Randy Lamancha is a results driven Brand Strategist who founded and executively leads Eyethu Brands, a branding company that specialises in vehicle branding and signage and It’s Lamancha, a fashion company.
Many people grow up to be a far cry from their younger selves, often taking a route they couldn’t have imagined they would ever take. But for this seasoned young businesswoman, the opposite is true. “I have always been overly ambitious. Sometimes I get upset at [the rate of] my progress because I grew up wanting to learn and succeed, I love beautiful things! Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if I had pursued sports or being a DJ since those were my biggest passions growing up.”
Raising Randy the athlete
Randy moved from Giyani at 9, where she had been raised by her maternal aunt to live with her grandmother in Polokwane. At the time, her mother worked at a hospital and was in-between Limpopo and Gauteng. “[When] I moved to [Polokwane] I became extremely popular in athletics. I ran marathons from Grade 3 to Grade 9. During those days I travelled all across Limpopo and Bloemfontein participating in marathons and [thus] spent less time in school which I didn’t mind!” she shares. “I was so good that I almost believed that I was going to choose sports as a career. Unfortunately, when my coach died when I was in Grade 5, my ‘career’ suffered [because] no one supported or understood the whole thing of sports being a career.”
Randy’s grandmother passed on when she was in Grade 9, which prompted a final move down to the City of Gold to “finally” live with her mother.
The dream that became a work in progress
“It’s funny – the vision [that] I had last year changed in a matter of seconds! My biggest vision right now is to work any and everywhere in the world, starting in Dubai, running my consultancy firm specializing in building brands and marketing. This is not a dream, it’s a work in progress. 60% of the work to seeing it through has already been done.”
Randy believes her purpose is to help other people build and grow their businesses successfully. “I have been passionate about entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship since I was [about] 17. I love entrepreneurship, working an 8-5 didn’t make sense to me. I only worked in corporate for maybe 2 years my entire life,” she says.
And like any entrepreneur, she has a hobby that she holds dear and runs to whenever her soul demands peace and clarity. For Randy, it’s driving. Weird? Maybe. “One of my most treasured hobbies (which my closest friends and family find weird) is driving. Driving, preferably alone, is therapeutic for me no matter my mood. I once drove for 8 hours with no destination or plan as to where I was going, not to a meeting or vacation. If I have to spend money on anything, it has to be petrol so I can hit the road whenever.”
Building a brand 101
In addition to running her two companies, Randy is rockstar brand strategist and digital marketer and moonlights consulting in those disciplines. “The first thing about building a brand is to know that anyone can do it, anyone can be anything they want to be. However, it is also important to understand that entrepreneurship is not for the fainted hearted. My slogan for entrepreneurship is “push through the pain but remember it won’t rain forever.’ If you really want to build a brand from scratch, the first thing is to start! Don’t focus too much on wanting to be perfect and building websites, having logos and putting together business profiles – some things you can and will learn as you run your business. Secondly, you don’t have to always pick a niche right away. Find yourself first and explore, time itself will tell you what is working and what is not. NB: always analyse what is working and what is not. Your business can only work if you work – consistency will get you to places where laziness won’t. Finally, pay attention to your marketing and look to platforms like YouTube to gather knowledge. I share a wealth of such tips on my Youtube channel and Instagram account (@randy_lamancha).”
Funding & executing with minimal cashflow
Like most small business owners, Randy started where she was, with what she had. “When I started my business, I wasn’t funded by anyone. I started small – designing things like logos, business cards and websites. The services I offered didn’t require much capital. If you don’t have funding, find a way to start.
One of the biggest and most difficult challenges that plague most entrepreneurs is running a business with relatively zero cashflows. And it can be discouraging at times because that stage seems to last forever. Honestly, when I started I had no strategies. I was just doing whatever seemed okay. I posted my services on Facebook and gumtree every single day until I started getting business, even though it was limited business. We made around R3 000 to R6 000 a month for almost 1 and a half years. It made me so sad but I have always been a girl with a strong heart so I never stopped.”
My first client
“I really didn’t expect much from my first client experience simply because I didn’t know what I was doing. I don’t even think I remember my first client. I was just happy someone [was] finally paying me to do the work! But based [on] where I am now compared to where I came from, there is a major difference in how I handle and manage client relations. I am so much better now.”
Quitting corporate and the hard lessons
Millions of people decide they can’t tough it out at a regular 9 to 5 and opt to start afresh by themselves in pursuit of their passions or opportunities that monetise their hobbies or strengths. But often, in hindsight, they find that maybe they could’ve worked one more year and saved up to cushion the rocky start of entrepreneurship. Randy is one of those people. “I wish I knew that quitting my job without another income was not a good idea. Business wise, I wish I paid more attention to paid advertising, it could have made things a lot easier for me.”
“Believe in yourself because you can do it. The only difference between you and someone who is already doing it (running a business) is that you just started, and it may seem too far-fetched but everyone starts somewhere. Always remember, discipline will carry you when motivation leaves you.”