Nels baby company
Beatha Shitemba is the managing member of Nels, a Namibian company that manufactures trendy and gorgeous bedding for babies and toddlers.
25 July 2017 | Business
Using her experience as a social media consultant and the savings she has built up throughout the years, Shitemba decided it was time to take a risk and go all out, setting up Nels, a unique locally owned and operating company that makes custom-made bedding products for babies.
She has been trading informally since June 2016 and formally established Nels this year.
“Nels manufactures and provides the Namibian market with trendy and gorgeous bedding for babies and toddlers. Apart from bedding, Nels also sells designer fabric that customers can purchase and design their own tailor-made bedding or accessories. Nels also provides essentials like hooded towels, nursing covers, plush toys and much more. All our gorgeous products are made from 100% cotton or muslin fabrics,” says Shitemba of her business.
“There are several reasons why I started Nels,” she says. “
“There is great potential in the industry, in terms of baby products manufactured in Africa. Secondly, our Namibian market does not offer designer baby bedding, kids' bedding and related essentials. I've also found that most of the baby products we have in our country are imported,” says Shitemba of the need to start her own business.
“The initial inspiration moment came from a baby boutique operating in East Africa and due to high volume of baby products imports in Africa. It was a very easy to choice to make. I love babies... the whole idea of transforming a room into a baby nursery and the ability to make parents happy gives me immense joy,” Shitemba says.
She bemoans the lack of funding support for small and medium enterprises.
“One of the challenges that I faced is not having any funding. Financial aid from financial institutions can be very expensive for small start-ups. And at this stage, I don't think our government has created an environment that is conducive enough for start-ups to thrive and grow,” she says of her journey so far.
She also believes there is a need to promote the manufacture of locally produced goods better.
“Our country should limit imports and promote locally produced products or regulate foreign companies, who are trading in our country, in such a way that Namibian companies are given the opportunity to penetrate the market,” adds Shitemba.
She has also had to adapt to being a mother, full-time employee and part-time business owner.
“It is also a challenge to maintain the balance between all the aspects of my life. Being highly organised and time allocation is very important. I operate on a schedule to ensure that all obligations are met,” she says
A little over half a year into formal business operations, this banker-cum-entrepreneur finds her role fulfilling.
“It's rewarding being an entrepreneur. Apart from the rewards, of course there are challenges that are faced with each passing business milestone. These challenges assisted me in refining my business strategies and goals. Namibia has so many business opportunities. It's not an easy task starting a business, but once the first step is taken, everything falls in place,” she says.
She acknowledges that she now needs more time than ever to attend to her business.
The challenge has been with the time required for business operations. The busier the business gets, the more time is required.
Despite the downturn that is currently being experienced, she does not think that she has made a mistake to invest know and says her business warrants a place in the market.
“I believe that even though the economy is experiencing a downturn, the need for unique baby products will always,” she says.
“The thrill of establish a local brand keeps me motivates. The mere fact that ideas can become a reality is exciting. There are a couple of women entrepreneurs whom I look up to, too many names to mention.”
She is also keen to have Nels expand into franchising.
“I'm working on establishing a local brand that has a strong presence in the country. In the near future, I would like to have a showroom and possibly go into franchising later,” the ambitious go-getter says of her future plans.