Who is “Bathobela can”?
The 35 years old single mother, Miss Matau Ramapuputla, has managed to raise a beautiful daughter in all of life’s difficulties. Children’s book publisher, author and a woman in I.T, Matau is an Entrepreneur who has a passion for children and changing societal stereotypes about children with special needs.
Her daughter, Bathobela, was first diagnosed with autism and later ADHD, however, that didn’t put life on a stand-still for Matau as she ventured on to teaching about the importance of loving children irrespective of their inabilities.
What is it that you do?
I am a Children’s book publisher, author and a woman in I.T. I currently hold a Master’s degree in Business Information Systems.
What made you leap forward to make the first step to becoming an entrepreneur and to peruse this specific business?
The decision was really not mine. I had an instinct to write a picture book, Bathobela Can, but when I couldn’t find a publisher, it was only natural to publish myself. After much research and learning the do’s and don’ts, the transition to becoming a publishing house was natural.
How did you know this is what you wanted to do for sure?
Honestly, I listen to the voice within and I love what I do within my company. I get to make the decision that will not only grow the company but make an impact in people’s lives. I love the fact that I have no publishing background but because it is my passion I just see everything fall into place.
So after getting set up, what were the setbacks and what did you do to improve?
The biggest setback for any entrepreneur is the lack of funding. Banks do not make the funds required available, because giving credit to start-ups is “High Risk”. However I made the decision that every cent made by the business is to be put back into the business.
Do you have any featured products, sales, promotions, launches? Tell us about them and what inspired them?
Currently Bathobela Can books are available in selected in Shoprite stores as well as the RHTC/Playground store in Braamfontein. The e-book version is available online on Overdrive. We will also be exhibiting during EduWeek , as well as the Jozi book fair and the South African book fair.
Are there other black-owned businesses like yours that you draw inspiration from?
My biggest inspiration is Oprah Winfrey. She had an OWN it campaign and deep down when I was looking for a publisher, I knew that I needed to own my brand. Locally, I have so much respect for Cassper Nyovest. They said Hip Hop doesn’t sell in this country but he is the highest selling artist. I have learnt that my inspiration should not to be limited to just women or people of colour, it should come from all walks of life.
What has been your biggest achievement to date which you are proud of?
In terms of Bathobela Can, negotiating the deal with Shoprite was challenging because I negotiated the deal myself with no experience in retail negotiations. The books being selected by Overdrive, the online e-book store was also a milestone for me. The books are also available for local libraries and libraries in the USA, which has been another little pat on the back, reassuring me to keep going.
What is your advice to people having a fear of launching their business?
Find your passion, e.g. if you love to bake, start small and bake for your friends and family and then identify your target market and do your research but never let failure discourage you. Get up, and try again. Lastly, have patience; it is not an easy journey.
Where and how can people find you?
We are active online on Facebook, @bathobelacan, twitter @bathobelacan and instagram bathobela_can
“The aim of the Bathobela books and education material is to inspire, educate and also give hope as well as to bring change to parenting. To teach parents not to compare children, for parents to build relationships with their children and to let them trust and grow knowing that their parents are there for them.”