Mentoring: Xoli Madlala

The journey to discovering your call comes in different ways. For Xoli Madlala the call was a nagging voice in her spirit that drove her to her destiny.  Supported by prayer, passion and studies, Xoli together with her friend Sannah Morebudu took the plunge and started Epitome Image and Lifestyle Management. In this interview, Xoli talks to us about the hard work and dedication that is involved in running a successful company. She also offers advice for budding entrepreneurs, fashion advice and more!

Inside Woman: How did you get to know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour?

Xoli Madlala: I was raised up knowing about the Lord but I lost my way through life until into adulthood I found my way back to Him. This stands out as the best moment and decision of my life.

Inside Woman:  What role does your faith play in your life as a business woman? 

Xoli Madlala: My faith plays a huge role because I take decisions based on it. Knowing that I can not compromise who I am in Christ and my values based on business opportunities and profit margins. 

Inside Woman:  What did you do before your started Epitome Image and Lifestyle Management?

Xoli Madlala: Before starting the business, I did a number of different jobs from the retail industry to the hospitality industry.

Inside Woman: How did you know that the time was right to launch your own business?

Xoli Madlala: It was a combination of different things. Each day I realised that I was procrastinating and wasting opportunity in fulfilling my passion. The voice kept growing louder and cheering me on and I had the spirit of discernment that confirmed that this was it. All those things contributed into making this dream into becoming a reality.

Inside Woman: What are the ways that your background and experience has helped to prepare you in running your own business?

Xoli Madlala: My background and experience has taught me so much and has come in very hand. I have learnt to be reliable, to keep my word, to deliver more than what is expected, to be professional at all times, to be efficient while exercising integrity and honesty; and staying focus and resilient in all of this. More importantly, I have learnt to be respectful and humble.

[adsenseyu1]Inside Woman: Can you talk us through the process from first having the idea for Destiny to actually realising the dreaming and any challenges that you faced along the way?

Xoli Madlala: Once the idea struck, I went all out to learn about the industry both online and interviewing people in the industry. I also shadowed with an established Image Consultant on my spare time to get the real feel of the industry. Once I realised that this is what I really wanted to do, I then researched institutions that offered training for the qualification. During that time, I discovered that my friend was interested in the same career path. We decided that it would be better to join forces and work together. We took time to pray over that decision because we have always been aware of the stories about friends and business. We had peace about this journey and we went and got our qualification. We then used our personal savings to start-up and we sacrificed certain luxuries. Honestly, we didn’t experience sleepless nights or hurdles because we paced ourselves accordingly and we knew what the start-up phase entails. Having someone to share the fears with also lessened them a bit. Our faith also played and still plays a huge role. We pray over the big and the small decisions we make.

Inside Woman: What services do you offer at Epitome Image and Lifestyle Management?

Xoli Madlala: Our services are three-way, the individual client (Body Shape Analysis, Colour Analysis, Wardrobe Organizing and/or Capsuling, Personal Shopping, Etiquette and Personal Grooming), the corporate client (Professional Etiquette and Image), styling for TV shows, book-launches, etc and we host image-related events (high teas to fitness and health). This is just an overview of the services some are tailor-made as per client's specification.

Mentoring: Xoli Madlala

Inside Woman: What sets you apart from other businesses?

Xoli Madlala: Our USPs are that our approach is Total Body, Mind and Soul, secondly, we do not change who you are but we help you to reach your fullest potential by helping you be the best 'you' and lastly, we believe looking good is not about breaking the bank but it's about knowing and understanding your body, knowing where and how to shop. And importantly, we impart information not force it to the client so that the transformation is comfortable, feels like second nature and that they enjoy the journey.

Inside Woman: How did you fund your business?

Xoli Madlala: We self-funded everything. We went as far as even battering our services for some of the services that we would need, which also helped a lot.

Inside Woman: What education, schooling, or skills are needed to do this?

Xoli Madlala: Image Consulting courses are offered by a number of institutions in the country. It's a matter of researching and finding the best one for yourself. We went to two different ones so that we could merge skills learned from them.

Inside Woman: How do you generate business and expand your reach?

Xoli Madlala: Through social media, word of mouth, collaborating with industry partners to extend our reach, hosting events and once in a while, print media.

Inside Woman: Do you have a mentor (s) and what role do they play in your life?

Xoli Madlala: I do not have a mentor but I do read up a lot on people that I admire, whether they are in the industry or not.

Inside Woman: What’s the one thing you wish you’d known when you started?

Xoli Madlala: That some people will feed you 'hopeium'. They will make promises, give you hope, talk the talk but not come through and deliver. It has been a valuable lesson.

Inside Woman: Do you ever think of giving it all up?

Xoli Madlala: Nope, not at all! Instead it's all about growth.

Inside Woman:  Why do you think having the right image is so important?

Xoli Madlala: The right image helps to set one apart from their peers, be it at the work environment for career growth and opportunities. Socially, one gets afforded better opportunites. Individually, when one loves themselves from the inside out, it shows and the rewards are great.


Inside Woman: What kind of woman hires an image consultant?

Xoli Madlala: A person who has come into new career opportunities or a graduate who is new to the job market. Or a person whose role in life has changed, say their social standing in life or a person who needs change because we evolve as human beings.

Inside woman: When it comes to redefining a client’s image, what are the factors you focus on?

Xoli Madlala: The focus is on a number of things. We need to understand the client to be able to fully deliver. From who they are, their goals and ambitions, social lifestyle, budget, what inspires them, their areas of concern and so on. Once we undertand those things, it becomes better to redefine the image. Because we are not cloning the client but we are delivering what is best suited to them.

Inside Woman: What's the most common mistake that women make with their wardrobes?

Xoli Madlala: Dressing for other people. Not understanding their bodies or religiously following trends that do not do them any justice. Sometimes women do not understand the appropriateness of an outfit to an event e.g. a 'freakum' dress to church/funeral.

Inside Woman: What can a woman, who is interested in enhancing her image, expect in a consultation with you?

Xoli Madlala: A professional yet friendly approach, respect of opinion and being treated as a treasured goddess that will get her value for money. And of cause positive results that they won't have to shout about but that will speak for themselves.

Inside Woman: Is it possible to dress well without breaking the bank?  What are some tips?

Xoli Madlala: Yes! Yes! Yes! That is what makes us do what we do. We honestly believe that with whatever budget, everyone can afford to look good. It all boils down to two things, firstly, when shopping at low-end shops, look out for good finishings and little details. Secondly, wait for end-of-season sales, closing down sales or shop at retail outlets. Hosting clothes swop parties with friends doesn't hurt either.

Inside Woman: What’s an item of clothing that you would love to ban from every woman’s wardrobe?

Mentoring: Xoli Madlala

Xoli Madlala: Leggings worn as pants! It has nothing to do with the body shape or size.

Inside Woman:  If someone was planning to set up their own business right now, what advice would you give them to help them on their way to success?

Xoli Madlala: Know and understand why you are going into business and specifically that chosen industry. Get a qualification and get registered with industry associations, it helps to build credibility. Success is not overnight and is not only measured and linked to profits. Love what you do and have fun, that's what would help keep you going in the not-so good times. Surround yourself with people that will help you along the way. Set small achievable goals and keep re-evaluating your progress.  Pray about the big and the small.

Inside Woman: What is your vision for your business?

Xoli Madlala: To be known as the company that walks the talk, a company that has helped people transform their lives through understanding the importance of positive personal branding.

Inside Woman: How do we get in touch with you?

Xoli Madlala: Via e-mail - or

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