Kono Authentic

Given a second chance

Given Monaise, founder and creative

Kono Authentic (leather bag brand)

A creative career change

“She left me empowered.”

Before a trip to Turkey that sparked her love for leather, Given Monaise was stuck in the wrong career.

“There’s something in my gut that cringes when I think of going back to engineering,” she says. “I like to work with my hands.”

Enrolling at Cape Town’s SA Leather Academy allowed her to do just that.

Her mother’s legacy

To realise her creative dreams, Given scaled back her lifestyle expenses and moved back into her childhood home in Alex, where she was raised by her single mother. Her mother supported them through the spaza shop she ran with Given’s help. Given credits this experience for her business acumen.

“I’ve learned so much about persevering and dealing with people.”

If Given’s mother were still here, Given would thank her for that early start in business.

“She was a very strong woman. She passed away when I was young, but she left me empowered.”

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