South Africa celebrates Women’s Day on Tuesday, 9 August. On this day in 1956, 20 000 women marched on the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest Pass Laws. Women have always been instrumental in South Africa’s democracy and they continue to lead the way in many sectors of industry, including the textile manufacturing sector.
Romatex currently employs around 270 people – 142 of which are women. Our chief executive officer (CEO), Sarah Doyle, has worked at the company for 24 years and has helped to grow Romatex into one of South Africa’s largest producers of stitch-bonded non-woven materials and homeware.
This month, we celebrate the hardworking women that have contributed to our industry and continue to make Romatex a successful textile manufacturing business. Whether it is senior executives, managers, floor staff or assistants, women play a vital role in every aspect of this sector. These ladies strive for excellence in business – leading to a more sustainable and successful textile industry in South Africa.
Sarah Doyle’s journey to CEO of Romatex
Although she has worked at Romatex for over two decades, Sarah has been the CEO for four years. She believes that certain qualities make for a successful business leader. “In this position, you engage with people on all levels and I like to think that I treat everyone as equal and can acknowledge the feelings, opinions and ideas of others,” she explains.
“Teamwork is important to me, so getting everyone on board is key. I am very clear on what is expected of me and I remain focused on achieving those goals. As a CEO, you have a responsibility to achieve results and ensure a sustainable future in business,” Sarah adds.
Her journey to the top of Romatex is a testament to her abilities as a decision-maker. Romatex is a subsidiary of Deneb Investment Limited, and her promotion to CEO was instigated by Deneb. “They really put their trust in me to take the company forward,” she says.
“The industry is traditionally male-dominated, so choosing a woman was definitely going against the norm. The support from Deneb is very strong and the executive team is available at any time to offer guidance,” she adds.
“It is comforting to know that I have the backing of Deneb and their willingness to assist and be a sounding board is valued. In order to keep growing, you need capital investment and Deneb is always willing to invest in projects we believe in. These projects involve millions of rands but they get on board and support us one hundred percent.” states Sarah.
Sarah’s advice to women
As a business leader, Sarah can shed light on certain aspects of being a woman in the workplace. One such advantage, she believes, is her gut feeling when it comes to decision-making; instinct rarely lets her down. Sarah believes in taking inspiration from anyone who achieves success against the odds.
Embrace difficulty and turn it into success through hard work and determination, she says. “I love a challenge. No two days are ever the same and you are continually challenged to problem-solve and strategise on the way forward,” states Sarah. Her business ethos is ‘fail to prepare, be prepared to fail’.
More than half of Romatex employees are women, which is a testament to the contribution of females in the modern workplace and country as a whole. We’re incredibly proud to have so many wonderful team members from around South Africa. For more information on our various products and textiles, please contact us today.
Romatex has been a leading manufacturer and supplier of homeware and textiles for over 50 years. Stitch-bonded non-woven materials now constitute 60% of the business and we can produce two million square metres per month. These materials are made from rPET, which helps to keep 54 million plastic bottles out of landfills each year.
Romatex is a Level 2 B-BBEE company that is owned by Deneb Investments Limited, a subsidiary of Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI), which is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). Our head office is based in Cape Town but we have branches in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Free State.