All4Women Entrepreneurs is a monthly feature where we put the spotlight on amazing female entrepreneurs starting businesses in South Africa. This month we spoke to Cara Saven Wall Design founder, Cara Saven, to find out how she did it.
• Entrepreneur: Cara Saven
• Company name: Cara Saven Wall Design
• Industry: Wall design production, sales and fittings
• Year started: 2006
• Website: www.carasaven.com
“Every building has two things in common: walls and a floor.” It is by that logic that Cara launched her bespoke wall art business in 2006.
13 years later, Cara and her team are producing and installing wall art for some of South Africa’s grandest hotels and expanding to serve international clients too.
The mother of all invention
For many mothers, having children feels like a time to let go of their dreams and find stability in a 9-to-5 job. Cara had the complete opposite experience. “I started on the safe and risk-averse route of going to university, getting a degree and entering into the corporate world as a retail buyer. It was only when I had children and decided I couldn’t go back to 9-to-5 that I took the entrepreneurship leap,” says Cara.
With experience in the traditional job market, Cara decided a change was needed for her and her family and she started working towards what has become Cara Saven Wall Design.
“It was the need to earn an income that spearheaded the start of my business,” she explains.
An idea is born
A qualified retail buyer with a passion for photography, Cara has always had a head for both business and creativity. She merged her two talents in her first take on her business, Cara Saven Photography.
Cara Saven Photography sold large format prints of Cara’s photography to be used as wall décor and commercial art. Over the years, the idea of wall art developed and grew into a comprehensive range of wall designs with applications and materials that would suit just about every wall.
Although Cara’s business is growing and diversifying, she says it is important to stick to the essence of your business and keep it in mind when you expand.
“We’ve diversified our media and included more prints. I strongly believe in doing what you are good at and just getting better at giving our clients what they want,” she explains.
Being a mom and running a business is not easy
Although Cara started her entrepreneurial journey as a mom, it isn’t always easy. Even though she waited until her children were a little older before she fully set off on her business journey, she says finding a balance between work and life is still difficult – even after 13 years.
Having worked in a corporate environment with set working hours before, Cara says one of the things she wishes she knew before going into business is that there are no business hours when you are your own boss.
“Your work will consume you. When I worked in corporate I was able to switch off when I came home and on weekends. I haven’t “switched off” since starting this business 13 years ago. But I guess that’s called ‘Passion’!”