Reality star achieves business success

Apart from being a reality star, Nonkululeko Williams is a businesswoman who owns Ashes 2 Beauty winery, a logistics company and a construction company focusing on low-cost housing.

Her parents divorced at a young age. After matriculating at Pinetown Girls High School, she studied human resources at the Durban University of Technology.

She landed a job in the corporate world but resigned after two years to pursue her dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Williams told Sunday World she always knew that she didn’t belong in the corporate space.

“I dreaded going to work and I knew that I was born an entrepreneur. I’m a risk taker and bold by nature, that’s why I always tell young people to visualise their lives.”

At the age of 24 she joined her mother in running a guest house, which was a success.

“I didn’t like being told what to do by my mother, so in 2006 I started my own company, which was then called Section 24. I would drive around schools in rural areas doing supply and delivery services, and my first pay cheque was R10 000, which was a lot of money for me at the time,” said Williams.

The mother of three didn’t just get into construction but provided cleaning where she got contracts for three years from the department of transport.

“Someone told me there was money to be made in construction and knowing the kind of lifestyle I wanted to live, I never hesitated,” she said,

“In 2010, I started off as a social facilitator, working with a contractor in the municipality and the rest is history.”

As a facilitator she would do door-to-door admin, getting people to register for houses. While doing that job she was able to listen to people’s problems and deal with conflict.

Williams is a firm believer in empowering women in her businesses in different ways by offering opportunities to local labourers as she mostly works in rural areas.

Being a woman in a male-dominated industry comes with its challenges.

“One of the challenges I have experienced is being a female boss in a male-dominated industry,” she said.

“At first it wasn’t easy because they looked down on me as a woman, but I’ve learnt to respect people.”

But Williams feels that there has been a radical change in the stereotypes associated with women in society, and that they are no longer overlooked these days due to their gender.

She started the logistics business in 2020 during lockdown, when her construction site was shut down due to Covid restrictions.

“I’m always looking for new opportunities and I just couldn’t sit down and not do anything.

“During lockdown, I travelled between Johannesburg and Bloemfontein looking for trucks, and I bought myself a truck and fuel tanker.”

The business is moving swiftly and she has made a few mistakes, mostly because of lack of knowledge and people taking chances with her business.

She believes her ultimate challenge in business has to be the rain, especially in the construction business.

“What I always tell people is to try and have everything paid up, try and have nothing on loan because you don’t know what the future holds. ”

Williams’s clientele has grown because of referrals from people she has worked with.

In the next five years, she hopes to grow her wine business.

Her construction and logistics business are on track because of her great team.

For more business news from Sunday World, click here. 

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