Sebothoma was born and raised in Wonderkop, close to Marikana in the North West. She was made privy to the importance of mine safety and personal protective equipment at a young age. After obtaining a qualification in applied logistics and supply chain management at Wits Business School, she occupied various roles at companies such as Woolworths, Absa and Lonmin Platinum mine.
In 2014, she decided to leave the comfort of her full-time job to launch her company, PBM Creations.
“As a new player, it was difficult for us to secure new business because potential clients were hesitant to trust us due to our lack of experience,” she says. “I had to learn to be committed and consistent in knocking on doors, establishing relationships, and then building and maintaining them. It’s crucial to work hard and deliver on your promises to build a reputable business.”
When it comes to the the manufacture of personal protective equipment, Sebothoma says that what sets her company apart is its ability to fully customise products according to the client’s specification, the quality of service and a fast turnaround time. PBM Creations currently employs 16 staff members and boasts big clients such as Shell Downstream SA, Marley Building Systems, Nampak Bevcan and MES.
But Sebothoma admits that her entrepreneurial journey hasn’t always been easy.
“Operating in a sector where there are few black females is still a huge challenge! I invest a lot of time in research and improving my industry and product knowledge. Above all, I had to learn to be authentic and build relationships and a stable team. I choose not to be limited by my age, gender or the colour of my skin. As a businesswoman, I have value to add to the industry and this should be accepted,” she says.
Looking ahead, she plans to continue to win over clients and strives to become the most trusted supplier of choice. Over the next two years, she endeavours to expand into the rest of Africa.
Reflecting on her entrepreneurial journey, Sebothoma says she has had to conquer many obstacles. “I want every young girl who has ever being told that your dreams are too big to look at my journey and know that it is possible,” she concludes.
Sebothoma’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs:
- The secret of success is to start! Start where you are, with what you have.
- Identify a very strong reason for why you want to start a business and think about this on challenging days – it will keep you going.