The toy-preneur

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It took a flash of inspiration for Gaya Schatz to launch the successful product that sets her online business Little Bo Babies apart in the market.

Showered with artwork from her goddaGaya Schatzughter over the years, she decided to try and turn one of the drawings into a plush toy. Bringing a child’s imagination to life is no mean feat, but that’s exactly what Gaya and her team of talented seamstresses (from previously disadvantaged communities in Hout Bay, Cape Town) do on a daily basis. And, two years down the line, the business is sustainable and trading well, as the brand gains favour as a creative option for special, individualised gifts.

The right tools for the job

With a background in advertising, Gaya says she had no idea how to run a business. “When I was at the idea stage
I did the Velociti-Y course offered through the Bandwidth Barn’s Enterprise and Entrepreneur Development division, and am so grateful for the tools that it gave me to go out on my own,” she says.

“It got me thinking like an entrepreneur and made me knowledgeable of all the elements that one needs to be aware of prior to starting out – as well as helping me connect with like-minded people which gave me the courage I needed.”

She recommends that all young entrepreneurs seek out similar learning opportunities – and never stop learning
– as the journey of running one’s own business is full of fresh challenges.

She also advises on doing one’s research so that you know your market as well as your competitors intimately. “And identify what your strengths are right from the start. Find experts to fill in the gaps – you simply cannot do everything yourself.”

Scaling up

Gaya is growing the business organically, hiring more staff as the workload demands. Social media platforms such as
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have proven very valuable in terms of growing the audience.

She says that their business strategy for 2015 is all about scalability. “We have done the hard work over the last two years building up the brand, now it’s about increasing the quantity of our orders.”

She is also very excited about their new line of products; the ‘When I grow up’ doll, which is aimed at providing a tangible reminder to young girls of what they want to become one day, a vision that they can hold on to. This initiative can be supported by corporates as part of their CSI budget or charity drives.

Gaya’s message to encourage our young entrepreneurs of the future is to get excited about our beautiful country:
“Let’s create jobs and try to stop the poverty cycle. Get excited about your future, learn all that you can at school,
start the company you have always wanted to… live the life you want to live.”

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