[Behind the Selfie] with... Wendy Tlou

This week, as part of our special focus on women in #WomensMonth, we find out what's really going on behind the selfie with Wendy Tlou, founding owner of the ChicAfrican brand...
The many faces of Wendy.
The many faces of Wendy.

1. Where do you live, work and play?

Tlou: I live on www.chicafrican.com; obsessing about it, thinking of ways to make it better and grow it. I do this from my home office in Bryanston, Johannesburg on a daily basis. OK, I lie... I do that on an hourly basis!

2. What's your claim to fame?

Tlou: I am a storyteller, and I use the power of marketing and communication to do that. I am particularly obsessed with telling Africa's story of creativity and telling the other side of the story of Africa. One that is authentic, beautiful, compelling, loud, sophisticated, colourful and chic.

3. Describe your career so far.

Tlou: I have spent the past 20 years building my career in marketing and communication. After varsity, I started as a flight attendant for SAA and the travel bug then hit. My career has been spent working largely in the public service with some time also spent at PR agencies. I have lived and worked in Europe (Frankfurt and London) for just over five years running the marketing and communication efforts of SA Tourism in those countries before becoming the Global GM for Communications at SA Tourism on my return to SA in 2007. Most recently, I was Chief marketing Officer for Brand South Africa and decided to leave that and focus on my dream of building www.chicafrican.com.

4. Tell us a few of your favourite things?

Tlou: Reading, eating my way through the world, writing and occasionally making visits to the gym!

5. What do you love about your industry?

Tlou: Its ability to often tell stories that change people's way of seeing the world, and ultimately, that inspire people to be better citizens - what I call active citizens.

6. What are a few pain points your industry can improve on?

Tlou: The defeating notion that PR is 'events' and that anyone can do it. I hate that.

7. Describe your average workday (if such a thing exists)...

Tlou: Wake up, go to gym, have breakfast, work on www.chicafrican.com, take a nap here and there to focus my brain, answer unending emails, spend time with my boyfriend and let myself be loved.

8. What are the tools of your trade?

Tlou: Brains, Insights, listening, content creation, relationship building, kick-ass strategies and delivering excellent work over and over again, unapologetically.

9. Who is getting it right in your industry?

Tlou: Brands that listen to what their consumers want, that can turn insights into impactful solutions. No one person is getting it right all the time, but there are those that do get it right.

10. What are you working on right now?

Tlou: Building www.chicafrican.com, getting it on everyone's radar, increasing the numbers of visitors to the online platform, delivering compelling and authentic content on the platform and obsessing about getting an investor to help me scale the business to the empire I believe it is destined to be.

11. Tell us some of the buzzwords floating around in your industry at the moment, and some of the catchphrases you utter yourself.

Tlou: 'Interactive', 'integrated', 'social media', to name a few. My ultimate catch phrase is 'double-clicking'!

12. Where and when do you have your best ideas?

Tlou: When I am in the company of other people. I derive great pleasure from listening, challenging and feeding off of other people's creative and smart energy.

13. What's your secret talent/party trick?

Tlou: I have a photographic memory that scares the living daylights out of me!

14. Are you a technophobe or a technophile?

Tlou: Technophile!

15. What would we find if we scrolled through your phone?

Tlou: Chats, silly pictures, tons of selfies (one has to self-love, right?!), and pictures of loved ones. Food pictures too and dream destinations to add to my bucket list.

16. What advice would you give to newbies hoping to crack into the industry?

Tlou: Start. Always start. It may not be where you want to be, but I believe the ability to start is one of the most powerful things anyone can do. And always, always be excellent.

17. Plug your contact details, punt yourself - list all the places people can find you/your work online.

@mswendyt on Twitter
on Insta
Personal Facebook
ChicAfrican Facebook
Read more about Tlou by clicking here.

*Interviewed by Leigh Andrews.

About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at Bizcommunity.com, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.
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