Zanele, the passionate baker who owns Zanele’s Touch, is one of many women who’ll be in attendance at the Delightful Budtime Matinee social event by The Flamboyance Clique (TFC) showcasing their businesses and networking with other women. This is going to be her second event with the social group.
About the event and group co-founder Nompumelelo Mondlane, she says, “My first TFC meet was simply amazing; I loved meeting other women who also run their own businesses and just being surrounded by women supporting women. People like saying women hate each other but TFC showed me a different side to that narrative. And Nompumelelo is an amazing woman. She’s helping us find creative ways to build successful businesses and grow our customer bases while supporting each other. I enjoyed myself.”
We spoke to Zanele about her journey, this is her story:
BAKING HAS ALWAYS BEEN A PASSION
While baking is something Zanele loved for many years, she let it simmer until she found herself doing it more and more and eventually founding her business, Zanele’s Touch.
Growing up, Zanele had an affinity for baked goodies, especially cookies. But as it usually was in our homes back then, baking was reserved for gatherings and holidays. “After I had my own family, I started finding myself in the kitchen, baking all the time.”
When the pandemic hit, many people turned to entrepreneurship to cushion the effects of declining job opportunities and job loss. “Until that point, I used to experiment with recipes and bake only for my family. But once the pandemic hit, I found myself on social media a lot more, then I saw people selling their products online and thought I should do that,” she tells us. And so what we now know as Zanele’s touch was born.
IT WASN’T IDEAL, BUT I DIDN’T WANT TO SIT AT HOME
Zanele shares with us that her childhood was anything but glamorous and well-off. This often limited her choices in life. She says, “after highschool I studied a one year Programming course at a college to save money. But after that I wasn’t fortunate enough to get a job, so I started working as a domestic worker.” Though it wasn’t her ideal job, the enterprising young woman didn’t want to sit at home, and the job allowed her to support herself. Zanele had her first of three children in 2010. Shortly thereafter she stopped working and moved to Witbank, where she later found a job in retail.
After working in retail, Zanele moved on to work as a Financial Advisor, before finally starting her business which she now runs fulltime.
Despite how natural she makes it seem, entrepreneurship was completely new Zanele when she started – it wasn’t in her family or friendship circle. “I had no prior encounter with business. I always wanted to work a normal 9 to 5. But eventually I realised we’re not all going to get jobs, so I prayed for God to show me what to do.”
What would the title of your autobiography be?
“Black Child it’s Possible or Your Background Doesn’t Determine your future – you can achieve anything if you believe.”
Other than baking, what will we find Zanele doing?
“I love cooking and I am a plant mommy, I love gardening (vegetables).”
What do you do when you’re not working?
“I love going out and trying new restaurants and food.”
What do the next 10 years look like for you?
“I’m currently finishing up my home studio, maybe you’ll get an invite to tour it HAHA. In 10 years, I want to help create job opportunities and provide training for new bakers. I’ve had a handful of women ask about training with me but I feel I’m still learning, I don’t think I’m ready to teach yet. However, in future, I do hope to impart my knowledge to young ladies and help them setup businesses of their own in different disciplines, not just baking.”