Meet the Founder & Creative Director of the widely-popular fashion & beauty blog, WILLKATE, Kamogelo Mafokwane. Through hard work & dedication, Kamo has managed to turn her passion & flair for fashion into a lucrative blogging career and has built a strong professional team in the process! WILLKATE is a website dedicated to revealing beautiful treasures worldwide through travelling, fashion and beauty expertise. Functioning as an online business & luxury online store, WILLKATE is synonymous with elegance and high-end style! Continue reading below as Kamo shares her inspirations, the hard work it takes to run an online business whilst studying and her personal fashion preferences…
Full name: Kamogelo Mafokwane
Current title/company: Style blogger and owner, WILLKATE [http://www.willkatelady.com/]
Educational background: Advanced Make-up at LISOF + FACE
Access Course in Fashion Media and Communication at London College of Fashion
BA (Hons) Creative Direction for Fashion at London College of Fashion
Current city: London
Kamo, your blog, WILLKATE, is widely popular and known for its beautiful photographic images, your incredible fashion sense and love for beauty. Could you take us through the journey to founding WILLKATE? Moreover, could you possibly explain the choice of the name, WILLKATE?
WILLKATE all begun by a simple spark of inspiration from a friend. She always used to tell me that I had great fashion sense and so I spontaneously thought that I should start a blog, which was what I did. I spoke to a few other students where I studied and decided to experiment with taking pictures and blogging. It has slowly progressed over the years and I couldn’t be more grateful for the incredibly talented team I work with.
Moreover, WILLKATE was inspired by my late gran’s name (Kate) and my late biological father’s name (William). They are my guardian angels in everything and especially through this journey.
You have resided in the UK and South Africa. Tell us about what influences your personal style? Between London and Joburg, which fashion capital would you say has had the most impact on your personal style and why?
The inspiration I gain in South Africa and the UK are completely different. In UK, more specifically, London I gain style inspiration through everyday street style, art, design and culture. There are so many different cultures in London so you can just imagine how much inspiration there is to take from the city. Whereas, in South Africa I find the style inspiration to be very ‘bold’ and daring.
If I had to choose… London, definitely has the most impact on my personal style for obvious reasons such as the accessibility to brands and clothing items that match your style and personal aesthetic.
Give us a glimpse into what you think is lacking in SA’s fashion industry. Most importantly, where do you think opportunities lie for women in SA in pursuit of breaking through this difficult industry?
I think about this all the time and I think as a country, South Africa is developing. South Africa has a very strong and bold set of local designers and brands that shape the fashion industry nationally as a whole, and some which have succeeded in the fashion industry internationally. However, because the industry in South Africa is small, the opportunities for women is definitely difficult to be a part of at times. In my personal experience and opinion, there have been times where some companies will not take you seriously – even when you are very qualified and experienced – yet they would rather trust the social impact (fame) over your qualifications. Now, I respect a lot of women that have made it far without their qualifications, but my question is, if the industry can not value and appreciate qualifications then how credible are fashion industry sources?
I have met so many talented women who are still struggling for people to give them a chance. However, my advice to women in this position is always take the risk to apply for the job that was not listed. To be successful, you need to give people what they do not already have. If you want to work in a business and there aren’t any positions available, apply for a position that you think could benefit the business and yourself. That’s what I did and it worked for me. I wanted to make an impact and I am still on that journey.
Few know about the hard work it takes to maintain a blog as successful as yours. Take us through the back-end of what it entails to publish high quality content as you do week after week. What would you say has been the biggest factor influencing the success of your blog?
You are 100% right. Having and maintaining a blog, is very time consuming – it’s a part time career that sometimes needs full time attention, which can be very difficult. I study full time right now, so sometimes, it can really get overwhelming with deadlines on both sides. The biggest factor of the success of the blog is team work, networking and dedication. Blogging needs consistency, creativity and time management. However, without my team and the people I work with, WILLKATE would not be possible. Our team is continuously learning and we help one another in this journey.
What are your plans for WILLKATE going forward in 2015? In 5 years?
My plan for WILLKATE is to build my clientele. Build our team and improve our creativity. Five years from now, I pray to be a global successful South African fashion blogger and creative director.
Has fashion and beauty always been your passion? At what point did you decide that you would pursue fashion and beauty as a career – when did the ‘Aha’ moment take place?
Yes. I had fashion sense from a really young age – when I didn’t even know what style was! My mother was one of my biggest style inspirations as a child and I grew up loving to create outfits. I went through different phases, from ‘girly girl’ to ‘tom boy’ to ‘girly girl’ again and then officially came into my own feminine elegance. I wanted to pursue fashion from when I was in high school and my ‘Aha’ moment came at the end of grade 10 in high school. After that, I decided to start pursuing my fashion and beauty career straight out of high school.
As a fashion and beauty blogger, what would you say have been your most difficult obstacles and how were you able to overcome them?
My most difficult obstacles… It was finding the right people to work with! Now, I have better judgement with who I would like to work with. In the past, I used to have trouble with people submitting high quality work. I then had to re-evaluate the blog as a whole, and rethink about what I wanted to achieve and how I wanted to achieve it and then things started falling into place slowly.
Explain what a typical work day looks like for you?
People think I dress like how I dress on my blog on a daily basis. It’s impossible! (Lol) I am always on the run, either going to university, sourcing clothing for shoots, styling shoots. The times I dress up is when I’m in meetings, events or meeting friends. Therefore, a typical work day would be, me in sneakers, comfortable clothing, a laptop in front of me and a sketchbook next to me.
What is most fulfilling about your career?
The most fulfilling thing is the amount of support. I get so many emails daily, of people telling me that I inspire them or asking for my opinion either on fashion or career. This is the most fulfilling aspect, to know that I am making an impact in someone’s life.
Advice for aspiring fashion & beauty bloggers?
Keep going. Don’t Give Up. Invest in a good camera. Don’t worry about the number of followers, it’s about the impact you are making. Network with people. Gather inspiration and keep creating.
Morning or night? Morning
If you could have lunch with any woman, who would it be and what would you order? The Queen of England, and I would have afternoon tea with her.
The African continent needs… Free education
African women are… BOLD, WISE, CONFIDENT AND BEAUTIFUL!
Worst money mistake… Spend without budgeting. Don’t spend it all in one go!! DON’T !
Best investment… Property
Motivation in 3 words… Just keep going. Pray EVERY day.
Connect with Kamogelo: