During Lockdown, Krowns have been able to make in excess of 1000 masks, of which 60% were bought by individuals while the balance were donated to people doing great things in the community.
Tanya Chanel Mvenge, the founder of Krowns Africa, gets straight to the point with, “Lockdown has been the biggest blessing, and the toughest curse all at the same time. A blessing, because I don’t have to wear a bra every day, and the saddest time ever, because I lost my grandmother and couldn’t attend her funeral. Not being able pay my last respects to the person who raised me was tough:- to the next level”
Having gone into Lockdown 3 weeks before the country was declared under Lockdown, Tanya had felt fairly positive, but the crushing loss of her grandmother subsequently, changed all of that. Lockdown became overwhelming as she was not able to see her friends and family. Being that its a time, when you need community the most, Tanya battled to cope.
On the contrary, Lockdown also provided a most unexpected space of solidarity for Tanya, where she experienced less distractions and found so much more time to spend with her Creator, which led to her having a more defined sense of identity and greater self awareness.
“Something great, that I have learnt during this time”, says Tanya, “Is the tremendous power of social media. It is way more than all the ‘likes and followers’. I have found social media to be a powerful, influential community. It’s a selective community, (selected by yourself), who have the potential to add value and positive influence to your life, or to steal your joy, and destroy your hope. In addition, thanks to social media, I have been able to attend weddings, birthdays and conferences. I have found it to be a great way to communicate with customers on a more individual and personal level and explore what it is they really want, and has enabled me to create a platform that provides greater purpose to our brand”.
Tanya adds, that she has found new avenues for communicating with customers as well as the way they design their products and manage their distribution. She is convinced, these new techniques will continue to be best practice, post lockdown.
According to Tanya, the most positive aspects of the new norm, has been, not being able to go anywhere, except in an emergency, which has meant no shopping, and having an undisturbed routine, which allowed her to become more creative because of the reduced time spent on the road. The combination caused her to acquire new skills and knowledge (Google being the go-to).
A beneficial learning curve presented itself during Lockdown, when Tanya came to the realization, that she lacked discipline in taking care of herself, as well as being able to saying no. As an extrovert and a hands-on-hugger, it came as a surprise, that one can live without hugs, with the greatest lesson of all being summed up as the discovery, that we as the human race can make an impressionable difference to our circumstances, our community, and the world, if we put our minds to it, as Tanya pointed out, referencing the #BLM and #Endfemicide initiatives, which gained traction internationally through the power of social media.
“I am looking forward to the New Normal. I believe businesses will be run differently and some will become more inclusive, where others may become more diverse.
My hope is that businesses in general come to realize that Black people are made up of more than just preconceived ideas, and that they are a huge untapped, pool of diverse resources. When that day comes, we will all love harder, we will love differently and we will love intentionally”.
In closing, Tanya says she would live her most daring life, if “All my walls came down, and if I could run my business as if Warren Buffet and Alikho Dangote were my dad!”