Director Woman Magazine Issue 01

Lerato Morapela, CEO of Rato Pela

Lerato Morapela (20) is the founder of luxury leather handbag company Rato Pela (Pty) Ltd based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Lerato has known since she was just 7 years old that fashion was her passion. Although the starlet spent a lot of time ruining her clothes as a child and crying ‘design’, the vision has always been there. “My grandfather [owned] a clothing manufacturing company when I was a little girl, so I grew up in [fashion]. I’ve also always been creative,” she shares. It’s not surprising that Lerato started thinking about ways to fund her passion and turn it into a profit-making venture very early on. The young creative sold cupcakes in high school. “I knew from a young age [that] I wanted to become an entrepreneur. I also wanted to show my parents how serious I was and that even at a young age, I could make my dreams come true.”

Rato Pela

Lerato’s vision is to reimagine “African luxury”. She wants to see Rato Pela contend with leading and giant international luxury handbag brands in the long-term.

Though she herself is fairly new in the industry, she shares that one of the most important lessons she’s learnt is to maintain a good relationship with her suppliers and manufacturers. “It’s also important that you do your research and find the right supplier. Get your facts straight before you sell to your customer and most importantly, if you’re going to sell your products internationally, get an exporters’ license!” she adds.

To order from Rato Pela, you can find them on Instagram or visit their website. For customized orders, you can email Lerato directly.

About Author

Director Woman is a pan African women's career and business lifestyle digital magazine that celebrates, educates and empowers tomorrow's women, today & showcases that girls of colour are just as smart, capable and powerful.