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When we started working on Zimbowties, one of the things we realised early on was that we wanted to create products that we could export to different countries so we didn’t have to depend on how Zimbabwe’s roller-coaster of an economy was performing. The United States has a population of over 300 million people and on my first trip out here to attend the Watson Institute in Boulder it struck me that out of all those people we could surely find a market for our colourful, handmade bow ties and other accessories!

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The Suitcase of a Travelling Bow Tie Salesman

So towards the end of April, I returned to the States to continue my search to find the best way to market and promote our products out here. But the USA is a humongous country! Where do you even start? Well, I started with the people I’d already met and the Google machine of course. …


3 years ago I left my job as a biomedical design engineer and I haven’t had a salaried job since then. This has been one of the most difficult yet rewarding times of my life. The fact that I have survived has been a combination of hard work, supportive parents, family and friends, living super frugally, luck and generosity from you and all the people I’ve met (and haven’t met) around the world. Here’s how it’s worked out so far…

2016

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Taking Zimbowties to Scotland. Pictured here with Mada, a fellow Beit Trust Scholar at the University of Strathclyde. Pic: University of Strathclyde

When I left my job in 2016, it was to study a Master’s degree in product design in Scotland. I was lucky enough to win a scholarship from the Beit Trust which meant that I didn’t need to worry too much about money for an entire year (as long as I lived the cheap student life). This safety net was a big reason I started working on my business idea, Zimbowties, because for the first year I figured that I could try to work out this business stuff without actually having to worry too much about making money. I put a bit of money that I had saved into buying stuff to get us started and my mother who is the other half of Zimbowties also chipped in from her salary. …


You’re often told that to think creatively you need to “think outside the box”. But why’s that? Well, imagine this box represents the way that you’ve always solved problems.

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And because this is the box that you operate in your solutions are always going to look kinda similar.

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The box that you’ve been thinking in might have worked just fine many times before but one day it doesn’t and you find that you can’t think yourself out of this new problem.

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So when you get stuck in a rut like this people will often tell you that you need to think outside the box… But I’m not so sure that this actually works! …

About

Kim White

Freelancer | Product Designer | Entrepreneur @ zimbowties.com

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