Byenda Nkwanda is the founder and head designer of Golden Traib, a Zambian fashion brand redefining African fashion for women’s wear. Golden Traib creates world class high fashion using African fabric and caters for the modern day African woman who is ambitious, outgoing and fashion loving.
Young and ambitious, Byenda is reaching for world domination in the African fashion space and expects her business to be a force to be reckoned with in coming years.
Before, I was only a fashion designer. Now I am, and I’m still becoming, a business smart woman. With these two things combined, I think Africa has something to look forward to here.
Tell us about your company
I own a fashion label called Golden Traib. The idea behind Golden Traib is to create high quality, world standard clothing from African material.
We want to lift the image of African fashion, specifically women’s fashion, and place it on the same ranks as global players. The message we want to send out is that we are Africa; we are not just a trend, we are here to stay.
Our brand will help create a fashion industry in Africa that can provide sustainable employment opportunities and also be an economic driving force.
How did you feel when you heard you were one of the selected Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs and what was the most difficult part about applying?
When I first heard I made it into the programme, I was dumbfounded. It felt like an illusion. It was one of those situations where you’ve eagerly hoped for something, but when it happens, you sit there thinking, “Who? Me? No way!” At the end of the day, when it sank in, I was just very grateful to God for such an opportunity.
The most difficult part about applying was the constant battle in my mind over whether I had a chance at being selected or not. I mean, the programme is running through the entire Africa. That for me was the hardest part, but there’s always something good in store when you overcome your fear.
What is your major business challenge and how do you intend to address it?
Besides funding, which a large number of entrepreneurs face, my number one business challenge is the internal running and proper operation of a successful business. I mean you can have all the capital in the world, but if you do not know how best to apply it to your business, then it is pointless.
That is one thing that this programme is concerned with. They could have just given us some money and left us to do whatever we pleased, but the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme is beyond the capital. They have taken me from where I was with my business and are slowly but surely, molding me and my business into a fortified powerhouse that can stand strong and be a leader in fashion in Africa.
Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs like you?
Yes of course,. To the entrepreneurs out there, and the women especially, my advice to you is this : The greatest thing you can ever do for yourself is to never give up, even when things get tough, which they will, never lose sight of your vision because it is who you are. Focus on what you do, and always seek to learn more through every encounter.
Every day for the next few days, we will share the stories of 30+ African women entrepreneurs whose ideas can change the world. These women are idea and early stage entrepreneurs, with businesses less than three years old, who are beneficiaries of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme.
We are sharing their experiences in hopes that their stories will inspire someone out there to take the leap and go after their dreams. Hope you enjoy their stories as much as we enjoyed putting them together. Follow our daily stories using the hashtag #TEEPcofoundHER or visit cofoundHER (www.cofoundher.com) for updates.