Fransie’s Accidental Business
Fransie du Plessis sits at a table in the meeting room attached to her house in Pretoria. Shelves are full of bottled products – skin care, lifestyle, sun protection, perfumes and baby-care products, all containing the unique ingredient – Rooibos – that makes the Annique range so successful. In the next room, Fransie’s assistant deals with customers and agents coming in and out. The small parking area outside is clogged with cars.
“I started my Annique business in April, 1981, after a friend advised me that these products would help my very dry skin and pigmentation after my final pregnancy. It worked and when I wanted to get more product to give to my friends, I met Annique Theron, the founder of the business. After buying the products, she gave me some cash back. I was confused until she explained that this was my commission on the sales to my friends. Suddenly I realised that I was a distributor and had my own business,” explains Fransie. “It was almost by accident that I started.”
Her network of customers and consultants grew. “I worked very hard and soon had over seventy consultants. At that time, I had a husband and four small children and could not manage all these consultants. So I selected seven of them and made them group managers over nine consultants each; in turn, they recruited their own customers and consultants to build their own businesses.
Now aged 68, Fransie manages the second biggest Annique distributor network in the country, accounting for many millions of rands turnover per year. It’s an incredible story of skill, dedication and passion that is an example to anyone, young or old.
“I love my work,” she says. “The best part is that I can include my family in my business. My husband, Thys, is a huge support to me and my daughter, Jomarie Pohl, who, although a chartered accountant by profession, is also a distributor and helps me train new business owners.”
Fransie and her daughter, Jomarie, are glowing ambassadors for their brand.
Fransie has an astute business brain and combines this with a passion for empowering others. “New markets are opening up and this means that people of all races and in all regions of the country can start selling our products and earning a living. We hold training courses where we teach people about the products and also help them start their own small businesses. Some of them do it part-time and others full-time. I love seeing how people’s lives are changed.”
Fransie loves training women to run their own businesses.
“My life is well-balanced,” she explains. “My business fits in with my lifestyle and my husband and daughter are deeply involved. I can come and go as I please. I have no intention of retiring.”
Not many people will be able to build a business as massive as Fransie’s, but the principle remains clear – an understanding of market needs, the availability of a product range to satisfy these needs combined with passion, dedication and hard work and the result will inevitably be success.
Just ask Fransie. And, who knows? You may become her next distributor.
A warm and loving du Plessis family