Keke Motloung’s idea to launch her own brand, Dipo Kreations, commonly known as Keke Beads came about when she was under poet and musician Ntsiki Mazwai’s mentorship.
“While under Ntsiki’s mentorship for two years, I learnt how to make creative unique pieces. I told myself that one day I would own a jewellery brand,” she said.
Motloung says one of the most valuable lessons she learnt from Mazwai was to always be yourself and don’t be afraid to put a price on your work. “I learnt to always remain true to myself and not devalue myself and my craft,” she says.
After years of moonlighting, Keke finally left her 9-5 job in May 2016 to focus on her business. After being introduced to Siphelele Dlamini, founder of popular accessory brand Ntozinhle Accessorize, Keke realised that her craft can actually be a viable business to generate income.
“Lele has been in the game for a while, so she introduced me to the concept of pop-up stores and it was then that I decided to take my gift seriously,” she says.
Keke Beads are targeted at the modern women who’s not afraid to stand out from the crowd. “My pieces are distinctive, bold and make a statement,” she says. “They’re traditional accessories that have been made to suit modern times.”
Keke says she draws inspiration from everywhere especially culture. “I infuse the different cultures, colours and patterns like the Ndebele, Xhosa and Zulu cultures and create beautiful accessories,” she says.
Sometimes Keke dreams of the pieces of art she needs to create. “Because I’m always thinking about creative and unique accessories, sometimes it will come as a full piece through a dream. Then when I wake up, I need to establish how I go about making it,” she says.
Last year, she got to travel to all nine provinces – something she says has been a highlight for her. Gaining an international clientele is also something Keke prides herself in as well as local celebrities buying her accessories. “Celebrities like Nomzamo Mbatha, Zoleka Mandela, Lira and Busiswa have bought my stuff” she says.
She also says getting to meet her clients also warms her heart. “I mostly communicate with clients over the phone, when I finally get to meet them I get excited,” she says.
The biggest challenge she encounters is people duplicating her pieces and selling them as their own. She says she has realised that she can’t confront every person who does this and has instead chosen to see the positive side to this.
“Instead of being angry, I’m now proud. I pat myself on the back, because for people to steal my art, patterns and pictures and lie and pretend it’s their own, means I’m doing a good job,” she says.
Keke Beads accessories range from R150 – R1100. To purchase a Keke Beads piece email firstname.lastname@example.org