Which continent? Why Africa?
When Sarah went to Kenya, she was fascinated by its culture and people, and she became more interested in the social, ecological and economical challenges it is facing. Due to this personal relation, it was soon decided that we would want to get to know other countries of this continent.
Why South Africa?
Once the decision had been taken to explore this continent, there was the question of which country we would like to start GreyC2 and its clothes production. It soon became clear to us that we’d preferably start working in a country that had a solid base to start a business. Whereas corruption was and still is a major problem in many countries, South Africa proved to have the base we needed, starting from the textile industry that has been established there back in the days, to how the government works, to the overall current stage of development of the country itself and last but not least how we as Swiss women would be able to position ourselves in the job market. Especially relevant to us is the aspect that South Africa had a well-working textile industry until it crashed around 15 years ago due to the fact that textile production in Asia became much cheaper so South Africa lost many of its customers to the Asian market. We decided to support the counter-movement there, using the skills that people still have, generating employment and at the same time producing products that are fair-trade and therefore represent a positive life-style.
When it comes to women working in business we were made aware that it’s ok for women to work in South Africa and that we should just get a mentor to help us with the administrative work, however this is an advice to women as well as men who want to start a business in a yet unknown country. I can tell you that I was extremely relieved that there isn’t a big issue for women starting their business – or at least we were told so. We’ll of course see how it actually works out, whether or not we will encounter challenges due to our gender or not, however we are staying positive and are hoping for the best. Until being confronted with this potential challenge, I’ve never given much thought to the difference between men and women starting a business and I can tell you that it’s actually a scary thought that it could be our gender that affects the outcome of our work. This in itself is one more reason that drives us to show through actions that we are able to do relevant work.
Why Cape Town?
When choosing the city we’d like to start getting our products produced, we were looking for a city that had – additionally to the reasons mentioned above about the country itself - a well-working infrastructure and ideally a city where we could find a start-up culture so we could profit from its networking opportunities and build our support system. Cape Town seems to be ideal for that: This city has emerged to a Start-Up hub, attracting people from all over the world to start businesses there, having countless events every week to develop skills and our network through workshops, seminars, trainings, conferences and other events.
To sum it up: we believe that Cape Town is a great place to start with and we are thrilled to finally get to know this city, its people, its culture, and dive deep into work in this all in all new environment.