Imagine starting out making clothes for yourself and then moving on to make a business out of it due to popular demand. That’s the story behind Barbara McKenzie, a clothing brand, styling service and consulting service based in Joburg. Barbar McKenzie is run by Kendibone Sapepa, a fashion enthusiast who wants to provide customers with classic fashion-forward clothing. You may have read some of her writing right here on SLA where Kendi schools us on different careers in fashion.
Read on to find out how Kendibone Sapepa, a Marketing Management graduate is growing her brand and what she has to say about New Year resolutions for businesses.
Tell us about your journey to starting Barbara McKenzie clothing.
Barbara McKenzie started off with me making garments for myself. When people took an interest in what I was making, I decided to create a business out of it.
You established Barbara McKenzie in 2013, how has your brand grown? Has it exceeded your exceptions?
It has grown to become what I had wanted from its inception and much more! From just making clothes at home for fun, I’ve dressed admirable women and it continues to grow.Kendibone Sapepa: Barbara McKenzie's target market is women who emanate elegance & femininity Click To Tweet
You have a degree in Marketing Management, do you use what you’ve learned in university in running Barbara McKenzie? If so, how?
Every single day. Brands need to be marketed, other wise, how would people know that Barbara McKenzie exists?
Activities vary between advertising, collaborations, to anything you can think of, as well as the strategic side of it which the public sometimes does not see.
10% of your profits go towards helping a girl-child, can you tell us more about this initiative?
It is a new initiative that I’ve just started. I often come across many stories about how girls cannot go to school and I’ve decided to do something about it. 10% of Barbara McKenzie profits will go to an organisation that helps young girls in need, or directly to these young girls.
This of course does not exclude those who cannot afford school fees, and with FeesMustFall —we will help where we can. I wanted my brand to be a brand with purpose, so if people are buying clothes to look good, let them also feel good as well by knowing that when they buy from Barbara McKenzie, a young child is helped as well.
Tell us about your consulting service, it sounds quite unique to bring clients on to be part of the design process. How did you come up with this idea? Have there been any particular difficulties implementing it?
It is not really unique, as many designers offer this service to all clients. It was not really a matter of coming up with it, but rather clients who wanted a specific looking garments.
Difficulties vary, from clients wanting garments that do not compliment my brand, to changing their designs half-way through production, but at the end of the day customers’ happiness matters most.
What/who would you say captures the Barbara McKenzie style?
The brand’s target market is women of all ages who are feminine and prefer classic style with a modern element in their clothing.
Women who emanate effortless elegance and femininity.Kendibone Sapepa went on a mini-mission to find out more fashion-related careers Click To Tweet
From your articles on SLA, you seem passionate about different careers in fashion, how did this come about?
A couple of months ago, a young lady in grade 10 came to me to somewhat “job-shadow” me as her school does on an annual basis. When we spoke I learned that her parents, like most, wanted her to follow a career in science. They thought a career in science ensures a comfortable and secure life, but as one can see today, this is not how it goes.
I’ve seen many a picture of people with degrees, standing at robots asking for jobs. So I went on a mini-mission to find out more about these fashion related careers to better inform these young people about what they entail. I mean with employment in RSA at its worst, why not follow what you like anyway, and also encourage entrepreneurship?
What will be your New Year resolutions for Barbara McKenzie?
I’m not sure if a entity can have New Year Resolutions, but I personally don’t. One need not wait till January of each year to start doing something, one just starts. Why wait for the next year to start doing something, when you can do it sooner?@Kendibone_S - One need not wait till January of each year to start doing something Click To Tweet
I’ve started the help-a-girl-child initiative at the end of this year, I don’t think waiting until the beginning of 2017 would be any better, just so I can say that I have a “New Year Resolution”.
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