Despite always being on the run while trying to juggle her time running a business and being a mum and wife, Tandi Potgieter is always smiling and positive, and most certainly saying ‘yes’ to life.
Being in a demanding full-time job of MD at a large printing firm proved just too much when Tandi’s third son was born, and she knew she had to make a change.
‘I was practically back at my laptop hours after giving birth and went back to the office a few weeks later.’
After a few high-pressured months, she realised she will never have time with her baby and decided to start her own business that would enable her to arrange her days according to her own needs and that of her family.
‘I used to do the social media side for the company I worked with and really enjoyed it. So I decided to open my own social media marketing company, Icarus Media.
‘And guess what? My old firm was my first client,’ she said with a broad smile.
Her company is now in its fourth year and with three staff members, they manage 14 brands ranging from vehicle brands to perfume and kitchens.
‘I can honestly say I work with a dream team. We have recently opened an Influencer Division. We have worked with amazing influencers such as Minki van der Westhuizen, Natasha Joubert and local TikTok stars Mr & Mrs Big Bite.’
Hard work pays off
Tandi has worked since age 16 and loved every aspect of business. Being born into a home with her mum and dad’s strong business influences shaped her into a driven and hard-working person.
‘I have been in management roles since I was 19. I have also lived in London for seven years, where I was a buyer for Harrods. I have experience in various fields and my greatest skill is to improve systems and processes. I am passionate about helping small businesses flourish, and social media is a great way to achieve this.
‘I also love helping develop women and mentoring them to be the best they can be.’
She is also a marketing partner for SOJO Business Tourism with a passion to promote business and tourism in the South.
‘We have just completed our first Thaba Eco Challenge, a SOJO charity event at Thaba Trails with partners Balwin Properties and Group 1 Nissan The Glen. We aim to grow this into a large annual event for the South.
‘Can I say working is my hobby? My work is very creative and I really get to flex my artistic muscles.
‘I am also partnering with Dr Tshegofatso Mathe to host Mrs Soweto, a female empowerment programme with a focus on charity and tourism in Soweto. This will be launched in September.’
When asked about challenges in her job, she immediately said ‘time’.
‘I know many women have the same problem, as we try to take on so many roles. I am still working on overcoming this. I also know when I say yes to something, I am saying no to something else. In my case, that is generally precious family time. These days I do think more carefully before agreeing to every project.’
‘My biggest achievement was winning the Chairman’s Award for Excellence at Harrods. This was awarded to me by Mohamed Al Fayad, who owned Harrods at the time, and it was an incredible feeling to be acknowledged for my work. It also gave me the confidence to believe in my abilities.
‘I was extremely honoured to be made a board member of Dignity Dreams
NPO. Charity work has always been close to my heart and I was overwhelmed with gratitude to be welcomed on the board, where I could make a tangible difference.’
Dignity Dreams is a charity that provides menstrual health education to young women and girls and washable sanitary pads that last up to four years.
‘That means when you buy a dignity bag, you are directly impacting a girl’s life and keeping her in school for up to four years. This is why this charity is so important and impactful.
‘And while at it, I may as well ask for help. It is so easy for you to help. Dignity Dreams is a beneficiary of the My School Card programme. Every swipe counts and it doesn’t cost you a cent. You can link your Woolies My Rewards card or your Builders Warehouse card to it and Dignity Dreams will benefit from the monthly donations from every swipe.
‘Please visit www.dignitydreams.com for details on how to make a donation or set up a debit order.’
She is also a firm believer that when you turn the focus from your own daily struggles to those in real need, it will add perspective and will give great meaning to your life.
‘Nothing fills you with more joy than making a difference, however small, in someone’s life. It is very rewarding and can really impact both their lives and yours.’
Being mum, wife and business owner
Already admitting she does not have much time, one can’t but to ask how she juggles family time and work time.
‘I think you can only juggle a busy career and family life with the support of your family. I am very blessed with my incredibly wonderful and supportive husband, Stephen, who is happy to jump in and cook dinner or do bedtime tuck-ins if I am busy with a deadline. Our boys also understand that owning your own business means you don’t just work from 9am to 5pm.
‘Then it is also very important to me that we sit at the kitchen table and eat dinner together every night so that we have that connection time every day. It is a daily balancing act though to make sure I give equal focus to both family and work.
‘I also feel it is important to nurture your marriage by having time alone with your husband. We try to go away together or just have a date night.’
Treasuring family time means the Potgieter’s garage in their family home in Eye of Africa Golf Estate turns into an indoor theatre because Fridays are fun days when they do family movie and pizza night.
‘Alex loves to go to the park and we (mostly hubby) take him to a different park in the estate every weekend. Oh, and we would love to walk on the trails in our estate more often than we do. Does once count?’ she asked laughingly.
As if life is not busy enough, she went on telling us she has recently discovered a passion for creating balloon sculptures and paper flowers.
‘I love to make sure every occasion is beautiful. I also dabble in a bit of DIY and started my own YouTube channel – TanDIY.’
What does motherhood mean to you?
‘I am so grateful for my boys, Brandon, Sean and Alex, and they really give my life meaning and joy. The most important thing for me about motherhood is that my children feel loved, seen and heard.
‘My biggest piece of advice for mothers is to enjoy the little moments. When you are going through a tough time, just remember that it passes so quickly. You will miss that cry in a few years or your child nagging you for attention.’
Off the cuff:
- Do you prefer food, travel or art?
Travel, for sure
- Rain vs sunshine
- City life vs outdoors
- The one thing nobody or very few people know about you.
I play the piano by ear
- Your ultimate spoil
Full spa day
- Your guilty pleasure
- Your pet peeves
Laziness and not listening to instructions
- Your best movie ever
The Wedding Singer
- Currently on your playlist
Osama by Kasango and Zakes Bantwini
- Wardrobe must-haves
Jumpsuits and little black everything
- Your motto
Say yes to life
- If you could do one thing before you die, what would that be?
Travel the world for a year with my family.
* Text: CARINA VAN DER WALT. Photo: CANDICE ARAUJO PHOTOGRAPHY. Hair: COLLEEN AT CLASSY VIBES HAIR & BEAUTY SALON