Tshepo Phiri has had to shut down his branding and printing business but is turning to online marketing to pay his bills during the lockdown.
Riding motorbikes as a hobby and having a passion for visuals led to Tshepo Phiri from Mabopane, a township in the north of Pretoria in South Africa, to found Prodigy Studios in 2016, a video and photography business that soon expanded to branding, printing and social media marketing for mostly the motorsports industry.
During the three-week lockdown imposed by South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa, Phiri’s small business has also been affected – he has closed shop and hopes good times will roll again.
“The lockdown hasn’t been good to us; we feel the effect of the virus. Suppliers have increased prices and we on the other hand couldn’t suddenly increase ours, because of the current orders we had already been busy with. We just had to take the fall for it.”
Young Phiri, nonetheless, understands the need for the lockdown, but says that with the whole world panicking and stock markets crashing, who will pay attention to small entrepreneurs like him?
“I can say I am fortunate enough to have the likes of MFE Motors and Ducati South Africa as my clients. I am busy with a large order I had received prior to the shutdown which I’m currently finishing, but again, the lockdown might come as a hindrance to delivering and that may obviously have its effects on getting paid on time,” he rues.
But it’s not a losing battle yet for Phiri; he runs social media pages for clients on month-to-month contractual agreements and is using that income to help him survive this period.
The motorbikes are parked away and silent, and so too the engines of the economy.
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