She counts Kgosi Mosadi Seboko and LiquiDeep’s Ziyon among her clients. Given the beautiful pieces of jewellery she creates, it is easy to understand why.
Lily Mphafe, 28, wanted to be a book keeper and studied the subject at Baisago University where she graduated in 2008. But if she had her way Mphafe, who hopes to open her own boutique, would only keep books that concern her own business.
The young designer first decided to venture into the jewellery business in 2009 thanks to a friend who is a sucker for accessories.
“She asked me why I never put on accessories and after thinking long and hard about it I thought, ‘If I am going to accessorise, why not make them myself.’ I like being unique,” she says.
And so a new jewellery business was born.
For most women, beautiful jewellery is something they can never have enough of. Few want to be spotted rocking an item that has been seen before.
Typically, handmade jewellery is by no means replicated and they can be assured of its originality. It gives them the satisfaction of knowing they are wearing an exclusive piece, and Mphafe provides that opportunity.
She says she invests a great amount of care in producing her jewellery and the fact that most of the products she uses are either cheap or free, reflects on her prices. “I use anything that can work and look stylish,” she adds.
Her business provides an opportunity for one to be a proud owner of some unique jewellery without having to dig deep into their pockets. “Some people give me specifications to create for them custom-made products,” she says. “There are always events taking place and people want to look beautiful and different.”
She says she sells most of her products from office to office. Because her products offer interesting contrasts, a combination of artificial and natural materials with an endless array of colours, there is always something for everyone.
“More often than not, something I have at a particular moment matches what a customer is wearing and they would buy it.”
Although she still hopes to grow, she says business has been good. She makes enough to sustain her, and even save for rainy days. “When I first started I lacked inspiration but after observing what people like I decided to forge ahead with the idea.”
She cites Kenakitso Kubanji and Dennis Maswai of the Department of Youth and Culture, and Enterprise Botswana respectively as her mentors.
“They have always supported and inspired me to continue with what I do. This is not just about money for me, it is also a passion,” she says. She trades under the name ‘Lil nest’.
“To build a nest, a bird starts with a little twig and gradually develops it into a full nest. I am still building my nest, one sale at a time,” she says.