Decorated for success in the world of business
At 58, Thandi Lekhuleni, founder and owner of Melo's Exterior and Interior Decor, is bursting with energy.
She attributes her oozing spunk to her success in business.
"I never thought I would be this successful. I sometimes pinch myself to see if I am not dreaming," she said.
Before Lekhuleni established her own business she worked for an interior decor company for 24 years.
It was in 2003 that she decided to quit her job and start her own business.
Her company, which specialises in curtaining, upholstery, bedding, blinds and carpeting has become the centre of attraction in Pretoria's Bosman Street.
Lekhuleni who has no formal education, said she survived because of her "unique skill and passion for her work".
"I used to sew curtains, and table cloths during my spare time and my customers were impressed with my work. I then realised that I had a unique skill that I could use to earn a living," said Lekhuleni.
"With the help of my sisters I decided to set up my own business. The idea worked."
But Lekhuleni had to approach government for funding.
"I showed everybody the work that I had done, and eventually the Department of Arts and Culture decided to fund my business. That was the happiest day of my life," she said.
Lekhuleni said her biggest challenge was to compete with established companies.
"In the beginning I was intimidated, but with the support of my family and clients, I persevered. I made my business stand-out by adding a personal touch to patterns chosen by my clients," she said.
"I also used my knowledge in interior decor to advice clients. That's actually what makes the business unique."
Lekhuleni's exceptional work has not gone unnoticed.
After presenting her work to other women entrepreneurs who attended a course on how to sustain a business two weeks ago, her phone has not stopped ringing.
Inspired by her work, the women have asked Lekhuleni to train them.
"I was very humbled by the request and I have taken the opportunity to share my skills with other women. I believe that if we unite as women, there is nothing we cannot achieve. Nothing can stop us now."