Wednesday, 25 March 2015 10:54

Sandy's secrets to success

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Sandy Ngema Ehrenreich at her 2014 Leading Ladies event Sandy Ngema Ehrenreich at her 2014 Leading Ladies event Picture supplied by CR Brand Solutions

"I didn't always know what I wanted to do but I knew the kind of woman I wanted to be," said fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg and her words resonate with women around the world.

One of these women is Sandy Ngema Ehrenreich, whose beautiful big smile many TV viewers remember from her days on SABC as a presenter and as the host of several seasons of Strictly Come Dancing.

One of the wonders of reinventing yourself is that you can change course completely in your life, go into another field and become a major success at whatever you do, because you already have the courage, drive and determination that it takes to get to the top

In 2006 Sandy decided to enter the corporate world and leave the razzle dazzle of showbiz behind her completely. She is now a partner in CR Brand Solutions, which is is the complete innovative brand solution company at the forefront of local manufacturing and sourcing unique corporate clothing, luggage and gift ranges to top South African companies.

The slogan of the company is "The Brand Behind Your Brand", and to that end CR Brand Solutions has in-house stores on the premises of their clients which provide employees with branded clothing and other items, as well as providing them with gift options.

The product range includes branded bags, bespoke ranges, clothing, gifts, headwear and writing instruments.

Their offices near Fordsburg comprise two buildings, including a place to manufacture fabric, a branding section to do embroidery, embossing, silk screening, transfers and printing,  and warehousing as well as research and development and an HR section.

The company hires over 200 employees and is one of the last companies in South Africa to manufacture bags.

Naturally Sandy's name has opened doors over the years,  but she has had no desire to trade on it; instead she has been driven by the urge to prove herself.

With major corporate clients like Citroen, Hollard, Nissan, MTN, Nedbank, Peugeot, SAB, Clover, Capitec and Edcon on the books, a typical day in Sandy's life is all about delivering in full and on time.

If her sales team needs her she will pitch to the client, do a proposal and go in fully prepared.

Sandy is used to operating as a team and her experience in television meant she had to liaise with a producer, a cameraman and an array of other people behind the scenes.

"There is a lot riding on you, you cannot afford to fall flat," she says.

Today she works together with her partners Shaun and Costa who began the company 20 years ago and fondly refers to the three of them as "The Three Musketeers".

As a director for marketing it is not just about the bottom line. Building relationships and nurturing a better understanding of clients means going above and beyond the call of duty.

'It is about us saying 'thank you' for the relationship, so we do fun things with clients. For example, our Leading Women's event in August pays homage to the ladies.

"On one occasion we took them to Kloofzicht Lodge. One group did flyfishing and the other group received spa treatments - then they swopped.

"We are always looking for synergies, what we do is part of corporate life."

Sandy does not court the media and prefers to leave her celebrity persona behind.

The joy of reinvention is seeing yourself in a different light and inviting others to do likewise, thereby changing their mindset about you.

"It is a wonderful surprise for people to see me in a different light," Sandy says.

A full and balanced life means happiness at home as well as in the workplace and Sandy's success is palpable,  as she has a partner who supports her in everything.

"Married life is wonderful. and my husband treats me like a queen. The girls are all grown up, my eldest is 23 this year and studying opera at UCT, while my laatlammetjie Troy fills me with joy every time he laughs.

"Zee, who is 18 years old, just matriculated and is on her way to the US to work at summer camp in Connecticut and study at either San Francisco or Cal State University which commences directly after her summer camp job in June.

"Peter's girls live in Denmark and visit us often.

"It is vital to have people in your life who add value. One of life's lessons is that it is too short to have any regrets. Life is beautiful and should never be taken for granted.

"As I grow older I am wiser to what is real and to what doesn't really matter."






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