Having worked for iconic global luxury brands like Mont Blanc, Cartier and Estée Lauder, the world of luxury is an area that Molefe is certainly well versed on.
So it seemed like a natural fit when it was brought to her attention that there was an opportunity to acquire Art Form Factory, a bespoke framing business.
Molefe says that the most crucial component of buying an existing business is conducting thorough due diligence, which means doing your research around competitors, potential growth areas, a comprehensive business plan that includes strategies around how you would differentiate your business from market competitors and, most importantly, the numbers.
“Pay particular attention to the accounting books because they will tell you the truth about a business. You should make the accounting books your bible,” she advises.
It took about 10 months to complete the due diligence process and satisfy herself to take the plunge, leaving her cushy corporate gig to become an entrepreneur.
With more than 1 000 framers operating in Joburg, Molefe knew that she would have to do something very different to set her business apart from the rest and that’s how the focus on being a luxury service provider came about.
“It made sense with my background and with my understanding of the luxury industry. Where there’s a wall, there’s something that needs to be hung up. In that is an opportunity, it means that there is a space for business. You drive around Sandton and the northern suburbs of Joburg and buildings are popping up everywhere,” she says.
Another leg of the business that she wants to specialise in is the sports memorabilia industry, which she says is a very white-dominated space.
“You don’t find a lot of black people that are willing to pay R30 000 for a signed T-shirt by Michael Schumacher, but there’s a space there and chance for continuous business opportunities because there’s sport being played each and every day of the year and no one moment in sport will ever repeat itself,” she says.
Looking long-term, Molefe plans on building a strong footprint on the continent, particularly around the sports framing business through innovative processes and framing creativity.
“We have a patented bubble frame for sports memorabilia to be able to do 3D items, so soccer boots or caps. We framed Usain Bolt’s running shoes late last year, but we were able to [put them] in a bubble frame instead of a typical square frame,” she says.
Regarding the processes and challenges of buying an existing business, Molefe’s advise to others considering doing the same is to find a mentor who has gone through it before and someone who will be honest.