FashNerd founder Muchaneta Kapfunde’s drive is fuelled by her insatiable appetite for technology and her passion for fashion trends. Together with her partner Mano ten Napel, she unashamedly lives and breathes FashNerd.com.
As editor in chief, she continues to grow FashNerd.com into the go-to web destination for audiences thirsty for fashion technology, lifestyle technology, Tech on the runway, WearableTechStylist and The Guide- a shoppable tech guide. Muchaneta’s vision is to make Fashion Technology accessible to mainstream consumers. Her drive is fed by her need to make FashNerd.com’s distinct voice recognisable within the Fashion Technology and IoT industry.
Muchaneta Kapfunde oversees a small staff of dedicated contributors who use FashNerd.com as a platform where they can put pen to paper. Since launching on 13th January 2015, FashNerd.com’s growing community of fashion insiders, tech geeks, start ups, early adopters of technology and the tech curious currently stands at over 20K. It is a strong network that continues to go from strength to strength.
The University of Arts graduate entrepreneur spirit seems to know no bounds. Although she has been in the fashion industry for over 10 years, this is a woman’s whose story is only just beginning.
How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
One word, internships. Anyone who comes from a fashion background would know that they had to pay their dues as they climbed the ladder to success. It is because of this experience that I am unafraid of hard work. I proudly have a ‘roll my sleeves up and get on with it’ attitude which ensures that not only can I lead but that I am also willing to get into the trenches with everyone else.
“A good leader in my eyes works right alongside the interns, the assistances and the managers, and if it is your own business then it is definitely an attitude you should naturally have”
How has your previous employment experience helped you when it comes to FASHNERD?
I first started out in fashion magazines before moving to Fashion PR. My main reason for the change was that the money was a little better in PR. I knew that as a new fashion writer on the block I could not survive on a life of champagne and free canapés alone.
The career change to Fashion PR made me realise that it is not for the light hearted. It is a job that demands that you continue smiling even though you feel like screaming out of pure frustration. That all being said it was my many years in fashion PR that have given me my much needed thick skin, my go get it attitude, my determination to never take no for an answer and my need to see results in all that I do.
What have the highlights and challenges been starting and growing FASHNERD?
FashNerd started as an idea, and then as soon as I spoke about it to Mano (ten Napel) it became reality. November 2014 I gave up my job in PR, and by January 2015 FashNerd.com had launched. It has taken blood, sweat and tears to get FashNerd.com where it is. I knew that FashNerd had the potential to fulfil a small niche in the world of Fashion Technology and Lifestyle Technology. I realised that there was no digital magazine covering technology with a fashion voice. Technology was talked about in a voice that was not consumer friendly, and this is where FashNerd.com comes in.
What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry?
With #WomenInTech trending, know that you are not alone. Fashion and Technology are industries that are thirsty for women with passion and drive. FashNerd.com is always on the lookout for women who want a career in this industry. I think as women you sometimes need to stand up and be heard.
“Do not be afraid to approach companies and tell them that you want to work for them, just have a good reason why, oh and ‘because…’ is not an answer.”
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career to date?
If you have the choice never work a job you are not passionate about, oh and be nice. People always like nice people, even if they are not particularly nice themselves. Being nice got me quite far in my fashion PR jobs. Nice with a dash of passion for what you do makes for a happy fulfilling career. I love talking to people who light up when they talk about Fashion technology, because it is that authenticity that in turn gets me excited enough to want to get to know them more.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
When it comes to FashNerd, I am “always on”. My laptop, iPad and mobile never leave my side. I recharge when I sleep. Bad I know, but my baby is still young, and I believe that everything I put in it now, I will reap later.
What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
Balancing life at work and life at home. Men find it easier than women, because we have this thing called guilt.
“I think as a woman you can only have it all when you accept that sometimes there will be moments when you can’t do it all”.
Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
On my pedal stool sits Michelle Obama. She has managed to not only carry the label ‘First Lady’. She has proven that she is so much more than that. I love that she is not only Obama’s wife, she also wears many other hats too. I want to be more than just a mother, or a business woman or a wife, I want to be all three and much, much more.
What do you want FASHNERD to accomplish in the next year?
We want to make sure that we are always moving with the times. Many companies get stuck in the year that they had their success and then wonder when the rest of the world moved on. It is also important to me that we continue to grow our audience in way that means that FashNerd.com becomes their digital Vogue that happens to talk tech.
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