Q & A with Madeleine Hugo, founder of The Cotton Company

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

I would like to think that I have always been entrepreneurial. Always making things and selling them. Not always successful, but learning along the way. With this business, I did a lot of market research to see if this will work. I was extra prepared with a business plan and knowing what I want to achieve.

2. How did TCC come about and has it changed your life?

It started as a love affair with Turkish weaving while living in Turkey. It is such a pleasure to share this art of weaving with South Africans. I get the opportunity to meet amazing people, travel and work on new collections.

3. What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?

I read a quote early on in my business which I swear by still today, “Don’t compare your beginnings with somebody else’s middle.” Everything is babysteps, but what you put in, is what you get out.

4. What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?

I am surrounded by amazing women in business. I find everyone to open be and generous with their time and knowledge. I feel like I need to pay this forward and I’m always happy to help other small business owners, as I know I too started small.

5. If any, what challenges have you experienced as a woman in your industry?

If there are challenges as a woman, I don’t focus on them. I’m surrounded by strong women that support me in my business and that is what’s important to me.

6. What is Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?

2020 is a year of survival, planning and reinventing. 2021 will be a year of growth and seeking new opportunities. I want to make The Cotton Company the place to go to for Turkish Towels and throws.

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.

I’m lucky enough to work with amazing Interior Designers and Events planners and have clients from big game reserves to large International hotels and Interior shops.

8. What one piece of advice would you give any aspiring female business leaders reading this? 

What I’ve learned from Corona is that you have to keep your overheads low, do not waste money, rather think smart. Take opportunities, don’t be lazy. Close your eyes and do a pitch, even if you’re really scared. This will give you the adrenaline to take the next big step.