For many people, losing their job would bring their lives to a grinding halt; for Dikeledi Mosime though, it was the beginning of a fulfilling journey. Retrenched from a Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE)-listed packaged food company six years ago, it was in a subsequent job interview that her business idea for Tin-Pac was born.
By: Thabiso Mochiko
During the discussion, her potential employer disclosed they had just shut down their manufacturing subsidiary … and Dikeledi spotted an opportunity.
Armed with a deep understanding of the retail, manufacturing and the fast-moving consumer goods industries, as well as having a number of helpful qualifications that included an MBA, the Diepkloof, Soweto-born go-getter dived in and took over the subsidiary as her own enterprise.
As many start-ups experience, raising funds is always tough. Undeterred, a fully committed Dikeledi refinanced her house and used her pension savings to raise the requisite capital. She rehired the company’s former employees who were laid off when the subsidiary was shut down and what followed was a journey of sacrifices, tears … and then joy.
“I started rebuilding the business from scratch,” she recounts. “Companies and potential clients doubted our capabilities. It took some hard work and sacrifices to build Tin-Pac to what it is now and the journey continues.”
It’s been five years since she established her Cape Town-based promotional tinware packaging business and for the first three years, Dikeledi did not draw a salary. It was a hard slog, knocking on retailers’ and companies’ doors, marketing her product. But today it is doing well locally, beginning to make in-roads beyond SA borders, and has more than 100 employees.
Tin-Pac supplies big retailers such as Pick ‘n Pay, Woolworths and Shoprite, manufacturers like BOS Brands, Nestle and Reckitt & Benckiser, as well as wine and spirit companies such as Meerlust, Distell and Ernie Els.
In 2018, Tin-Pac also worked on packaging projects for brands such as Cotton On, Musgrave Gin, Ricoffy and Cremora. Dikeledi sources almost all of her material locally too – “I believe in small suppliers because I know the pain of being one and how the big companies close you up.” – and all packaging is environmentally friendly and recyclable.
Growing up, Dikeledi was introduced to entrepreneurship by her grandmother and mother. “I was selling pancakes at school when I was in Standard 3 (Grade 5). My grandmother was a domestic employee and on weekends when she was home, she would make us treats like pancakes with jam. This was what I started selling.”
Today, Dikeledi has to ensure her business remains abreast of new trends and technology she can apply to Tin-Pac; anything from fun shapes and sizes to new ways of printing.
She sees 3D printing, which is revolutionising the printing industry, as a complement rather than a threat to the business: “It is bringing something new and fresh. We need to be innovative and we are guided by clients’ needs. We visit other companies and do a lot of market research. In this industry if you’re not growing and being dynamic you become outdated.”
Her vision for the business is to become a market leader for all promotional packaging in metal in Southern African and, later, the rest of the continent. And she does not rule out Tin-Pac’s listing on the JSE either.
“I’m determined to build a legacy, make a difference and positive impact in my lifetime and change lives.
"I’ll take on any business opportunity to make an economic difference whilst creating a legacy. Anything to inspire other women and generations to come.”
Dikeledi describes her life’s work as being able to provide inspirational leadership and teach self-development.
She is the founder of Green Coaching Networks, a non-profit organisation focusing on coaching and teaching life skills, as well as corporate management skills to graduates who are new to the corporate world. For Dikeledi it is the opportunity to reinvest in society.