We spotlight Jackie Gagiano, the founder of Red Spot Marketing, as our #womanfluencer.

Welcome to our series highlighting the remarkable women entrepreneurs of South Africa. Throughout this series, we will showcase the journeys of inspiring women who have built their own businesses, created new brands, and shattered glass ceilings in their industries.

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These women embody the spirit of innovation and determination and their stories will offer insights into the challenges they faced, the lessons they learned, and the strategies they employed to succeed.

Join us as we celebrate the achievements of these visionary women and explore the vibrant landscape of women-led businesses in South Africa.

Jackie is an inspirational entrepreneur who has been through some of the toughest times imaginable.

In 2007, she experienced a family tragedy when a car accident resulted in the loss of her husband, son (10) and daughter (6). This devastating event is known as a family annihilation. As the sole survivor of her family of four, Jackie was not involved in the accident.

Found Hope despite Trauma and Tragedy

Despite the many obstacles she has faced, she has managed to build a successful business, help others in need and raise a young son (now 6).

Jackie opened up about the challenges of being an entrepreneur and a mother and shared some valuable insights into how she manages to stay motivated and balanced in the face of adversity.

“In life, we all face challenges and setbacks, but what matters most is how we choose to respond to them. I have learned this firsthand through my own personal tragedy. On August 17, 2007, I lost everything – my whole family was taken from me in an accident. Despite this unimaginable loss, I have come to realise that anything that is broken or lost can be transformed into hope if we have the courage to try.”

Jackie says she still cries daily and it’s been an ongoing battle to keep going. “Especially as a mother who had to bury two children and a husband. But even in the darkest moments, I have found strength and hope. I am blessed to have been given a beautiful little boy ten years later but the challenges never go away. Being a mom who has had to bury a child is a battle that is hard for others to understand, but I have compassion for anyone facing their own struggles.”

She believes women need to be treasured and carried by each other. “We need to support each other with kindness and empathy. We should never judge others for their experiences or reactions to adversity. I still cry daily and know that my life will never be the same, but I am now able to help others who face similar difficulties. I had no guarantee that I would see my children in heaven if I were to do anything o myself. That being said, I would never judge another person for the way they handle tragedy. Every obstacle we face can be transformed into an opportunity for growth and hope. We just need to keep moving forward and support each other along the way.”

Battling Covid and Load Shedding

When starting her business in 2019, she had to face another battle: Covid. “One of the biggest headaches I have had was battling through Covid, staying positive. While other people were drinking eggs – with Instagram challenges – and baking, I was taking on new challenges and went haywire with my career. I helped people and businesses that were about to close their doors. They are still on board with me. Those were people who have had to let their employees go, got new business properties that wasn’t so expensive. That was quite difficult to handle and to see people struggling.” Once Covid was over, load shedding hit.

Managing a household and a young son is no easy task but Jackie has managed to strike a balance between work and family. “Being an entrepreneur and a mother takes a lot of planning and discipline,” she says. “To discipline myself to say I am not going forward with any adverts or marketing, from 19:00 – that is my little boy’s time. That is his time. I have to discipline myself, I have to read Bible to him, bath him, feed him.”

Self-care – Physically and Mentally

Jackie emphasises the importance of self-care, both physically and mentally. “Healthy work-life balance is very difficult to accomplish,” she says. “If you have so many balls you need to keep up in the air, you need to be strict with yourself. You need a routine. If you don’t have time to cook, plan your meals and get them delivered. Get out in the sun, walk in the field. Switch off your electronic devices, for at least a Saturday if you can, once a week.”

In addition to taking care of herself and her family, Jackie also believes in the power of compassion and community. “I believe women should inspire and uplift one another,” she says. “Have compassion for others and improve other people’s lives.”

Despite the many challenges she has faced, Jackie remains optimistic and determined. “When I have a headache, I splash my face with water and carry on,” she says. “Never give up. My story is a story of triumph. And I will never give up.”

If you want to contact Jackie, you can follow her on Facebook here, visit her website here or email info@redspotmarketing.co.za.