Jana Leonard

Celebrating Women: Jana Leonard – Founder of JL Brand Communicators and The Baskiti Co.

Tell us a bit about yourself, your career and what you’re busy with right now?

I am a storyteller by heart, and this has served me well over the years. I specialise in PR within the Lifestyle Consumer space with clients ranging from beauty, décor, fitness and finance.

We work with really amazing, innovative clients, such as Terres d’Afrique, The Cotton Company, Cloudworks, Lulu & Marula, Sloom, The Lighthouse Internet Guardian App as well as GROEN Luxury wallpaper to name a few.

I’ve been telling clients’ stories for more than a decade and 5 years ago I launched my own Consulting Offering – JL Brand Communicators – where we assist small businesses from the ground up as well as manage all communications including Influencer marketing for our established clients.

During lockdown, I solved my own storage problem, by designing and manufacturing the very first Baskiti Hanging Storage Basket. To date, we have sold more Baskitis than I could ever have imagined and are listed with online retailers such as Yuppiechef and Superbalist. The brands’ progress is slow but steady and we look forward to launching our new products this August including a beautiful A5 Leather Notebook Cover, some more Hanging Storage – this time for your Linen Closet – and a new variation of our much loved Baskiti.

Since 2019 I also tell stories to our – now – two gorgeous babies, Axel and Miera. Our pigeon pair and the ones who inspire me to be better and do better.

What has been your biggest challenge/lesson in business and life, in general? 

My biggest lesson in business has to be to not jump the gun, push out a new product ‘just because’. Be thorough, mindful, curious and always ensure the reason you’re doing something is thought-through and not on a whim. I’ve been guilty of this, and the results / outcome is never favorable. Yes, adapt, yes be innovative, but do it with intent!

Personally, my biggest challenge is time management – with 2 kids in 2 years and investing dedicated time to my husband, our kids, my businesses as well as myself is proving to be challenging at times. My most recent self-discovery exposed that my ‘dormant anxiety’ comes from running a very high energy life, therefore – I have now endeavored to do only what I can, when I can and if I can. I plan well in advance, I ensure I exercise and the results have been magical. Often saying No, is the best thing you can do for yourself!


Who is/was your role model? 

I have many who don’t even know I exist haha, but my biggest role model has to be my husband. His hard work, dedication, kindness and patience drives me to be better every single day.

As an entrepreneur and business owner, what has been the one piece of advice you have received which you would like to pass on to the person reading this right now? 

Don’t do anything because of ego, do it with intent.

Always check yourself before making a final decision, especially if you work for yourself and not alongside a big team. It’s so easy to get swept up in it all!

What are you most proud of? 

I am INCREDIBLY proud and grateful for the life I have created for myself and our family. Alongside my husband, we have a clear goal in mind, and we are slowly but surely chipping away at it.

What is the one thing you know now, which you would tell your 16-year-old self, and why? 

Join the team, say your say, ask the questions, always be kind and be dedicated. Luck only happens when you also do your part!

Guilty pleasure?

Right now, binging Netflix in bed, with a cup of very sweet Rooibos tea. We have a No-Tech-in-the-bedroom policy (obviously not my idea!) so I can only truly indulge when my husband is away or working. Haha! Other than that, a glass of wine at 5pm on our ‘stoep’ watching the kids play…before the chaos starts!

Where can people get hold of you?