Co-founder of Wijn in Paarl, Sarette van den Heever is a true inspiration within business; her passions and experiences lead her to take a leap of faith and follow through with owning her own wine bar. She shares with us her aspirations, and the importance and perspective of believing in yourself.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your business?
I am the founder and owner of Wijn, a boutique wine bar and online shop based in Paarl. Wijn focuses on finding SA’s best boutique wines that are hard to come by and making these wines more accessible. In our wine bar visitors can taste, drink a glass or buy bottles of these special wines. Through our wine tasting pack, Wonderwijn, you can get two glasses of these wines delivered straight to your door to taste and enjoy, and then buy the big bottles if you love the wine.
My background is in financial services. I spent 15 years in the wealth management industry, before I moved into the startup world of Fintech and I still consult to Fintech businesses today.
I love good wine and food and I love running in my free time. I am a mother of a beautiful 4-year old daughter, with another one on the way soon.
What are you most proud of?
For Wijn, I’m most proud of how we’ve innovated during the past 18 months to reposition the business and survive through Covid.
What does power mean to you? Do you consider yourself an ‘influencer’?
I think power and influence go hand-in-hand. We live in a world today, where “influencer” has become synonymous with having a large social media following and influencing people to like what we like, buy what we buy, live the lives we live. I don’t believe this is the true power or influence. When we come to the end of our lives and we look back, I believe that what will really matter are the lives we have impacted positively through what we did every day and the meaningful relationships we have built. That is true power and influence. Using the best of who you are, to help others achieve more and be more because they have met you or know you. So in that sense, yes I do believe I am an influencer. Through every interaction I have with another person, I have the power to influence that person and it can either build that person up or break them down.
Based on your own experience, what advice would you give someone that’s looking at starting their own business/new business owners?
Businesses are fragile things for a very long time, before they become truly sustainable. Before you start a business, make sure you are ready to dedicate yourself to that business for a long time. As the founder, you are the life force behind the business and you need to have the endurance, dedication and energy to keep it going no matter what. A side hustle won’t stay a side hustle for a long time. Secondly, make sure you build a good team around you from the beginning (even if it is just one other person). Starting and building a business is tough and it is even tougher if you have to do it alone.
Who are your role models?
I am inspired by normal, real women around me who are doing amazing things every day by managing to run a business, raise children, support their life partners and still find it possible to stay sane! Role models are often seen as celebrities and people who have achieved the impossible. For most of us, achieving what they have achieved are indeed impossible, too. I think the real role models are those around us and we need to celebrate their stories more – especially the stories of women.
When I grow up I want to be….
What are your aspirations for the future?
I’ve always been someone who knew what my next move would be. Over the last 5 years, after being retrenched, jobless, starting new businesses, keeping these businesses afloat through Covid, closing down a business, raising a child… I have learnt to embrace the uncertainty of not knowing what comes next and not planning for the next 5 years but to rather keep my eyes and ears open for opportunities, listen to my gut and be in a position to take advantage of these opportunities. So, my aspiration for the future is to be in a position to take advantage of opportunities (mentally, emotionally, financially and practically) and to focus on doing the things that makes me and my family happy.