It’s a source of pride for us how over the years we’ve helped businesses of all sizes do better business by moving online and getting paid online. It’s especially heart-warming helping entrepreneurs and small business owners take their ideas to new heights by empowering them to turn their concept or passion into a profitable and sustainable venture. With the right mindset, ecommerce know-how, marketing budget and online payments partner, anyone with the right idea can turn their side hustle into a full-time paying gig.
This was the case for Amber Aucamp, a Cape Town-based fashion enthusiast who, with the right attitude, support, partners and business funding, established and grew her own successful fashion-forward online clothing brand, Flikker.
“I’m passionate about people and fashion, and always strive to add a bit of sparkle to the lives of other people. Flikker started out as a side hustle during my honours year and organically grew to be the business that it is today. I’ve always loved clothes and dressing up, and dreamed about having my own brand ever since I can remember,” said Amber.
Making extra pocket money to a full-time salary
Amber started designing and sewing custom dresses while she was studying to earn an extra income, but she always knew that she wanted to move into the ready-to-wear apparel space for women. Her vision was to design and sell pieces of clothing that would make her customers feel beautiful, confident and happy.
“After some time in the corporate retail space, I took a leap of faith in June 2021 to take on Flikker full-time, and I haven’t looked back once!” said Amber.
Flikker has seen incredible growth since its establishment. In 2019 and 2020 Amber sewed most of the garments she sold on her website by herself, averaging about five to ten garments a month. Today she has a wonderful team of seamstresses who make up close to 100 garments for Flikker each month.
“We’ve built an incredible community on social media, and I’ve grown in leaps and bounds as a person by gaining an abundance of valuable business knowledge,” said Amber.
Choosing a well-known and trusted payment platform
When Amber launched her online store, she chose Payfast as her payment platform because she recognised it as the most well-known and trusted payment gateway in South Africa. It was important for her to partner with an online payment solution that she knew her customers would be familiar with.
“The integration to my website was incredibly simple, the merchant Payfast Dashboard is very user-friendly, and the payment process for the customer is simple and fuss-free. Furthermore, Payfast has incredible customer service, which is very important to me when choosing which businesses to partner with for Flikker. As a business owner you have many tabs open in your mind all at once, so knowing that your service providers are on the ball is super important,” said Amber.
Easily accessing Easy Advance funding as a small business
Amber gradually grew her business by taking small, premeditated steps. But as Flikker grew, knowing where and how to scale her business and making provision for funding became one of her biggest frustrations. This is where Easy Advance, a business funding initiative in partnership between Payfast and Retail Capital, played an integral part in taking her business to the next level.
“I learned about Easy Advance through conversations I had with fellow business owners who use Payfast, and decided almost immediately that when Flikker got to the point where I qualified for funding, I would take the chance to take out an Easy Advance,” said Amber.
Once Amber met the criteria for an Easy Advance (in that she had been with Payfast for over three months and her monthly turn over the past three months was more than R5,000 per month) she saw a real-time notification on her Payfast dashboard when she signed in telling her how much she qualified for. Once she accepted the offer she was taken through a simple process and the funds were in her bank account within 24 hours.
“What I appreciate the most about Easy Advance is how accessible it is to small businesses. The barrier to entry is relatively low, and the value of having the opportunity to access funding as a very small business should not be underestimated. I was not in a position where I was ready for a very big sum of money, and Easy Advance gave me the opportunity to test the waters when it comes to funding as it remains a scary and intimidating (yet necessary) step in any small business,” said Amber
“Easy Advance has been Incredibly beneficial. In the fashion industry your inset costs are super high, and having additional funding available to relieve some cash flow stress has been a saving grace. It has allowed me to make a few big purchases that were necessary to drive the business forward, and I have really seen the benefits of investing in these big purchases pay off in the last six months. We were able to produce more stock that would be immediately available for delivery as opposed to selling on pre-order like we usually do. This was an important step forward for our business,” continued Amber.
Building a fashion brand to be proud of
When Amber started out, she had a very basic website with three products and no secure way to pay. Today, after a lot of hard work and making some sound decisions, she has a solid presence both online and in a few boutique stores with more than 30 styles available to shop.
“Flikker is still small but it’s my big little business baby. I’m proud of how far I’ve come and believe it’s important for other people with great ideas to enter the amazing world of ecommerce. With solutions like Easy Advance available to us, the barriers to entry have never been so low,” concluded Amber.
Visit payfast.io to find out how Payfast and Easy Advance can benefit your business or side hustle.