By Samantha Collen
Winner of the South African Chamber of Commerce UK Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2019
JenniDezigns Clothing is a mother-daughter duo, established in late 2015. Jenny (Mom & dezigner) and Sam (daughter and business partner) had a dream to bring together two passions; Jenny’s absolute love of African fabric, in particular South Africa’s local 100% cotton ShweShwe, and a shared passion to bring to market sustainable kids clothing that allows children to still dress like children unlike what is currently available in the kids mainstream clothing market.
JenniDezigns designs and manufactures a range of classic, yet quirky kids clothing for both boys and girls aged up to 9 years old. Each style is given its own African name to bring to life the style and print combination.
We are the first South African based kids label to only use the local ShweShwe print throughout our ranges, celebrating this rich South African heritage with pride. With the growing attention on African fashion on the global fashion stage, JenniDezigns works to bring our ranges to both the local and international community.
We manage design and sales in house between ourselves and outsources the manufacture of wholesale orders to local CMT partners. These include individual seamstresses for smaller orders and a medium size partner in Cape Town.
The business has been met with great reviews early on…
My daughter received three dresses as a gift and she absolutely loves them. Especially the addition of the headband and bag. Beautifully made and so unique, lots of compliments in Outback Australia! Also arrived beautifully packed and quickly. Highly recommended, thank you!
I absolutely love the fusion of African print with a modern dress design…
The JenniDezigns dresses are beautiful, special and unique in it’s kind. I have ordered twice from Sam and Jenny. …. it fits them perfectly and my eldest wanted to keep her dress on ‘all the time’ she said. Their service is excellent too. I will order from them again in the near future! 🙂
A little more about Jenny and Sam…
Jenny lives in South Africa in the Eastern Cape with her husband. Now that all her kids are grown up she has decided to focus on making something out of her life-long passion and dream. ..
“At heart I have always been a designer. I started out as a teenager making my own clothes which were always rather “different”. I have always loved bright colours. I then progressed to children’s clothing when my daughters were born. However, due to the usual financial constraints of raising children and living in the modern world, this passion was put on the back burner until now. After years of working in the corporate landscape, Reuben (my husband) and I decided to move down to coast to live a quieter lifestyle. At this time I had just purchased a large quantity of shweshwe fabric to play with. My daughter and business partner, Samantha, made a very pertinent comment just before we moved and said: “Mom, I think it’s time!” I knew exactly what she meant as we had been chatting on and off about my “JenniDezigns” label which had been in my head for many years.
At first our plan was to run a small online business where mom’s and granny’s who wanted to dress their little girls as just that “little girls” could do just that. Very soon, however, it changed gear and we found ourselves playing in the tourist retail market. It has been a huge learning curve for both of us. Many sleepless nights, but so much excitement and fun!”
Sam lives in London with her husband Craig and two kids Ethan (8) & Kayley (7). After a career in business consulting and product innovation in the charity sector, and time out to have kids she got itchy feet to do something that could be managed with her new family …
“Starting your my own business ranks on my top most challenging list. It’s been fun meeting new people and extremely satisfying to see kids smile when they put on the clothes. But hard work keeping the momentum in times of challenge when your plans don’t work out as expected.
Some say you need to be careful when going into business with family, and several people give me a strange look when I say that I work with my mom, but I would not have it any other way. We have to be intentional to keep business and family separate, although not always successfully. We are good at challenging each other, even if we are both stubborn.”
Once you have clothed your kids, you might want to read this interesting article about kiddies’ behaviour by Eloise Grobbelaar.