Business: DZ Laundry
Owner: Dambisa Zenani
Started: January 2013
Location: Extension 7, Joza Township, Makana Municipality, Eastern Cape.
History: In January 2013, Dambisa started off with a single top-loader washing machine. In June of that same year, she purchased - with the help of her cousin - a second machine. With support from the SAB Foundation through the intervention of the ADC and Rhodes University, Dambisa secured, in September 2016, an additional two commercial Speed Queen washing machines, and a Speed Queen tumble drier.
The Vision: Through DZ Laundry, Sis Dambisa, wants to provide a quality laundry service to households within her community. “I want to do business in Joza; not in town”.
The Inspiration: Dambisa worked at Rhodes University for many years in various capacities including in the catering division and in the cleaning services. She was also secretary of the Rhodes staff soccer team with responsibilities that included having the soccer kit washed weekly. So her interaction with local laundry services in Grahamstown, combined with a need to “be her own boss”, inspired her to make the decision to leave full time employment at the end of 2012 and start her own business. Her mother and her cousin were very instrumental in her business; her mother has been a consistent source of support and encouragement and assists in the laundry daily, which is enormously helpful. Her cousin, Nandi believed in Dambisa and her business enough to enter into a hire-purchase agreement, in order for Dambisa to secure an additional washing machine.
- Township households where both parents, or single parents, are working full time.
- Individuals who live out of town but are working in Grahamstown during the week.
- Taxi drivers who are on the move a lot and don’t have time for their personal laundry.
- Washing, drying and folding a basket of washing – R40 per basket.
- Ironing of washing – R40 per basket.
DZ Laundry is open 7 days a week.
In “town” these same services are between R55 and R65 per basket.
The Obstacles: The first two years, 2013 and 2014 were tough. One of the main obstacles was funding for equipment. Dambisa saved up for her first washing machine whilst she worked as Rhodes University. Her working cousin, Nandi, assisted her by purchasing a second machine on higher-purchase, and Dambisa slowly paid it back. The support of the SAB Foundation enabled her to secure additional laundry equipment that is robust and reliable. The turning point was developing a good business plan with the help of Joss Welman from Rhodes University’s Business School, that helped her focus on what she needed to do to build a robust business.
The role of the ADC: “The ADC helped me find my way, providing me with clear thoughts for the future,” says Sis Dambisa. The business plan development back in 2012, was instrumental in setting Dambisa in the right direction and the ongoing engagement with the ADC through the monthly Business Support Group Meetings provides valuable sourcing of locally relevant information
And the future? Dambisa imagines that within the next three years she will open a dry-cleaning component to her business. “I can’t do jackets and some dresses, as I need dry cleaning machines. I am going to explore that option,” she says with determination.
Advice to new business owners: You need to …
- have a sense of hope and a vision.
- be passionate about what you do.
- have patience, especially when dealing with the obstacles.
- make sure you do research with respect to the need of your business in the community you want to serve.