Presented by Xero

Meet the mind behind Cape Town’s booming slow fashion brand

 ·10 Nov 2023

When South African entrepreneur Adrian Heneke founded fashion boutique BillyNOW, it was all about bringing back the quality fashion of the 60’s and 70’s that he grew up around – intentionally crafted from button and thread to fabric and fit.

With over 28 years in the clothing business behind him, Heneke is a recognisable figure in the South African fashion world.

Uniquely South African fashion

Excited by the creative emergence of fashion and design, Heneke believes that South Africa has its own, unique style.

BillyNOW’s business philosophy has always been centred on ‘the new vintage’: slow fashion that focuses on style, quality and detail, where every part of the process has been touched by hand.

“The accounting part of business is not where my strength lies but I’m acutely aware that it is an important part of business that helps turn my passion into profit.”

“We reached a stage where the business boomed within about six to eight months, we were extremely busy and just could not keep up. I knew we needed to invest in technology to help us.”

“Training myself on Xero has streamlined a lot of the accounting and financial management and freed me up to run the business,” says Heneke.

Ease of use and peace of mind

“The clothing industry is like a blockbuster action movie, there are lots of crazy moving parts to navigate. With Xero, my team and I can maximise our productivity, it just makes things easier.”

“I can invoice on the go, check my cash flow and see a snapshot of where we are as a business. It means I have plenty of time to focus my energy on the business of creating beautiful clothing,” adds Heneke.

“We also have great accounting partners that we work with who understand the challenges of working with creatives. Using Xero has improved our communication and understanding of each other, and everything is much more streamlined at month end.”

Embracing technology

Xero’s research shows that like Heneke, many South African small business owners feel that prioritising technology has helped to grow their businesses, with 39% reporting technology has made a significant positive impact on their business profits.

In fact, 56% of small business owners have increased their investment in tech over the last 12 months, and 40% are planning to build on their investment in the coming year.

It’s not easy to be a small business in South Africa right now, but the passion and tenacity of entrepreneurs like Adrian Heneke is driving optimism and inspiring other businesses.

His advice for other small businesses is: “Keep on pushing, it’s going to get hard at times, but remember if you weren’t doing this you’d be working on someone else’s dream so don’t give up, enjoy the journey.”

This article is part of Xero’s series celebrating the self-made stories of small business owners in South Africa and offering advice for those looking to grow their business.

To read more stories like this, visit Xero’s website.

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