Felicity Fillies has received a call from the world’s funkiest company wanting to use her products as covers for their mobile phones and tablets. Not too many South African companies would ever receive such call, but that also goes to confirm that there is only one Felicity Fillies. This Northern Cape based ostrich farmer is self-taught and oozes so much confidence that a year after starting her ostrich farming operation she managed to scoop the SA Female Farmer of the year award in 2005. Even though Felicity is today running a successful farming business, it was not always so and there were a few challenges which needed Seda’s intervention along the way.
Felicity spent the last couple of years developing her value added products, including ostrich skin leather, feathers and decorative egg shell products from her ostrich farm.
She first approached Seda in 2010 seeking assistance to grow her business. The agency’s assessment identified that a marketing drive was required to improve the business’ position and signage was developed. Felicity also had the opportunity to expose her products in international exhibitions in China, Singapore, and attend a development workshops in the USA. She has created valuable contacts on her overseas visits using the branded material obtained through Seda.
The increased interest in Nieuborn value added products drove demand and enquiries high, and Seda initiated another intervention with the development of a website to capture a more global audience. The marketing drive of the business was accelerated to include a wider audience, since the products had more international appeal.
With growing demand for different products from ostriches, Felicity has to find investment to acquire the right industrial machinery to be able to deliver on these requests.
Seda worked with the company to develop a business plan that would enable funding to be able to acquire the equipment and machinery needed to grow her value added products. The Seda Technology Transfer Fund has also been approached to assist with funding.
Felicity has also been offered basic business management training with focus on financial management to assist her with handling finances in a responsible and accountable fashion. This can also help with proper financial decision making.
The various interventions have had a positive impact on the business. The company has increased its turnover from R800 000 in 2010 to over R2 million annually. At the same time 8 decent jobs have been created by the business.