Owner and Founder, Dolphin Coast Solar Solutions
Isabeau Du Preez, is the owner and founder of Dolphin Coast Solar Solutions. From humble beginnings in Ballito, Isabeau has recently expanded her business’s reach far north and far south, even extending her influence to Cape Town.
Speaking of her motivation to start the company she says, “I started the company because I like to find solutions. “Obviously we’re all in the same position with load shedding. We all have the same problems and I’m there to help you to find a solution. And for me, it’s not just about putting a system on your roof.” Of note, Isabeau strives to educate her clients and is there to help them achieve their goals.
In addition, Isabeau is inspired to make a difference, not just only in her community, but globally as well. She believes that as solar energy is clean and sustainable, its use can make a massive difference to our planet.
An amazing experience
Isabeau had training in solar installation and worked for a solar company for some time until she decided to go on her own. What sets her journey apart is that she started her company with no support. Isabeau simply decided, “I’m going to do this,” and she added that looking at her progress she has had an amazing experience so far and learnt a lot of lessons.
Starting a business in a competitive male-dominated industry was never going to be easy. However, said Isabeau, she quickly started to build really good relationships and a really good clientele.
In addition, as a mom, Isabeau had to juggle the needs of her family and her work demands, which is never effortless.
Her motivation to succeed was driven by the challenges she faced along the way. Isabeau commented, “My motivation came from a different background. It wasn’t an education. It wasn’t anything like that. It was actually because so many times I was told that you can’t do this, it’s impossible. Or I was told you don’t belong in something like this. I was broken down at a stage.”
The right solution
However, Isabeau continued along her journey and achieved great results. She said that she thought the biggest challenge for her was getting her name out there and winning the trust of people. Much of this process entailed, “Making sure that they know that I’m not here to just sell them something that they don’t need,” explained Isabeau.
The field of solar technology is complex, and Isabeau’s approach involves educating her clients about products, their warranties, and the importance of choosing the right solution – which may not be the cheapest. It’s about offering comprehensive, sustainable energy solutions and guiding her clients to make an informed choice.
“Research, ask questions and educate. That’s what I do,” said Isabeau.
The glass ceiling
Isabeau’s journey is not just about overcoming challenges; it’s about breaking through the glass ceiling and inspiring others to do the same. She added, “I literally see the business as my baby, and I have grown with my business. I’ve built connections with my clients and it’s a very rewarding job to have.”
Isabeau believes that in the world of business, one will always be faced with difficulties and setbacks. “There’s not always a book that tells you the solution to the problem. It’s just for you to figure it out, and then again move forward,” she explained.
To overcome some of the mental challenges, Isabeau uses running to destress and refocus.
A noteworthy achievement for Isabeau is that Dolphin Coast Solar Solutions has recently been voted as Best of Ballito in solar installations. This was in less than a year of operating, as a startup company and a female owner. However, Isabeau’s accomplishments extend beyond the business. She has built invaluable relationships and connections with her clients, which go beyond a typical business-customer relationship. Many of her clients still call her for a catch up, which she really enjoys.
Isabeau added, “We talk about my background and my story and where I come from.” These interactions she explains have developed into a motivational story and Isabeau has been invited to give motivational talks as a consequence. Isabeau thinks that every single day is an achievement because she says, “you’re moving forward.”
A dynamic journey
Isabeau’s vision for the future is as dynamic as her journey has been so far. She aspires to expand her business further, setting her sights on Cape Town, where demand for her services has already started to take root.
Her ambitions aren’t confined to business alone; she also wants to uplift and empower more women in the industry. In advising other women, she says that through her story she would like them to know that there’s no limit to what they can do. She explains, “I have achieved what I was told was not possible and yet here I am. My advice for women following in my path would be to have confidence; build yourself up, get a good network, and a good support system including family, friends, and peers.”
She added, “Obviously we will always be faced with difficulties. You have to have the confidence and you have to build resilience just to bounce back when there’s failures. You cannot avoid them, but it’s how you handle them. Also just have fun and enjoy what you do. It’s your passion and you can do it.”
Being part of KZN Top Business Women is really an amazing experience, said Isabeau, and means a lot to her. She added, “When I made the decision that I’m going to start my own company, when I decided to take that leap of faith, it was worth it.” Isabeau concluded that she is now ‘picking the fruits’ and that she is very blessed.