Shades and Layers host, Kutloano Skosana is a creative entrepreneur from South Africa. She is the Founder and Host of Shades and Layers, a podcast dedicated to the stories of black women entrepreneurs across the globe. “I’ve always felt that black women are underrepresented in everything (there’s plenty of data available to support this niggling feeling) and I’ve always wanted to hear the stories of people who look like me. Since the inception of my long-ago radio and television career, it’s been my passion to tell our stories and amplify our voices,” says Kutloano.

Straight out of university, Kutloano partnered with two friends (Maria McCloy and Dzino) and set out to capture the creative energy of post-apartheid South Africa through their multimedia company, Black Rage Productions. This started out as an online magazine, which evolved into a television production house and eventually a record label. This paved the way for Kutloano’s ever-evolving multifaceted career that has played out in different private and public sector entities in South African and Europe.

Shades and Layers began while Kutloano was living in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was imagined as a love letter to all the black women who were doing amazing things with their careers in the Nordics, and yet didn’t seem to exist in public life. The podcast has evolved into a global storytelling platform where black and other women of color can find examples of what is possible in entrepreneurship. It is a platform for exploring issues and challenges around business ownership, representation, and holistic discussions about the meaning of sustainability in an increasingly complex global context. Conversations are wide- ranging and serve not only as a Masterclass in Entrepreneurship but also provide wisdom and tools for Successful Living.

“I do not believe that the Silicon Valley version of entrepreneurship is the only model we should look to, to define or measure entrepreneurial success. My mother, her sisters, my cousins and many other black women around me have taken children to school by sewing clothes, selling Tupperware, selling fruit and vegetables at the market, running laundry services etc. These women have lifted their families out of poverty and changed lives through these seemingly small actions and activities. I believe that the definition of success is individual, personal and dependent on circumstance and context, therefore our approach to celebrating entrepreneurial success should be much broader and way more inclusive,” she says.

Kutloano is currently based in the Pacific Northwest where she lives with her family of four. When she’s not doing yoga, running or hosting friends for a meal, she can be found chasing soccer balls or doing craft projects with her children. She also enjoys a good novel, attending live concerts and going to the  movies with her husband.


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Fabulous mix between personal stories and entrepreneurial ventures

I discovered this podcast gem recently and I was immediately hooked. Host Thuli Skosana Ricci tells the story of each woman while weaving it with her business model and ideas, making each episode unique and full of (lighthearted) wisdom. It’s both inspirational and educational and creates a path into the less trodden l...

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