Member Profile – Isabelle de Grandpre


isabelle_de_grandpreWhat is the name of your business and what is your role? NEAT FREAK and I am the founder and Head Chiquita (a.k.a. CEO)

Describe your business in two sentences. Neat Freak’s onsite consultations and assisted sessions help individuals and small business’ set up systems and get organised. Our online shop sells products that help you to get and stay organised. As we ship throughout SA, we’re basically helping 1000s we cannot reach to live simpler.

How long have you been in business? 5 years

How did you get into this business? By default really. I was tidying up my own bedroom and realised that I did this very quickly and that there is a knack to it. If it was easy for me, perhaps I could sell my services to people that didn’t find it so easy. The product offering was an add-on when I realised that there is a gap in the market for a consistent supply of functional products.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it? Balancing my familial obligations and my business is my biggest challenge to date. I don’t think I have quite overcome that yet, in fact, I think this is a challenge that many face. However I will say that if you try to focus on the priority for a specific day, it does alleviate the pull from one thing to another.

What single trait/skill could you not have succeeded without? My flair for marketing and branding has helped me so much in my business.

What is the best business advice you’ve received? Slow down. My mind races constantly. I am one of those people who believes in the saying “So many ideas so little time”. This has been a terrible distraction sometimes. My husband constantly telling me to slow down has been the best advice (when I finally listened).

Your secret to business success is? Vision and tenacity. Need I say more? In my opinion, most small business success stories begin and end with these two.

What is your business goal for 2014? I was recently awarded the sole distributorship for JOKARI in South Africa. This is the beginning of Neat Freak’s importing adventure and that will be my focus in 2014.

Tell us one thing that not many people know about you? Although I am the Neat Freak and one might therefore expect perfection, I am a very casual person who grew up barefoot on a sugar farm. I am a tomboy of note and if you see me in a frock, consider yourself lucky!