Diana Mano is a Digital Marketer for a direct marketing company, a blogger, a BA Communication Science graduate and a mother of two boys.
Diana, known by most as Diana Washe, is the founder and creative designer of Shaina an African inspired accessory designing business based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her products are handmade and fuse African fabrics with different textures to create unique handmade pieces.
She named herself Washe a name which comes from her faith in the Lord meaning “of the Lord”.
Tell us a bit about Shaina.
Shaina started in 2014 when I was diagnosed with depression. I was in a dark place having lost someone very close to me. I started seeing a therapist and one of the things that she encouraged me to do was to look for a hobby in an effort to help me with the depression. So I went to YouTube and found a video on how to make crafts using the fabric. The first thing I did was cover my shoe with African fabric, posted it on my social media page and the next thing I was getting orders. I wasn’t keen on making this an income generating hobby but my therapist advised me otherwise.
So I started with a few orders and boom, Shaina was born. I started with small things like accessories because if you can’t wear fabric, you can at least accessorize. With each year I get better at the craft. Shaina basically means shine. I named it Shaina because I don’t believe that people should just sit and wait for things to happen, they should flourish where they are planted. Shaina is an extension of my personal life, I am a lover of accessories.
How would you describe your designs?
I make contemporary African accessories which is a fusion of other fabrics and African print. I have in cooperated a combination of leather and African print into my line. Basically my brand is an affordable luxury brand.
What inspires your designs?
The different people I meet in African print either on the streets of Johannesburg, Harare or in magazines. If I see something I like, I am always thinking of ways to make it better. I love fashion and prints, I find them very vibrant but I also feel like a lot of people do not really appreciate print.If I see something I like, I am always thinking of ways to make it better - Diana Washe Click To Tweet
Tell us a bit about Soweto Fashion week?
Soweto Fashion Week (SFW) is a platform for upcoming fashion designers to show the world what they are made of. For me it was nerve-racking, exciting and a great eye opening experience. It was my first time showcasing at a fashion show but I feel I executed my work very well. It was a good place for me to be because of the media coverage, exposure and meeting new people.
How has your educational background helped you in managing your business?
So firstly, my work background as a Digital Marketer assists me in running my own pages as it includes a lot of social media, email marketing, web-page optimising. So because I do what I like, my work and lifestyle are interlinked.
What are the challenges of running your own company?
Time. One just never has enough time. I wear many hats, student, mom, blogger, digital marketer and my personal life, therefore, there is not enough time.
Tell me a bit about your blog.
My blog is called Parenting in Heels and it is a lifestyle parenting blog started in April 2017. A lot of people ask me how I manage to do what I do so I decided to share my everyday life and how I make it work.
What is your advice to those aspiring to enter the fashion industry?
Have a passion for it, determination, work hard and stay focused.
What were the major start up challenges you faced?
Trying to move Shaina from being a hobby to it being a business.
Where would you like to see your brand in future?
I am looking at expanding my brand into African Inspired interior design and a kids clothing line. I want to have a concept shop and also work with other designers. I would also like to see my products being recognised and available in shops and major fashion shows.Diana Washe: I am self-taught and I am willing to help other women Click To Tweet
What can we expect from Shaina in the next five years?
A more solid brand that is found all over the world. Empowering and encouraging women especially single parents to be self-sustaining and use what they have. I am self-taught and I am willing to help other women. I believe the world is so abundant of things to work with.
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