Twins Tafadzwa and Tatenda Rungisa, who are celebrating their 27th birthday today, are climbing the ladder of success one treat at a time and building a name for themselves as multi-talented businesswomen.
The youngest or four siblings, the twins did just about everything together growing up. They wore matching outfits, had the same friends and were both plagued with severe asthma. Sometimes, their asthma attacks occurred simultaneously.
As they matured, they continued to do life together – choosing similar paths academically and both ended up pursuing careers in human resources.
“Being a twin is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me,” Tafadzwa said. “It’s a full package – having a sister and best friend at the same time.”
As they approached their 20s, the twins decided the matching outfits needed to go.
“We told our mum around 2011 that we did not want her to buy us the same clothes,” Tatenda said. “It did not work. She still bought everything in the same style, but different colours.”
Instead of competing with each other, they have found a sweet spot where they can be united in vision while celebrating their differences.
Tafadzwa, who describes herself as “the lady of the house” and a straight talker, said her sister is more like the baby of the house, fun loving and always in a joking mood.
“We are similar in nearly every [other] way,” she said.
“I’m more calm; Tafadzwa is short-tempered,” Tatenda, who is also a contributor for The Weight She Carries, added. “Taffy is more on the strict side, I’m just a lover of life and love to take risks. We are similar in that we value hard work and prayer. We have the zeal to be better people and empower other younger people. We empower in different ways: Taffy is a speaker; I am a writer.”
While they acknowledge the unique qualities that distinguish them, one thing it clear: they are a package deal.
In 2018, this dynamic duo founded Twin Connect Solutions in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and then decided to turn their passion for baking into a business.
“Baking started off as a passion,” Tafadzwa said. “We would bake from home and share on social media.”
“In March 2019, we made cupcakes for two close people in our lives, and posted on our statuses,” Tatenda added. “Before we knew it, people were ordering them every day and we have not stopped since then.”
The twins settled on the name “Twin Connect Solutions” because their felt it described their bond to the tee.
“We are compliments of each other; we are connected to each other. Even when baking, Taffy has strengths in areas I do not. That is the connection part,” Tatenda said.
The ladies recently shared their entrepreneurial journey with The Weight She Carries and discussed important keys to success as businesswomen in Zimbabwe.
Q: What were some of the challenges starting out?
Tatenda: The cost of supplies is expensive in Zimbabwe. The changes in currency and all the issues surrounding monetary policies have been a blow for us as a startup. It means pricing has to be reviewed almost every two weeks or so.
Managing our day jobs and the business was hectic. It means going home after a full 8-hour workday to start baking. In the beginning it was so difficult and tiring, but now, because the passion keeps growing, it’s now easier and we also can now say no to an order if we are worn out.
Tafadzwa: At times people do not take us seriously because we are young ladies in business. Some people discourage us while others would look down upon us because we are ladies and young in business.
Q: Did you always know you wanted to go into business with each other?
Tatenda: Yes, we have always done a lot of things as a team.
Tafadzwa: It is actually a dream come true.
Q: What kind of baked goods do you sell?
Tatenda: We bake cakes, cupcakes, scones, muffins, pudding,..we are currently in the process of enrolling for pastries.
Tafadzwa: Our flavours include carrot, vanilla, chocolate, mint and red velvet. These come with fresh cream or plastic icing.
Q: What are some of the hurdles, if any, you face as businesswomen?
– Managing housework, day jobs and a business is not easy.
– Lack of support from some people. We are about to turn 27 and some people have made comments that we should be mothers by now, but we pursue what we love most.
– Less knowledge in terms of financial literacy and pricing
Tafadzwa: The greatest challenge of starting out is firstly the capital considering the economic situation in terms of equipment, etc. Then, obviously, criticism from society as a lady is not expected to further her career or passion while they are not yet married. Otherwise they will chase possible suitors.
Q: What are the 3 biggest lessons you have learned about entrepreneurship?
1. Do what you love
2. It’s hard work, one should persevere
3. Do what you do with love, you will get so much in return. Most of our clients are not through the marketing we do, they are referrals from other clients we have dealt with.
1. Failure is not the end. Oprah Winfrey stated that failure is a steppingstone to success, it is just an experience. It will pass!
2. There is need to be disciplined in all aspects of life: financially, socially and spiritually. There is need to have God-confidence in everything you do as a businessperson. Pray for grace and wisdom always.
3. Your network is your networth. The people you interact with will either make you or break you.
Q: What advice do you have for other women thinking about starting a business?
-Do proper research on the industry you want to get into
-Do not procrastinate or wait for a loaded bank account. Start small.
-Pray above all
Tafadzwa: Pray, pray and pray for wisdom, for guidance and for open doors. Also plan well and be well-organized.
To celebrate their birthday, the twins will be indulging in a special treat they made for themselves – a vanilla and chocolate mint cake in their favourite colours: yellow and brown.
Twin Connect Solutions also encompasses women and youth empowerment, and HR consultancy.
To find out more about their services, connect with them on their Facebook Page.
Vimbai E. is a writer, journalist, ghostwriter and the founder of The Weight She Carries. With hundreds of articles publishing online, in print and for broadcast, her love of language and storytelling shines through every piece of writing that bears her name.