Q & A with Amanda Rabinowitz, Founding Owner of JellyBean Concept Events

Originally from Durban, Amanda Rabinowitz is the founding owner of Jellybean Concept Events which focuses on conceptualised events within the shopping mall, private and corporate events spaces respectively. Amanda didn’t start out as an events planner, but rather as a school teacher for Grade R and Grade 2 students as well as a dancer and stage performer, but she has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and wanted to follow in the footsteps of her entrepreneurial family.

1. Tell us about yourself. Have you always been entrepreneurial? What led you to take the first step and setting up your own business?

I have always known that I wanted to be my own boss. I was naturally creative and loved creating solutions to entertain kids. I am a qualified teacher, however all through my teaching journey, I have run various side businesses. I love the thrill of entrepreneurship, and that I think, is the main driver for me.

2. How did Jellybean Concept Events come about and has it changed your life?
JellyBean Concept Events was created in my 4th and final year of being a teacher. I had always run various kids entertainment companies in Durban, and after moving to Cape Town in 2010 I realised a gap in the market exists here and wanted to offer Cape Town what I had always done in Durban. Thus JBE was created. There have been several sacrifices over the years that I have had to make for my business. It has certainly not been smooth sailing. I have enjoyed it the most over the past 3 or so years as my business has grown legs and started to take off in a new direction towards the larger experiential activation space which focuses on large scale events for shopping centres around South Africa and as well as corporate brands.

3. What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?
To be flexible, try to be open to new opportunities as you never know where they will lead. Hire staff carefully and ensure you have the correct contracts and NDA’s in place.

4. What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
My father has always been an entrepreneur. Even at 72 after creating several highly successful businesses, he now runs a new little entrepreneurial passion of his which has taken off. Whatever he touches he makes into a business. I find it exceptionally inspiring, but in saying that he is the hardest working person I know.

5. If any, what challenges have you experienced as a woman in your industry?
In my industry, I haven’t experienced any women-related challenges specifically, but what I have found as a challenge is not having a degree or business qualification behind me in running a business (from accounting to marketing) – I have had to learn as I go.

6. What is the Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?
To get back to where we were pre-COVID-19.

7. Do you have any new projects coming up (or have you just completed a big project ~ reached a milestone, etc.)? If so, please tell us about it.
The events industry has been heavily knocked, so any big projects we had on the horizon have been changed to smaller digital events or simply moved to the unforeseeable future. Currently, our project is focusing on our business goals, client relationships, pivoting in the right direction and minimizing all unnecessary overheads until we come out on the other side. We have a few side hustles in the growth stages as well.

8. What one piece of advice would you give any aspiring female business leaders reading this?
Not to give up and to keep pushing, I think if you have the hustle inside you, you will always find a way to make something work. I have a motto with my team, that I take on more than I can chew and I “chew, chew, chew” – until it’s done. Hustling is what we – as business owners – need to do now.