A Women’s Month Tribute to the Self-Branded Women of South Africa

Self-branding, in our eyes, is a strategy where an individual works constantly and consistently towards creating a brand for themselves, by themselves. We are all familiar with the saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, but it came to be the beautiful city it is today at the hands of a devoted and passionate team of individuals striving for success. Your brand is your Rome – building it is a long and thorough process where you are the central anchor, striving for credibility and trust. It is how you present yourself both online and offline to existing and potential clients in the public sphere.


This month we want to celebrate three successful, strong South African women who have mastered the art of personal branding, and in doing so, have painted new perspectives of self-branding for all businesses.


Yvette Hess yvette hess self-branding south africa

Yvette is an expressive artist and mental health advocate from Cape Town. While she may be a relatively new face in the creative market, she has already stood out from the sea of people. It was after her third depressive episode, while sitting in a quiet room with her therapist, that Yvette’s artistic and entrepreneurial journey began. The suggestion by her therapist to try some art classes planted the seed that would blossom into not only a career but also an outlet and source of empowerment.


Yvette’s business is rooted in an explicitly personal space, and so she was faced with a unique challenge when it came to personal branding. She believes that self-branding is, at its core, an attempt “to create an impression of what you and your business are all about and what your values are”, and from there, striving to communicate this across a multitude of platforms. Although Yvette is considered an independent business owner, she does not apply this label to herself as she believes she is the sum of all her experiences and interactions, and her business is a “mash-up of the fruits of interdependent relationships” she has with many people. Having had the honour of interacting with Yvette when we selected a range of her exquisite limited-edition hand painted affirmation journals we ordered for our client, Labels4School, and their Women’s Month competition, we are confident that the impression she makes on all the people who cross her path is a powerful and poignant one.


Yvette’s personal branding philosophy encompasses values that we at The Brand Collective incorporate into our own approach to brand marketing in that she has learned to empower herself through learning about different tools and effective communication, which shines through in the material she makes public online. She is also a huge advocate for authenticity – something we value at the centre of our business – and notes that people are “gravitating towards others who share their stories and their struggles.” When it comes to phenomenal women, Yvette is one to watch.




Kelly Stegen kelly stegen self-branding south africa

Kelly is what is popularly considered a ‘fitmom’ with an impressive list of endorsements from fitness and health brands in South Africa. She is the owner and director of Kelfit Lifestyle, a comprehensive lifestyle diet plan that aims to help women and men lead healthier lives. To her, self-branding means portraying “the most real, true and inspirational aspects” of her and her business, resonating with the thread of passion and authenticity in public figures. Kelly is proud of herself as an independent business owner, acknowledging that it isn’t always easy and that she endeavoured to become the woman “who pays her own bills and runs her own life” and eventually became that woman.


Aware of the importance of creating a brand image, but without the funds to employ a marketing agency, Kelly took the matter into her own hands. Her efforts flourished into a respected, well-known brand image prominent within the South African fitness market. She notes, “Personal branding requires an acute knowledge of both yourself and your intended audience, and consistently producing content that resonates with them.” Like Yvette, Kelly is committed to showing the real and raw sides of the personal and professional aspects of her life, aiming to educate people about healthy living while at the same time lifting the veil between the personal and professional to give her audience a glimpse of her role as a mother and entrepreneur. Her daughter, Ella, is the cutest little human to watch on her Instagram stories!


Without a doubt, Kelly and her brand is an admirable tribute to women who insert themselves into the market driven by pure determination, will, and desire to share knowledge on topics that will help improve the lives of others.


Lisa Raleighlisa raleigh self-branding south africa

Lisa Raleigh is an established mom, blogger, and entrepreneur with a passion for health and wellness. Her book, ‘No Fries On Us’, written with Darren Scott, piloted her brand image to new heights and she has become one of the most well-known faces of health and wellness in South Africa. However, we wanted to know what her brand, built entirely by her, meant to her and the processes she went through to bring it to life.


Lisa’s take on self-branding entails staying true to herself and her own personal mission statement and ethos. “In essence, my brand is a direct reflection of who I am and what I stand for,” she says, and she is swollen with pride that her brand is “like looking into a mirror”. From an early age, Lisa has been fiercely independent, and her independence was one of the motivational factors that drove her to be bold in the face of risk and start her business at a very young age. Running her own business gave Lisa a platform to express herself, while simultaneously sharing her entrepreneurial journey with the world. She was desperate to turn her dreams into a reality, and so she chased after them relentlessly to do just that.


In the many roles she encompasses, Lisa has become a teacher, sharing and exemplifying what a fearlessly independent woman can achieve in a world filled with glass ceilings. To those people who are afraid of stepping outside of their confinements, Lisa says, “break the mould and don’t feel guilty for having lots of interests and being multi-faceted.” Lisa’s advice to women with big dreams but no idea what to do with them is to do three things:

The first is to “do what you love, if you love your work, you’ll be more content and less resentful about all the juggling, hard work and sacrifices you have to make.” The second is, never stop learning because “you can never know too much”. Finally, always be you and the rest will follow.


These three women have been courageous enough to take the leap and take branding into their own hands. However, we are here to help with all your marketing and branding to help you take your brand to the next level. Get in touch with us to find out more.

Words by Gabi & Jess 

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