For our interview series “We made it!”, we share our clients’ success stories in South Africa. This month we would like to introduce you to Laurence “Lolo” Armand the founder and CEO of the MOLO LOLO GROUP. Lolo relocated from France to South Africa and started Molo Lolo which is a hospitality brand that makes a difference. It assures that guests have a unique travelling experience while respecting mankind and cultures. IBN had the pleasure to find out more about Lolo´s relocation, business and life in South Africa.
IBN: What made you decide to relocate and why did you choose South Africa?
Lolo: I always wanted to start an experience abroad, to live somewhere new. I first came to Cape Town, through an organisation, to learn english. At the end of my program, I decided to stay because for me, South Africa, is different from Europe but at the same time pretty similar.
For me, Cape Town is the most beautiful city in the world with a lot to offer: beach, mountain, the weather and the people, a real mix of culture and everyone is so welcoming and open-minded.
IBN: How long have you already lived in South Africa?
Lolo: I have lived in South African since 2012, it has been 6 years.
IBN: What do you do in South Africa?
Lolo: I created and now develop a business in hospitality and tourism industry.
IBN: What makes your business idea special/what sets you apart?
Lolo: Molo Lolo is a hospitality brand that makes a difference. It assures that our guests have a unique travelling experience while respecting mankind and cultures. When coming to Molo Lolo, we do our best to make them feel at home. Also really important, Molo Lolo is contributing to the evolution of tourism towards more responsibility (Fair Trade Tourism) and sustainability. All our properties are perfectly representing the surroundings of their location and appointed using only local businesses. The key of Molo Lolo concept is the uniqueness, the attention to details, elegant and refined interior but especially a complete immersion with the local surroundings and culture, starting with our local staff members who are regularly trained to improve their skills and competences.
IBN: What would you say are the advantages/disadvantages living in South Africa?
Lolo: A real advantage for me to live in South Africa is the time zone. It is the same time zone as my home country, France, which make things really easier to communicate and to travel. Also, since the seasons are different, I can enjoy summer all year long! On the other hand, I do not see any disadvantages of living in South Africa
IBN: What was your experience in relocating to South Africa?
Lolo: It was really easy for me to start a business, here, in South Africa. It is just more complicated to keep and develop it when you do not have the permanent residence. A hard part for me in setting up my business is banks, unfortunately we cannot consider them as business partner. It is really hard to find someone who will be helpful in every aspect of my business. My main issue, to set up my business, is banking system.
IBN: How is your life in South Africa different from your home country and what do you like most about South Africa?
Lolo: For me, in South Africa, everything seems possible! There is a good vibe here, that motivates you to do better, a feeling that I could no longer go back home. I like it how everyone is respectful of each other, that you are free to be who you want to be and no one will be judging you.
IBN: What do you dislike about South Africa?
Lolo: Nothing, I really cannot find something I dislike about South Africa.
IBN: What do you miss most from home?
Lolo: I do miss French baguette a lot!
IBN: What advice would you give people thinking about moving and/or setting up a business in South Africa?
Lolo: The main advice I could say is do it, do not be scared, do not let the fear or anything else take over because you can do it and it will be a wonderful adventure!
IBN: What are your plans for the future?
Lolo: In the future, I would like to keep developing my business and create more employment.
IBN: How was the IBN Team able to assist you in reaching your goals?
Lolo: The IBN team helped me first of all, to obtain my business permit which was really helpful. They helped me through the whole process, creating my case and fill out the forms. Overall, IBN Team helped me with the trust and belief they had in me.
IBN: Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. We wish you all the best in all your future endeavors!!!
by Stephanie Duscher