworths for its ‘StyleBySA’ campaign alongside other local influencers: photographer Trevor Stuurman; Sharon Becker, founder of make-up agency SB Beauty; Bee Diamondhead, former Marie Claire editor and freelance stylist; Lethabo Boogy Maboi, Styled by Boogy founder and fashion stylist for Lampost, Papama Mtwisha. Vundla, who has a background in marketing, says working for big brands paved the way for her transition into a serious business owner.
“The most interesting part is huge brands wanting to work with me when my career started out as a hobby and everyone wanted to know what I was wearing when I was out and about.
Now I have opportunities presented to me that have shown me what being Tshepi can do to change my life,” she said in an interview with fashion publication, Previdar.
From influencer to fashion entrepreneur – Find out more about how the styling business works and Vundla’s approach.
1. Her Approach To Work
A stylist’s responsibilities can range from styling and concept design to picking locations and choosing models.
In a We Are Threads interview Vundla says she’s meticulous about finding the right wardrobe and outfits, spending the time to analyse the context of the person, event and/or brief.
“I keep a scrapbook where I regularly insert pictures of colours, textures, clothing items and any other item that I want to keep as inspiration for my outfits. It’s important to stay abreast of fashion trends.”
2. Selling Her Personal Style
Vundla’s social media presence continues to be a big part of her business. She displays her style through style posts on both her blog and Instagram account, both of which boast a large following.
3. The Words She Does Business By
Like many entrepreneurs, Vundla says she has experienced her fair share of successes and failures, and often shares the lessons she has learnt along the way in media interviews and on her various social media accounts.
On failure Vundla says it is inevitable in order to discover your passion, saying that “If you’re not ready to fail, you might never discover your true calling”.
Her success as an influencer may have been instant, but Vundla says building a sustainable brand or business takes work. “Entrepreneurship is not an art, it’s a practice,” she says in the We Are Threads interview.
4. Best of Both
Vundla in another Previdar interview says she believes all the roles she plays – an entrepreneur, influencer and socialite – have helped her grow her brand.
“I am a stylist and run my own business before being a “socialite”, but I don’t see anything wrong with being labeled a socialite, if it means I can diversify my revenue and continue to do what I love,” she says.