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Born from the need to celebrate African children and their natural beauty, husband-and-wife team Thabo and Mpumi Motsabi have just launched a range of dolls available exclusively in Shoprite and Checkers supermarkets throughout South Africa.
They founded their company, Toys with Roots, in 2015 with just one product and one supplier.
- Thabo Motsabi
Toys with Roots was one of the winners of last year’s Shoprite Hustle competition, which was open to small business owners with an annual turnover of less than R1 million.
Mpumi wanted to buy her two young daughters dolls they could relate to, and this is what sparked the Motsabis’ entrepreneurial journey.
- Mpumi Motsabi
She started selling the dolls she’d bought on Facebook. “Everyone was so excited to see beautiful black dolls and wanted them.” From here the idea was born to start a company that sells a variety of dolls and other toys celebrating African children.
Toys with Roots approached the Shoprite Group to stock a range of their dolls and buyer Monique Richards really liked the product, but the Motsabis could not meet the retailer’s pricing requirements.
The result is Rainbow Kids - a range of three dolls named Khana, Pula and Nandi which retail at R99.99 each and are now available exclusively in Shoprite and Checkers supermarkets nationally.
Through their partnership with the Group, the Motsabis have achieved their goal to ensure that children from disadvantaged backgrounds also have access to dolls that represent them.
- The Motsabis
Their advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to “keep at it, be clear about your value proposition and what you want in return, and learn how your partner does business and align yourself with this.”