Euphoria Telecom celebrates the business-building power of a great idea

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Euphoria Telecom is an enthusiastic supporter of entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes.

Now one of South Africa’s largest and most loved VoIP telephony companies, Euphoria hasn’t forgotten its roots as a startup.

Euphoria’s lightbulb moment came when its founders couldn’t find a world-class VoIP solution that met their needs. So they decided to create one.

This is what inspired the Euphoria Telecom lightbulb moment at its stand at KAMERS/Makers 2022 in Stellenbosch and Johannesburg.

Itself born out of a lightbulb moment, KAMERS/Makers is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

KAMERS vol geskenke was conceived by a few friends in Stellenbosch who wanted to create a platform for artisans and crafters to meet, make and sell.

They cleared out a house and hosted 30 makers and some 800 shoppers.

Fast forward 20 years’ and KAMERS/Makers is an iconic feature of the local creative landscape, showcasing over 300 Makers at six national shows, visited by nearly 60 000 South Africans in 2022.

To celebrate the occasion Euphoria is looking back on some of the movers and shakers we interviewed at last year’s Lightbulb Moment experience at the Blaauwklippen and Sandton shows.

Pyjama Collection founder Chanelle Schoon started making her iconic creations because she wanted high quality pyjamas for herself.

“As a mom, you spend quite a bit of time at home in the morning and you still want to feel really pretty and nice and I just couldn’t find stuff of high quality, with beautiful prints made out of real cotton that fitted nicely. Everything is very short or very skimpy and it just didn’t fit.”

Biophilia Jewellery founder Martmarie Crowther decided to satisfy her own hunger for quality jewellery by making it herself.

Celebrating women brewers who make great beer inspired Apiwe Nxusani-Mawela’s Tolokazi Beer.

“The brand itself is about celebrating women. For me it was about showcasing to the world and general public that we actually do exist, and [we produce] great beers.”

Royale Skincare SA founder Izette Dreyer, wanted an anti-aging product she could use, which she started making. What spurred her to take the product commercial was her dad’s skin cancer.

“In 2015 my dad got skin cancer. And I knew from the studies I’ve read on pomegranate seed oil that it would help his skin after chemo and radiation with the sunburn patches and the thinning skin, so I knew it would help that.”

Making money from her passion prompted Nina Steyn of Nina Skep to start her business.

“I’ve been making things since I was born, and then during lockdown I realised I can’t just buy leather and gift everybody bags, I need to charge for them, and that’s how it developed into a business from there.”

Nicola Fraser-Valentine of There and Back travel accessories said it wasn’t one big idea, but a few contributing factors that led to her lightbulb moment.

“I travel a bit and my bag was consistently getting tampered with, so I’d had enough of that. I’m also absolutely dead against the waste of plastic used to wrap suitcases at the airport, day in and day out. I wanted a locally produced, sustainable, environmentally friendly product that was creating jobs for local designers. There are other aspects – for example you can spot your luggage, it protects your suitcase, but those are all by-products of the real reason we created the suitcase covers.”

“I’ve been in the garment industry my whole life,” says Socrates Menswear founder Greg Swanepoel.

“I was the first ever Mr Price buyer, left them and went back and supplied pretty much all the chain stores in the country. COVID came along and I lost my business. In hindsight, it was probably the best thing I ever did. I wanted to have a business that I was in charge of, and that had a low volume, high margin and something that I love doing. That was kind of the driver behind it, I had to stay with what I know. I’ve been in the garment industry my whole life, but I didn’t want to do high volume, low margin business anymore.”

“I wanted to make the ultimate travel reversible jacket, one that is yours and only yours – one of a kind,” says Liezl Reddick of F8 Tops, while Yasmeena Masood of Petra Palace says: “We wanted to bring a taste of Jordan to flea markets and food stands in the Western Cape.”

Danielle Janse Van Rensberg, Round and Round Frames founded her business seven years ago when she couldn’t find anyone in South Africa making round frames.

“Like most artists I know, I have never been afraid of hard work,” she says. “My hands, as well as many empty containers of small screws, tell the story of endless hours of love for what I do and teeth-grinding determination.”

KAMERS owner and creative director Wanda du Toit says KAMERS is an incubator for the small businesses who feature in the shows.

“It’s been so rewarding seeing all these people growing businesses. They arrive for the interview [for a space at the event] and they’ve got one idea, and we provide an incubator for their hopes and dreams and a safe platform for them to grow.”

Her hope, as KAMERS celebrates its 20th year, is to be able to start helping makers with seed funding so they can produce more stock and grow their businesses faster.

She’s also going to focus on providing more mentoring, in addition to the financial support.

Congratulations Wanda and the rest of the tiny KAMERS team, here’s to another 20 years of achieving big dreams!

Keep an eye on Euphoria Telecom’s website and social media platforms for the Lightbulb Moment video podcast series launching later this year.

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