A smart social entrepreneur, a flamboyant trendsetter, fashion designer guru, an extremely focused social change driver and very active young business leader.
These are some of the phrases that best describe the founder of two fashion labels African Child and Vintage Collection, Sindiswa Ndywili.
Both Ndywili’s business are based in one of Cape Town biggest townships, Khayelitsha. Both clothing labels specialise in classic, trendy styles. Sales are mostly done online.
African Child clothing label offers custom-made urban African looks that range from t-shirts to blouses, pants, skirts, blazers, dresses and accessories. On the other hand, Vintage Collection is a combination of vintage and retro pieces that bring out a person’s individuality.
Just like many driven young business leaders, the soft spoken Ndywili’s passion for fashion started at a young age by sewing Barbie doll clothes, and was later backed by her mother’s inspiration and support as she grew older.
Ndywili said her journey to stardom was a rough one but her perseverance and overall support from her friends and family made her what she is today. Ndywili said one of the things she has learnt as a young female entrepreneur in the creative industry is that, to start and maintain a small business isn’t easy, more especially if don’t have the right equipment, tools and capital.
The Cape Peninsula University of Technology and Raymond Ackerman Academy graduate’s hard work and determination afforded her the luxury of sharing sponsored office space with some of Khayelitsha’s young entrepreneurs at the Khayelitsha’s Hubspace and free marketing guidance from SEDA.Ndywili says being an entrepreneur isn’t easy but she gets her motivation and inspiration from her immediate successful fellow business owners. The ambitious ghetto queen’s short term goal is to open new branches beyond her Khayelitsha surroundings.
Lwazi Nyanakancesh Nongauza spoke to Ndywili about her online trading business. The intention was to find out how a young entrepreneur can make use of technology in business.
Lwazi Nyanakancesh Nongauza (LNN) What informed your decision to do your business online only?
Sindiswa Ndywili (SN)
A: I don’t have a store nor can I afford to rent one, I saw an opportunity to use social media (Facebook and WhatsApp) as platforms to market and sell my clothes. It has worked for many businesses, I didn’t see why it couldn’t work for me.
How easy or difficult is it for you to get customers online?
For me, it’s been very easy because I enjoy making new friends and most of them I meet online, and it’s those friends who later become my clients.
What are the advantages of selling your clothing range online?
With online, I don’t have to pay rent or any marketing costs and I’m able to reach a wide number of customers from different provinces and that’s what I wanted.
How has technology evolution help your business?
It has helped strengthen my relationship with my customers; communication has become simple and cheap. Furthermore, I’m able to send documents, videos and images to my customers anywhere in the world at almost no cost and I’m never out of reach unless I want to be.
What are some of your challenges so far as a township based fashion designer?
One thing that has always been a challenge for me is not having a proper working space, a place where
my customers can come and view what’s available
What is your advice to other young, up and coming fashion entrepreneurs?
Keep on keeping on despite the challenges and setbacks along the rough journey to success. Fashion needs passion and patience. If you love what you do, keep pushing and things will eventually come together, they always do.
How has being part of the ACTIVATE! network helped you as an entrepreneur?
ACTIVATE! has helped me connect and build relationships with people/Activators who share the same interests as me.
Connect with Sindiswa Ndywili:
African Child: https://www.facebook.com/SindiswaNdywiliDesignerStylist
Vintage Collection: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vintage-Collection/197410293761427