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Pokello Nare, The Iron Lady Who Bring Power To African Women's Steps!

Do not hate her because she is successful. Pokello Nare, owner of the luxury shoe brand, Pink Bottoms, a Zimbabwean socialite, businesswoman...

Do not hate her because she is successful.

Pokello Nare, owner of the luxury shoe brand, Pink Bottoms, a Zimbabwean socialite, businesswoman and former Big Brother Africa housemate.

Her other achievements include being a motivational speaker, who often aims at motivating and inspiring women across the African bloc. Here we speak to Ms Nare on her journey as an entrepreneur, businesswoman and mother. We also engaged her on the challenges she faces as a woman in business and any advice she would give to those seeking to follow her path.

Firstly, may you kindly introduce to us who Pokello is and what exactly is brand Pokello?

Pokello is a thirty-five-year-old mother of two boys and business owner. The creative designer of Pokello Pink Bottoms and Pokello Nail Lacquer, a nail polish brand. She is also a voice-over artist, former model and a former beauty pageant queen. She is one of the most famous and recognized Big Brother Africa housemates of all time, an advocate for HIV testing and someone who is very passionate about the financial independence of young women.

Brand Pokello is everything that encompasses what Pokello does as a unique individual in the world. Brand Pokello encompasses a lot of spheres and is the number one brand influencer in Zimbabwe. Brand Pokello is uniquely driven by a strong work ethic and this attracts various organizations to be recognized alongside the brand. 

Organizations that have collaborated with the brand range from Chicken Hut, Munch, Heavy Fuels, The Spa Borrowdale, BrandsForLess Zimbabwe, Munch Bid Buddie, Lion Heart Holdings, Intraceuticals South Africa, to name a few. 

With such a big empire how then do you juggle being a businesswoman and a mother at the same time?

A big empire is what I am creating not just for myself but my family also. Although I run multiple businesses and spend a lot of time engaging in motivational speaking with young women, one is never too busy for the people they love. My sons always come first. Business and other pressing engagements are scheduled around them and their needs.

Growing up what was it about the mentality that pushed you to greater heights?

My resilience and self-validation always ensured I was recognized amongst the best. My biggest strength is, I never needed to prove to anyone but myself that I could reach great heights. I believed that I was intelligent and always pushed myself to be the best in class. I believed I was a gifted athlete so at the age of twelve I dominated every single team I was in. I was not content by just being the best player, so I made a point to be the captain of the teams I was participating in. Captaining the teams was not enough for me so, I made sure my name was engraved on every trophy we got. I am driven by leading the troops. I lead to win.

Who or what was your inspiration growing up, up until now and why?

Growing up I was surrounded by my mother and her group of friends. Independent, strong and powerful crop of women. Each and every one of them was an entrepreneur and mother at the some time, working overtime to make ends meet. I didn’t realize until a few years ago how these women impacted my life. They broke barriers in an environment that were not ready for women who did not fit into the classic box of the “8-5” job.
Pokello Nare, The Iron Lady Who Bring Power To African Women's Steps!

They were women who travelled abroad bringing in the latest technology, fashion and interior design. These women were and are still fearless, well networked and street savvy. That inspired me and I am a reflection of those women. 

As the Pokello brand grows, what have you learnt about leadership, entrepreneurship and mentoring others?

I studied Business Management at university and one module that really stood out for me was Human Resources. Any leader I believe who does not understand the Human Resources of a company can not lead and mentor effectively. The strength of Brand Pokello is in its leadership. Brand Pokello understands the competitive advantage that Human capital adds to an organization.

Did you have any mentors and if yes how did they influence you?

I have a few mentors, my mother who is a staunch businesswoman. Edith Tapfuma also makes the list, she is an author, real estate owner and has worked with various NGOs. Edith has always been quite instrumental in pushing me to think outside the box.

You are for women empowerment evident in your social media posts and the femininity in your business.

What tips through this platform would you want to give to women trying to make it as business owners?

Any woman who wants to make it in business must be passionate about the business venture they want to pursue. You need to believe in your brand, in that people will trust your products and your services. People have a thing for investing in people who already have invested in themselves. Branding is also one of the most important aspects of the business. It is important how you package and market your products. It is also important to have a business acumen that can proactively anticipate, navigate and leverage trends impacting your business.

Where do you see Brand Pokello going in the next five years?

Brand Pokello is becoming more innovative and is on an aggressive expansion plan. In the next five years we would not only have conquered the footwear and cosmetics industries, but also ventured into the liquor industry, real estate, restaurant and events markets. The strength of our brand is that the name allows us a foot into any door. 

What is unique about the services you provide?

What is unique is that our shoes are made specifically for African women. The dimensions of our shoes are meant to cater for African feet.

On your journey as a businesswoman, what is the most important business discovery you have made?

The most important business discovery I made was identifying the gap in the fashion industry. Once I discovered there was a niche market, the idea for my footwear brand was born. Now we have become a competitive force on the national, regional and international market as we ship worldwide.

As a female leader what has been the most significant barrier in your career?

Our society is still patriarchal. A woman’s place at the table is limited to being married and bearing children. The titles Ms or Mrs is used to gauge the respect that will be awarded to you and subsequently how you should conduct yourself. Women are still unfairly positioned in their careers because of gender and not on merit. My brilliance and my seat at the table should not be determined by my skirt or my marriage certificate.

After all the success you have achieved, what do you struggle with now?

The main struggles I encounter right now are mainly related to perception and the press. The downside of being overexposed in the media is that people form a perception of you based on what they read. The advent of unregulated social media means anyone can write and publish anything without evidence and the readers now lack the ability to take what they read with a pinch of salt. Everything’s considered “factual” even without evidence. For me that is one hurdle that has encompassed my life and my brand. 
Pokello Nare, The Iron Lady Who Bring Power To African Women's Steps!
Some will say that is the price of fame.

Do you think women are disadvantaged in business here in Zimbabwe and Africa as a whole?

In recent times I have observed that various socio-economic structures on national and regional level have put in measures to tip the scales to address the patriarchal nature of society. Gender equity and equality in the business world is yet to be attained but we are headed in the right direction. This view is endorsed by the rise of a sizable number of women who have become strong forces in the business world.

Lastly, what would be your ten rules for success?

1. Spend time with your family and learn to delegate.

2. Effective leadership is key. Learn to trust your team and not micromanage them.

3. Learn to handle stress.

4. Human Resource is important to any organization or business. Look after your team always.

5. Branding, we build brands so in return they build reputations.

6. Emotional intelligence can never be replaced, without it you are prone to stress, anxiety and depression and your competitors can take advantage of this.

7. Crisis management/ conflict resolution.

8. Have a support system that you can call on when you are going through a rough patch.

9. Get out of bad debt and stop taking loans.

10. Self-validation. Learning to live without the approval or validation of others is a rule you need to live by.

Facts on Pokello Nare

Pokello Nare was born on the 24th of August in 1985 in the city of Gwanda to Retired Colonel Nare and Bessy Muzvidwa. She attended Alexandra Park Primary in Harare for her primary schooling and proceeded to Kyle College for her secondary education in Masvingo. She has a degree in Communications and Business Management from the University of Monash in South Africa. 

At Monash, Ms Nare made history by becoming the first woman to ever hold the social coordinator position on campus where she made up a ten-member student representative council.

Ms Nare has always been business-oriented. Whilst in college she would tutor in order to get extra cash. In 2011 she launched her luxury shoe brand ‘Addicted to Shoes’ and in 2014 she launched her unique ‘Pink Bottoms’ shoreline taking her shoe brand a step further. In 2018 she launched a nail gel called Pokello Nail Lacquer. She had her big break in 2013 when she represented Zimbabwe on the popular reality television show, Big Brother Africa.

Ms Nare is of Sotho descent and comes from a royal family from the Babirwa Clan in the lineage of Sikara Morole, the chief of the Babirwas, who is now based in Botswana. She has two sons who she dots on, evident on her social media posts.


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