Zellyco: how a 55-year-old Joburger used Facebook to launch an ecommerce play


With the merger of South Africa’s two online retail behemoths (takealot and Kalahari) and the evolution of some of the most successful local brands — Pick n Pay, Woolworths and Mr Price – to focus on their internet sales and logistics, our country is a veritable hotbed for e-store activity.

From niche players to established brands, backed by corporate Randelas, ecommerce is one of the most exciting spaces and a fantastic horse to back for the course of 2015 and beyond, especially in South Africa as internet penetration surpasses the 50% mark.

Read more: Takealot-Kalahari merger gets the official go-ahead

Zelda Arnott (55) is one such jockey who has taken her passion for fashion and relevant accessories thereof, in conjunction with the simplicity of the social network user experience to launch a brand that has managed to attract 7 000 fans in little more than four months of existence.

“Zellyco.com has a simple, yet effective business model, that is driving revenue and is already profitable,” explains Arnott.

She continues, “We bundle accessories that are on-trend and provide our customers with a complete look that includes items such as handbags, belts, scarves, hats and earrings.”

Until recently, the events manager at Johannesburg advertising agency, Ebony + Ivory and she is the holder of a New South Wales Businesswoman of the Year Award for her resurrection of the ailing hair salon — Colour by Numbers, Arnott is expected to remain at the forefront of the ‘latest look’.

Zellyco leverages its Facebook fan base to introduce a new, unique bundle every weekday and the first person to comment Sold becomes the next e-customer of a brand that is utilising visual networks like Facebook and Instagram to aid its target market with ways in which to #GetTheLook.

This is something that Arnott had taken for granted, but until a recent discussion with colleagues and clients, she hadn’t contemplated using the world’s largest social network as a launchpad to commercialise her ‘look’.

“Our aim is to build a community of fans and followers who share images of their favourite ensembles and effectively become a crowdsourced space of tips, advice, and trends from across the globe – Zellyco is your fashion friend. Fashion should be about collaboration, not intimidation,” she concludes.

For those who still prefer their fashion in analogue format, Zellyco will be hosting its first pop-up shop at Rosebank’s Courtyard Hotel on 9 May. More details here.



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