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Mandy Rootman

Owner, Maraschino Marketing Collective

Mandy Rootman

Mandy Rootman is the owner of Maraschino Marketing Collective, based in Ballito, KZN. Maraschino offers comprehensive marketing services including the likes of strategic marketing planning, brand development, social media, graphic design, photographic and video services, and website creation among others. “My journey in the realm of marketing, being entrusted with the needs of various businesses, has been one of continuous adaptation and growth,” says Mandy. Maraschino has over the last 29 years, grown its client base across the country, across all industries.

Beyond business, Mandy is a dedicated wife, mother, and ‘glammy’ to four cherished grandchildren.

Achieving within community

“In order to truly achieve, one has to understand and know your environment,” says Mandy. She believes that what they have achieved, has not been achieved alone, but as part of an incredible network of people and individuals. She and her team focus on goals that extend beyond their business to encompass that of clients and communities within their local spheres. Their concerted efforts kindle a spirit of participation for initiatives, events, fundraisers, and more, fostering symbiotic relationships that uplift both business and community alike.

One such initiative was born when the Covid pandemic hit in 2020 where Mandy together with a friend, were facing their own business setbacks. However, armed with a media license, they joined forces with family and friends to create “The Vuvuzela”, where they crafted a website, established social media channels, and collaborated with local businesses in need. They captured 5 to 10-minute video clips showcasing resilience amidst challenges, while also spotlighting charities, food drives, and community initiatives that sought assistance. These clips, shot for free and placed online, totaling around 150 in over 18 months, not only gained traction locally but resonated worldwide, offering invaluable support.

Expanding their efforts, they introduced Ballito TV, featuring live morning shows via their website and YouTube, spotlighting their region, businesses, and community projects. Most of this endeavour was self-funded, bolstered by the support of local business allies who recognised their dedication to their community and beyond.

Amid the KZN riots, they rallied support for those safeguarding their neighbourhoods. Utilising restaurants that couldn’t operate, soup and food stations were set up, necessary resources secured, and sponsorship garnered from their nationwide network. This backing enabled them to extend their aid; providing sustenance to struggling families and organising drives for essential products.

Mandy is very involved in her wider community, and using combined networks, her business assists where needed. “My motivation has always been to live each day to its full potential,” she says.

Taking action

Mandy attributes where she is today, to her unwavering passion, resolute determination and being able to pivot quickly regardless of the situation. “No” is not an option in her vocabulary; she actively seeks solutions instead of dwelling on challenges or their potential negativity. Her approach is to immerse herself in the company of kindred spirits, individuals who mirror her mindset – authentic, action-driven, and true to their word. Mandy says, “I admire those who don’t merely observe but step up to the plate, refusing to be bystanders – these are the people who inspire and motivate me.”

On a personal level, her husband’s strength and drive to survive at all costs, through eight major surgeries over a six -year cancer journey, inspires her daily to be the best version of herself and to use every moment to make a difference and to pass it forward in some way or another.

In the early stages of her business, Mandy found that the main challenge was educating people about the importance of marketing for business growth. The emergence of social media added a new challenge, as businesses initially saw it as a personal tool, not a business asset, leading to a lack of engagement with their target audience. Return on investment (ROI) was often prioritised over branding and exposure. Overcoming these challenges involved effective communication about the significance of marketing, demonstrating tangible ROI results, staying ahead of industry trends, and positioning the business for sustainable growth in the changing marketing landscape.

Another challenge experienced amid the turbulence of Covid was that most businesses curtailed marketing due to financial constraints. Despite financial strains, Maraschino continued refining clients’ marketing strategies without charge. Remarkably, every client re-engaged as full-paying customers once restrictions eased.

Maraschino itself took a hit as the majority of their clients operated in the hospitality and lifestyle sectors. However, since then, they have cultivated a robust client base spanning various industry, securing greater financial stability for the business.

Looking to the future

Mandy is passionate about serving local and national small to medium businesses because when growing them, she essentially grows herself. Her goal is to broaden their client base to have a global footprint while evolving to where the business operates seamlessly without her constant engagement.

The Maraschino team currently boasts six young women, who are making their mark on life and in their chosen careers. Her advice has consistently revolved around embracing one’s authentic self, pursuing passions and aspirations, and not allowing anyone to deter them from turning their passions into profitable ventures.

Mandy actively encourages young women to explore diverse avenues of income beyond their routine work commitments. This empowers them to potentially generate supplementary income from alternative endeavours, ensuring that if one opportunity closes, another is always waiting to be seized.

Relaxing and unwinding

To relax, Mandy loves spending time with her family, grandchildren and friends. She and her husband also grab every opportunity to get away for a long weekend and explore beautiful places.

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