Throughout the passage of life many develop hobbies but as time goes by, they easily trade them for more interesting ones.
However, for 38 -year -old Chilu Molefe, a pastime at the tender age of 15 of organising kid’s parties has not only stood the test of time but also changed the cause of her life.
As a teacher aid at a nursery school, Molefe developed an appetite for success.
“I have always kept busy, being a student or working and my failure to pass Cambridge the first time round was a huge motivator to push myself more. I re- wrote three exam papers which I passed and I never looked back. Later in life I was so selfish with wanting to be a part of my kids lives, I gave up the corporate world to take up employment that allowed more time with my family. I had to be there and create memories with them.”
Though Molefe leads an activity packed life as a computers senior teacher at Baobab School, the Maruapula product and University of Botswana graduate went on to complement her BA and Post graduate diploma in education by acquiring a School Management and Information Technology qualification with UNISA.
“I also have been a trainee for entrepreneurship and a trainer as well as a business advisor. Not forgetting being an events coordinator over the weekends.”
Molefe recalls her very first gig; “I bought a shopping basket, colour pencils and photocopied coloring papers then set off to a birthday party for a five- year -old. At this point I was selling my party games and music which I was playing with a small portable radio from my bedroom. I had spent P60 and made P80. My profit was P20 which I bought my first kiddies chair.”
Molefe’s offering got a huge boost by word of mouth and this exposed her to other clients. “Happy customers referred more business to me and I was driven to exceed expectations.Business grew and I purchased a clown suit which I wore to the kids delight. My business highlight was being awarded first place for business enterprise by the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs during the 1st youth service awards. I was 21 at the time and bagged P7000. I bought my first jumping castle and grew my team.”
Chilu and Crew (PTY) LTD specializes in kids entertainment at birthday parties, family fun days and also runs a babysitting club .
“We are a one stop shop for parties .We also stage an annual Halloween themed party for kids with future plans to create getaways for children.”
Molefe admits to challenges that come with running a business and a fulltime job but stresses the importance of finding balance.
“Balancing a teaching career, an events industry and a family is no small feat. In addition, undertaking professional studies at different times in my life has been quite a plateful. It takes commitment, sacrifice and discipline. I believe there is enough time if you plan ahead and set small milestone targets and goals.”
Perhaps, most significantly Molefe admits to empowering her crew with responsibilities to share the load.
“My crew is my anchor and they represent my dreams very well. I respect their dedication and passion. I have a pool of 30 youth who are students or working elsewhere who join me over weekends to work. These young people gain life skills and business acumen while the business has taught me great leadership skills and stress management skills.”
Molefe goes on to say that “A supportive family environment has also been helpful and critical. My family and friends have accommodated the demands of my different work worlds. My kids love making party packs probably because they get leftovers. They enjoy tidying up the board games because they get to play. The real treat is that I get to spend quality time with them whilst we have loads of fun.”
As a teacher, Molefe enjoys the pecks of her profession.
“The working hours are favorable as I am home in time to do homework and then I get to watch every assembly, every football match and I get holidays with my kids. It allows one to be formally employed and be an involved mum in their everyday learning.”
Molefe encourages parents to take an interest in their children.
“Your kids will one day be too grown up to even want to hug you in public. Create priceless memories for them. Even the everyday drive to school should be made fun and used to find out what is happening in your children’s lives. Who their friends are, what sports they like and how they are engaging with teachers and other. There is a lot one can learn by asking the right questions and listening intently.”
Despite admitting to being a little addicted to the action in her life, Molefe says; “Friday is me day, Saturday is Crew day and Sunday is my family day. However it’s not cast in stone because I am forever looking forward to a phone call to confirm or make a booking.”
To aspiring business owners, Molefe reveals this gem of advice:
“Be passionate and believe in dreams. You don’t need money to get started, money only helps to grow the business but it’s your efforts that will open those avenues for money to come. Respect people who work for you, for on your own you can only go so far. An excellent team will aid your brand to grow and spreads like a wild fire. Never stop learning. Trends change and so should you. Competition is healthy embrace it and fight to stay the leading entity in your industry…set your standards high people love exceptional standards.