Jessica Bonin 32, Founder & Owner – Lady Bonin’s Tea

My Biggest Fears Were Not Failure, But Success. Failure Is Predictable And Success Is Unknown.’

Jessica spent many unhappy and uninspired years working in the film commercial industry, which, she says, ‘contradicted her value systems’. Frustrated, she wanted a platform to express her passion, creativity and fervor for life. She decided to design the life she wanted. Initially, she wanted to open a café, but her travels to India sparked her interest in tea. ‘Tea is common to everyone, and no matter what your experience, who you are, where you come from, or where you are going, tea is familiar,’ she says. And so she returned and started Lady Bonin’s Tea in 2010, selling take-away and packaged tea from a quirky caravan at markets and festivals in Cape Town. Today Lady Bonin’s Tea has an in-house factory that sources, blends, packages and distributes the tea in bulk to restaurants, cafés, hotels and retail outlets. She also runs The Tea Bar, which serves take-away tea. Her tea is exported to Amsterdam, with plans to move into Malaysia, the USA and Japan.

On Initial Concerns:

Would the ideas actually work? As an entrepreneur, you are innovating and creating, often seeing things ahead of the rest. You have no idea whether your ideas will work but you go by faith and determination. I overcame these fears by overcoming myself, learning how to trust in myself, and developing self-confidence.

On Her Achievements:

Dreaming bigger than big and then pursuing those dreams, and ultimately happiness, is one of the most beautiful experiences. I realised that my biggest fears were not failure, but success. Failure is predictable and success is unknown. When I learned to get out of my own way by allowing myself the permission to find happiness, to create the life I want, to share that with others, and to constantly evolve, things became more and more achievable.

On What Female Entrepreneurs In SA Need More Of:

Confidence. Women are incredibly intuitive. If they allow that creativity, that intuition and that passion to shine through, they can achieve anything. But first they need to be confident enough in themselves and their capabilities to do so.


On Business Tools She Can’t Live Without:

    • Co-creating: Working with people who are your advisors, peers or an employee, allows you to establish confidence as well as insight into any given situation, task, strategy, challenge or idea.
    • Xero: A cloud-based accounting system.
    • MindMaple: Mind-mapping software to help structure and blueprint ideas and strategies.
    • Trello: A task-management software.
    • Any directory that allows you access to industry-relevant information, especially legalities, policies, industry businesses, competition and potential advisors.