Creativity for profit and purpose
Papama Mtwisha is part fashionista and part activist. She shares her biggest lessons in building a creative, and purposeful, business.
‘Butter Pudding is a kids’ lifestyle brand, which truly believes that it is better to raise strong kids than to “fix” broken adults. The idea had been in my heart and mind for about nine years or so. It was a dream that had kept me awake for far too long, and one that I finally had to do something about.’
Start as you intend to continue
‘I realised that in order to make a real and deep impact on society, I needed to start a business instead of relying solely on donating a portion of my monthly salary. As a result I’ve had to make sure that everything the business does always ties back to that – be it the type of product we produce (proudly African garments) or our choice to manufacture those products locally.
My love for empowering kids and giving back is ultimately what inspired me to start the business. That’s why Butter Pudding’s signature is cute and comfy garments, with a strong African flavour, and statement T-shirts with slogans that inspire and build. It was also from these statement tees that the Africa Your Time Is Now movement was born.’
What’s in a T-shirt?
‘The campaign is a reawakening, a recalibration and re-ignition of the spirit of African influence. It’s an acknowledgement that it all begins with me; a reminder that we don’t need external validation to believe that we can do it. It starts with believing that we can, because we are Africans; that we can all be the change that we desire; and that we are part of a powerful collective of game-changers because the blood of Africa runs through our veins.’
Building character and a business
‘Running a business has been extremely character building – to put it mildly. Entrepreneurship is not designed to be easy, yet it is so rewarding on so many levels. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The type of unsolicited feedback we get from our customers, suppliers and associates is astounding, and continuously affirms why we do what we do.
If you’re looking to start a business, have impact at its core. You might think that when your enterprise reaches a certain stage of growth or you have a bigger budget, you’ll then decide to make an impact. There’s no need to wait! Very early in our journey I made giving and helping others a key part of our purpose. By having an impact as a key part of our business from day one, we have been able to make an impact on someone’s life every day.’