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Angeliz Venter is the owner and CEO of Kicoco Pty Ltd – a proudly South African clothing company that started as a baby clothes brand called ‘Little Gentlemen’ in 2016 while Angeliz was a student at the University of Pretoria. In fact, she launched the brand as part of her 200 production hours while woking towards a B.Consumer Science: Clothing Retail Management degree.

What started off as part of her studies really took hold when she identified a gap in the market for cute boy clothes in-store. In 2019, Angeliz decided to expand her brand to boys, girls and unisex kids clothing. By 2020, KiCoco included both adult and matching mommy-and-me ranges. Yup – she’s going places! Angeliz shares the incredible journey with Go Hustle…


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A post shared by Angeliz Venter (@angeliz_venter)

How it all came together…

In the beginning, when people outside the university started showing interest in her clothing range, Angeliz decided to hit up small local markets and baby expos for extra money. “I soon realised that this venture could be more than just a hobby and I used my savings to expand and stock small boutiques all over South Africa,” she says.

In 2019, Angeliz rebranded, changing the name to KiCoco – inspired by kids and coconuts around the world. “We expanded to babies, toddlers and kids and in 2020 even adult ranges.” And she’s all about empowerment and uplifting locals. “We aim to empower all local communities, by using a small cut, make and trim factory in Thembisa [a township in Gauteng] and making use of at-home seamstresses, who get paid a fair wage per unit. Especially now with the economic environment and Covid-19, it’s been so beneficial for us and our employees, who can sew from the comfort of their homes. KiCoco aims to keep production in South Africa and source most of our fabric in SA too,” she adds.


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A post shared by Angeliz Venter (@angeliz_venter)

Want to get into the industry? Here’s how…

“Send your CV to a local business in the industry or just walk into a store you like and ask them about internship opportunities or casual work,” advises Angeliz. “With Covid-19 slowing down in SA, and expos, markets and pop-up shops opening again soon, [KiCoco always needs] casual retail staff to assist with these events,” she says. KiCoco also offers part-time/casual jobs to at-home seamstresses and creators. “We will also gladly assist with providing retail hours for students who need practical experiences for their degree. If any of the above options interest you, please send your CV to [email protected],” she adds.


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A post shared by KiCoco Kids® (@kicocoshop)

Trials and error in the industry

“This industry as is still mainly male-driven in terms of production and retail,” says Angeliz. “The biggest tip I can give to women who experience a stagnant phase in their growth is to keep pushing… Also keep reviewing your business plan and making the necessary changes to fit the economy and your consumers,” she says.

And she knows all about it… When launching her career, Angeliz was still studying and people didn’t take her seriously. “I had to prove myself, my maturity and my business over and over again. I also worked and sewed for many late nights and early mornings when most students were out having fun with their friends. It paid off in the end though!” she says.

READ MORE: A Solid Morning Routine Could Be Your Key To Success – 17 Women Leaders Dish Theirs

Advice to all the young women just starting out

“If people don’t take you seriously just because you’re a young woman, it’s up to you to prove them wrong by being consistent [and delivering] exceptional service and products,” says Angeliz.

If something does go wrong or a deadline is delayed from your side, communicate this to the client as soon as possible. “In the beginning, I was scared to speak up about situations like this, because I thought they would take me even less seriously, but ultimately an open line of communication and honesty shows your professionalism,” she says.

Something that helped her a lot was showing confidence. “Even if I didn’t feel confident in that moment,” she says. “It can be so overwhelming, dealing with big manufacturers or fabric houses in the beginning, but don’t let your emotion show during the meetings or negotiations.”


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A post shared by KiCoco Kids® (@kicocoshop)

Life and leadership lessons she’s learnt along the way…

1/ “Don’t be so impulsive! Even if this is one of the qualities that got me to where I am today, it’s also a quality that dealt me expensive lessons during my journey.”

2/ “Don’t give up just because it’s hard or someone tells you you can’t do it. Persistence and consistency are keys to success.”

A must-read book for every hustler

Angeliz loves reading and believes the more you educate yourself, the more inspired you’ll become – no matter what industry you’re in. “The one book that made a massive impact on how I approach business and how I view my journey as an entrepreneur is Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, the Creator of Nike. It made me realise that the rough patches I went through are normal in a start-up,” she says.


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A post shared by KiCoco Kids® (@kicocoshop)

Connect with Angeliz

Catch Angeliz on Instagram @angeliz_venter or email [email protected]

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