The Gift of Giving
Co-Founder of Grandeur Giftery, Maambele Khosa, is bringing home a sense of home for Stellenbosch students
In May 2019, Maambele Khosa and Vutomi Khosa went from being friends to business partners when the two launched Grandeur Giftery – a 24/7 gift delivery service for students. At Grandeur Giftery, students can find personalised trinkets and heart-warming care packages at affordable prices for any occasion. For the two novel entrepreneurs, it’s not just about flowers, jewellery, cakes and making money; rather, it has always been about uplifting others and creating a home-away-from-home.
“In fact, when we established Grandeur Giftery, we didn’t actually intend for it to become a full-on business at all,” says Maambele. “It all began while studying at Stellenbosch University. Vutomi and I would send each other chocolates, notes, and small inexpensive gifts for our birthdays, before tests and exams, or if one of us just wasn’t feeling well. The idea was to say ‘Hey! I’m your friend and I’m here for you!’. Then one year, my family back in Limpopo asked Vutomi to get me something for my birthday – they thought it would be a special touch as they couldn’t be there. After seeing my gift, my other friends at university started to ask about it and I realised that a lot of people wanted to uplift each other by sending gifts of their own. Suddenly we saw that there was the potential to start something here.”
The business began on WhatsApp with the pair telling friends that they were willing to buy flowers, chocolates and other gifts on their behalf, no matter how much money they had to spend. “The initial drive was never to make money and so we didn’t really mind if people had R10 or R200. We just wanted other people to experience the same joy that Vutomi and I got when we first started sending gifts to each other,” says Maambele.
Providing Opportunities for Students
Before long, the duo was receiving more and more orders, so they formalised the business and took it up a notch by adding wrapping paper, personalised cards and packaging to their products. With the increase in demand, Maambele and Vutomi reached out to their fellow students and offered them part-time jobs making deliveries of their own.
Maambele explains: “Attending university and living away from home is an expensive exercise, and a lot of students don’t have the money to spend on luxury items or going out. Our aim is to give those students an opportunity to earn an income, gain some work experience, and grow. With the first group of students about to start working with us, we are looking to expand our delivery range within and outside Stellenbosch with the hope to branch to other areas soon.”
The budding entrepreneurs have also partnered with other Stellenbosch students who offer different services, but who lack a platform on which to market and sell themselves. Now, students browsing the Grandeur Giftery website can also buy vouchers for personal photoshoots, nail treatments, shoe care services, and makeovers. Beyond this, the company has committed itself to the Stellenbosch Night Shelter, with every gift purchased now also sponsoring a night shelter ticket.
Pivoting during COVID-19
However, with the onset of COVID-19 and the closure of schools and universities, many of Maambele’s customers and staff have had to leave Stellenbosch and return home until lectures resume. As such, she has had to relook her business strategy and incorporate other services until things return to normal.
“At the same time, we wanted to help the community, so we decided to start delivering essential items. We reached out to retail stores all over town to ask if there was room for collaboration, and we soon formed a partnership with Food Lovers Market, for which I’m very grateful. We have since been working with them to deliver fresh groceries to their customers across Stellenbosch.”
It was at this time that Maambele launched her second business: Stellies Atchar. “I grew up loving atchar – it was one of those normal food items to eat at home in Tiyani, Limpopo. But when I moved to Stellenbosch, I struggled to find it here. Then one day, my brother was traveling to visit me for my birthday, so I asked him to bring me some. Suddenly it hit me: If I’m struggling to get the best atchar here, then surely there are other people with the same issue! I immediately called him back and asked that he bring a 50kg bag of raw atchar instead.”
It was a huge hit and in just ten days, Maambele had sold out. “It was then that I realised the huge potential this atchar had, so I registered the business and applied for permission to do deliveries over weekends.” In just a few months, Stellies Atchar would become a staple in local retailers and restaurants, and to help fulfil orders, Maambele would go on to recruit other women too.
It’s better to complete, than to compete
At the heart of both Maambele’s endeavours is a desire to make life that much better for others: “We’re all on our own journey, and the journey can be difficult at times. It’s so important that we look out for each other – we should spend less time trying to one-up each other, and more time focussing on how we can uplift and support one another.”