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Mom uses inventive flair to create sanitiser wristbands and lands huge retail deal

22 December 2021 - 08:00
SQ-Easy founder Jolene de Sousa said she always had a passion for branding and believed that her entrepreneurial flair would pay off one day.
SQ-Easy founder Jolene de Sousa said she always had a passion for branding and believed that her entrepreneurial flair would pay off one day.
Image: Supplied

An easy-to-use wristband that dispenses sanitiser on-the-go. This was the simple solution a South African mom came up with after noticing that her children’s sanitiser bottles remained full and unused after school.

SQ-Easy founder Jolene de Sousa said she always had a passion for branding and believed that her entrepreneurial flair would pay off one day.

“My family also used to say that I drive them crazy, but I’ve always known there was something I was going to do, but I just didn’t know what it would be.

“I knew it would be a product because I am a very creative person and very innovative,” De Sousa said.

De Sousa said the concept of having sanitiser or sunblock at your disposal 24/7 was to help many mothers and children across SA and to make their lives just that little bit easier.  

She said the idea phase of the SQ-Easy product was relatively simple with it being aimed at the consumer group of mothers and children. 

I wanted to create a product that people would trust and we thought we needed to make it a little bit easier for people to feel safe.
Jolene de Sousa

Apart from analysing the competition in the market, De Sousa said she and her head of operations Shirley De Sousa and head of finance Clinton Dawson had to look at the product’s market viability.

Due to the unique mould required to make the SQ-Easy band, De Sousa said SA did not have the capability at the time to help create this concept.  The SQ-Easy bands had to be imported.

She said the speed of sourcing, development, quality control and delivery of the product was the challenging part, especially coming out of the back end of national lockdowns and potential delays at harbours. 

“As challenging as it was, we did not deviate from our product road map and always ensured that we stuck to our vision and plan, so road map prioritisation was key for us.”

She said the pandemic opened up a unique opportunity to adapt to how people meet new needs and challenges.

Shortly after the first batch of products arrived, De Sousa said she walked into Checkers in Welkom in the Free State and asked for a contact person to promote the product.

She was later invited to a meeting in Bloemfontein and, by luck, several other Checkers managers from different provinces were also present.

“They were blown away and immediately said that they would make a plan to get the product on their shelves.  

“If it wasn’t for Checkers believing in us, I think it would have been a very different road. We have been very blessed that they have loved our product,” De Sousa said.

Now SQ-Easy is being distributed across 23 Checkers stores in the Northern Cape and the Free State.

De Sousa said there are plans to distribute to other retailers and provinces.

“I wanted to create a product that people would trust and we thought we needed to make it a little bit easier for people to feel safe.

“It is an unbelievable feeling to walk into a store and see your product there and also just to know that you can give the same service to other moms.”

TimesLIVE


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