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The art of business

Jul 23 2013 10:30
never grow up

From shock to joy for an artist who started her own face painting business. View gallery

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A life-changing experience involving 250 children a decade ago inspired a Fin24 user to start her own face painting business. Monique Naude shares her story:

Never Grow Up started as a shocking experience during a corporate event 10 years ago, when my employer needed a face painter for 250 kids. Having studied art, I assumed it would be the perfect job for me during the event, and the bonus would be a bit of extra money upon completion of the event.

Arriving early to complete the set-up, I prepared all the new paints and brushes, set up my work station and eagerly awaited the arrival of the children.

At 8:00 I felt like I was witnessing the great migration in Africa, as hordes of children suddenly swamped me. It was an eventful day, my only vivid memory being the countless Spiderman faces I painted.

The rest of the day still remains a blur... I was in shock, yet felt that I discovered something I would enjoy doing.

I officially started Never Grow Up in Port Elizabeth in 2005 and registered the company in 2007.

Fast forward 10 years, and I am sitting on the edge of my chair, contemplating my next step. I have had to work permanently whilst spending nights and weekends focusing on Never Grow Up.

This company I love so much will now be my only source of income, as I have officially been retrenched - no retrenchment package offered.


I'm no trust fund baby, my folks aren't well off, and I'm too scared to apply for a business loan (the only risk I have never been willing to take).

I have taken baby steps for 10 years, pushing money back into Never Grow Up. I have no business degree, I am an artist...

It has been a constant source of happiness for me; sitting at a party or corporate event, knowing that I can bring smiles to kids, makes it more enjoyable than I ever imagined.

Not having a fortune to spend on marketing, I have had to find interesting ways to promote Never Grow Up and the services I offer.

I've done it all from scratching pennies together for flyers and business cards, doing free events, offering specials and giveaways, and marketing on free classifieds to showing albums and photos in meetings with prospective clients and handing out my own flyers in the streets.

I've learnt to make use of websites offering free software for creating websites, flyers, banners and posters. All of this whilst being employed and moving cities twice!

I'm happy to say that I have now trained four ladies who assist me as the need arises. I offered the training for free, they make use of my equipment, and they get paid.

Most of the ladies are in school, and one even considers studying events management upon completing Matric. Another lady has built up her own supply and is operating on her own in Pretoria, booking events and parties.

There are so many stories to tell, but to keep it interesting, I will share some information on companies I have worked with:


Our social responsibility:

Never Grow Up is collecting usable clothes, old home items and food for Pay It Forward, a community-based project assisting people in need.

We also donate 10% of our face painting fees to Specialised Tactical Tracking unit, an NPO  on the frontline against Rhino Poaching. Just a small something we are doing to assist our citizens and our heritage.

Last but not least, I am also sharing with you my crazy July and August special. With the insane fuel increase experienced this month, I'm hoping to give parents and companies a little bit of a discount.

 - Fin24

*Share your experience of setting up a business or simply ask a question. Our business panel can put you on the right path.

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