DESIGNING FOR BETTER BUSINESS
The project was part of the GoGlobal module held by the Innovation Design Engineering department at the Royal College of Art in collaboration with Cape Town Business school. The brief was to work with small scale entrepreneurs present in the townships of Cape Town. We started by learning more about our entrepreneur and the problems she faces today.
The client/entrepreneur was Brenda Mamputa who is a single mother of two and owns a dreadlocks salon in Khayelitsha. We wanted to help Brenda in her short term as well as long term endeavours. She cares about her community and wants to see it grow alongside her business. She believes in hairstyling as a form of art and imparts training amongst young people who want to take it up as a living. Some of the current problems that she faces are lack of infrastructure, inconsistent branding, unstable and unsafe location and crime.
Within two weeks of collaborating and learning her story, we realised that her brand was Brenda herself. We have put forth Brenda as an image that stands for its community. We have also proposed solutions that call for a larger engagement and would disrupt the market making it safer and more convenient than ever for salons across townships. Some immediate implementations have allowed us to gain her confidence thereby broadening her perspective on future collaborations and design interventions.
Gaining insights on the field involved spending time with Brenda, sometimes like a fly on the wall and other times engaging in deep conversations about her hopes and aspirations.
While most of the brainstorming sessions were conducted within the team, Brenda was involved in later stages to provide valuable insights and helped the project stay grounded.
TWO FOLD OUTCOME
The result of the project was a series of design interventions for existing problems and also a glimpse into what Brenda's business could look like in the future.