Women in Agriculture: Interview with serial entrepreneur, Chantelle Mouton of Chana B Farm

Entrepreneur Chantelle Mouton has had many successful business ventures during her career. Her business interests include Chana B Farm, Le Palm Beauty Spa, and a horse racing club called Khomas Turf Club.

Passion for farming

Chantelle's passion for farming began when she was 21 years old. On weekends, she would go to the farm with her parents. Her father was born and raised on a farm and started farming on family land. He later bought his own farm. 

"The first time I encountered bonsmara cattle was at an auction hosted by Dr. Joggie Bredenham, and I was blown away by their quality and condition of the cattles," she says. "It was fascinating to see how much investment they made in these bonsmaras as well as the returns.  On that day, I was inspired. My dad bought a bull and a couple of heifers, and I got to learn how traditional cattle are raised from him." 

Chantelle subsequently attended a course at Agra with Dr. Joggie where she learned everything about the Bonsmara breed. Her love of the breed grew stronger and stronger every day, since they have this special adaptable quality.

"I took take a few more courses on farming in 2019 when I became an active farmer such as farm management, poultry and fodder feed growing workshops," she says. " This is when my farming experience really began. In order to start sheep farming, I used my savings. I started with 46 sheep at the beginning of 2020. My reasoning for going into sheep farming was that I noticed sheep are easy to work with, and they produce faster than cattle. In today's world, people will always need meat."

Farming space

Chantelle farms 1600 hectares with her father. They raise cattle, sheep, and goats. 

"The crops we grow for home consumption include onions, carrots, beets, spinach, tomatoes, and oranges," she shares. "Currently, I am clearing land for plantation on a one-hectare plot, but I have not determined what I will plant since my research is not yet complete. I will sell crops to the market in the future."

Chantelle considers herself mostly a weekend farmer due to her busy schedule. There are three caretakers who oversee the management of the compound's livestock. "Additionally, I have a professional accountant to handle my books," she says. "My preferred investment is in livestock, that is, to buy and sell livestock. My goal is to improve the quality of my livestock by selling the best livestock to the market." 

Le Palm Beauty Spa 

Chantelle started doing her own nails in grade 9. After observing a lady do it, she thought this was something she could do part-time after classes or during school holidays for pocket money.

"For health and safety reasons, I followed Youtube trends and took a course on nails," she says. "From a room in my dad's workshop, I managed to do rather well. After a year, I rented a place in a local salon." 

Chantelle's sister-in-law, who is into nails as well, agreed to help out while she's at school.  

"I realised after school that I had a passion for the beauty industry, so I studied it at school," she explains. "I worked part-time at the salon in the mall while I studied. I used the money I saved from my salary to buy equipment and to start Le Palm Beauty Spa. For me, having my own little space to do my treatments was a dream come true." 

Chantelle has been running Le Palm Beauty Spa for nearly 3 years. She currently employs 3 therapists. 

Please Support Our Work By Donating Through PayPal.

Horse racing life 

Having grown up with a father who loved horse racing, Chantelle became a proponent for sports. She received her first horse from her father in 2020.

"There are still not as many racing horses in Namibia as there are in other countries," she shares. "It is a very male-dominated sport, but women can certainly do this equally well so I don't worry what other people think."

It is only horse owners who can appreciate the sheer joy and thrill of keeping a horse. Chantel says horse racing gives her an adrenaline rush, especially when her horse finishes third or higher. "A depressing day is when you find out your horse is not as fit as you thought he was or has underlying issues. It is also an expensive sport/hobby as we all know."

At present, Chantelle is breeding Nambreds (Namibian Bred) horses, and she is planning to take this to the next level by importing high quality genes and starting an insemination programme.

"I am also in the process of applying for land so youth members can participate in this programme."  

Pros and Cons of Being a Serial Entrepreneur

"My typical week consists of four days at the spa/salon, half a day tending to horses, and two to three days working on the farm," she says. "Every night I call my care-takers to make sure I'm kept informed about the livestock, horses' training and workers. The is mainly because I operate in three towns, with my horses 93km to the south and about 180km from the farm. The main challenge here is that I have to manage some of the operations remotely. Although I can plan all the strategies, I am unable to execute them as I would like." 

Before you decide to run more than one business, Chantelle recommends you be capable of multi-tasking, flexible, and possess the necessary managerial skills. "Working with structure and strategy will help you achieve better results. The main advantages are the diversified income streams, but the downside is the time constraints and exhaustion."

Risk vs Rewards

Chantelle advises people who want to be successful entrepreneurs to think like owners and to persevere until they see results, such as a good return on investment.

The motto I live by is 'Life is Risk VS Rewards'. To think business is to think risk. I have a good friend who always says that patience is the key. I guess the key is where I want to be and where I see myself."

Chantelle's parents are her biggest advocates and cheerleaders. "My parents are always supportive of me because they know who I am," she says. "Whatever I have in mind, my dad will give his sage advice, as raw as it might be. My mother, on the other hand, is always the one to say things gently, and she helps me decide whether or not to follow a particular path. I am ultimately responsible for making all of the decisions that affect me, and my parents are always supportive. I look up to my Dad as a role model and mentor. He is a successful businessman who also runs his own business with passion."

Her belief is that it is important to start her day off on a positive note and to plan her days in advance. Making notes of things I need to accomplish each day and planning how to accomplish them has helped me tremendously. I always make myself a to-do list and tick off items as they are accomplished." 

Please Support Our Work By Donating Through PayPal.

Chantelle says she's learned to face each problem by embracing the negative and finding a solution. 

"Just because your success isn't coming when you want it doesn't mean it won't come at all," she says positively. "Hard work pays off. If you believe in yourself, things will come together in one form or another. As long as you believe there is no such thing as failure, the only thing standing in your way is time. I take every every loss as a lesson preparing me for what is ahead, and this is a constant reminder to stay patient." 

She encourages struggling female agripreneurs to not give up. "If something doesn't work out, you have the opportunity to explore a different way of thinking, acting, or being. This is another way to view growth. We're constantly evolving and growing."

Downtime and Future Plans

Chantel believes that when faced with difficulty, one must prioritise self-care. "Exercise, rest, a healthy diet, sleep, and good hygiene are essential to a happy and healthy life," she explains. "I want to live my life fully and remain connected to what I believe makes me successful and happy.

Chantelle enjoys painting the city red with friends in her free time. "Since I am 50% a city girl, when I have time, I will go out with friends, and I'll try new places or go to my favorite restaurants. 
Sometimes I go to a lodge just to go switch off, relax and reflect on my self-care."

Where does she see herself in the future? I would like to learn more about agriculture and gain more farming experience so I can one day become a successful full-time farmer." 

You can connect with Chantelle on Facebook