Lilly Loompa was founded amid the 2020 global COVID-19 pandemic when Lizl found a discarded piece of wood and decided to turn it into artwork in the shape of the African continent. Being an eco-savvy “hip cycler” she was loathed to waste the “negative” of the cut-out and posted a picture of herself holding the “frame” of the continent on Africa Day. She was immediately inundated with requests for similar products and her SMME was born.

Recently Lizle won The South African Women Entreprenuers Climate Change Awards(SiaWECCA). Lindela Kanada our Customer Service Consultant had conversation with Lizl Naude, in which she highlighted her entrepreneurial journey, her highlights and her future goals.Here  are some of the interesting points from the  dialogue we had with Lizl Naude.

Tell us more about your business

We manufacture a variety of products, from storage holders, lamps, to dinner table accessories,among others. Our homeware is created through a process of hip cycling, which is essentially upcycling discarded waste and transforming it into desirable products that would complement your home. Eco-friendly, handcrafted, and 100% South African, each Lilly Loompa piece, once trash, is now a piece of treasure.

What is unique about your business?

In a way, I am pioneering in this field. Being in the waste industry and upcycling is not an easy industry to crack. What we do is unique in that we apply innovation to waste material, to make it more attractive and appealing to homeowners. We see the value and potential in waste and realize we have a crucial part to play in waste management.

You are one of the South Africa Women Entrepreneurs Climate Change Awards(SiaWECCA) winners, how has this positively impacted your business?

I am so honoured to receive this award. It gives validation to what I do and believes in. This level of creative upcycling is not very common, so in a sense, I, together with the other three deserving winners are pioneers in this field. This means we are sometimes treading on unfamiliar territory and it can be tough to break ground. Therefore this award means so much to me. We have started with the 6-month incubation program today, so it is still early days. But the intended support and grant will make a huge difference.

What are some of the challenges you have faced with running this type of business?”

Typical of any other business, I face the challenge of cash flow, lack of equipment, and general support from the local government. This kind of business is also a little different in that it is often misunderstood by both the private and public sectors. I have to work extra hard to educate and prove that there is value to be found in waste. Then, one of the most prominent challenges I face is people not having integrity. On a very regular basis, I get offers from investors, or grant funding, which often or eventually leads to disappointment. Either people end up not honouring their commitments, or very recently I was a victim of state corruption. This is truly disheartening as establishing a business is extremely difficult.

How has Siyakha assisted you in achieving your business goals?

Thabang B Motsohi at the JHB Office, together with Chester Alexander at CT Office were the ones who sent me the link to enter the SiAWECCA awards. They both reminded me and followed up regularly to make sure I send mine through my application. I receive regular emails of opportunities and as a business owner, I appreciate being regularly informed.

Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? The next 10 years?

I would like to be exporting to North America and Europe by September 2021. There is a strong possibility that I will start exporting to Canada soon. I have great plans to have physical shops in CT and JHB by December 2022. I would like to ISO accredited by 2022 and a Certified B Corporation by 2023, and great hopes to be a brand household name by 2025.