Andiswa Mdletye is the Creative and Operations Director of eYami Fashion and Lifestyle, an established fashion design and online retail business that offers customers a wide variety of South African themed clothing and accessories. The name “eYami”, an Nguni word meaning “mine”, speaks to being proud and unapologetic about owning your identity. We spoke to Andiswa and here’s what she had to say about her journey thus far:
I grew up in the Eastern Cape and my love for fashion came at a young age. The thought of creating something beautiful out of nothing inspired me to pursue a path in the fashion industry and the decision to study Fashion Design at The University of Johannesburg came easy. Though, I wasn’t always an entrepreneur. I started out working in the corporate industry as a service consultant for Discovery Life before starting my journey through business life.
I started off part-time after graduating in 2006, juggling the pressures of corporate life as well as those of running my own business. When I started school, I always wanted to be a fashion designer and create a fashion empire.
The eYami range has kickstarted my dreams and helped me pursue my passion in becoming an established fashion designer. The uniqueness of the designs has really inspired me and revealed how much you really can do with fabric and fashion.
I am also the cofounder and proud owner of Umthikazi, also a fashion design and manufacturing business. We do one on one consultations where customers bring us there ideas and we turn them into a reality.
I am an industrialist, fashion designer and entrepreneur. Drawing on my passion for fashion and entrepreneurial intuition, I decided to start my business. I love creating new prints out of the traditional designs and fabrics, and turning them into products for modern yet traditionally conscious fashion lovers. I hope to someday manufacture clothes and accessories, as well as the fabric to produce them within the business and in South Africa in order to manage a more effective and efficient production process.
Creating prints that have never existed must be one of my highlights so far. Taking beads and transforming them into fabric. It’s absolutely stunning, if I do say so myself.
Where were you before Co.Space?
Before I found Co.Space, I was working from home in the garage. Working from home only allows you to do so much. I only had 2 machines and 1 person helping me. My business was growing and I needed more space to do my work. I now have 7 machines and more people to assist me as my customer base has been growing. I have been in Co.Space for just over a year now and I haven’t looked back.
Why choose Co.Space?
First of all, the rent is very reasonable and allows me to invest the money into other areas of my business. Co.Space also offers this sense of community where you can interact with other business owners. The help, advice and support that other entrepreneurs can offer you is invaluable. So, I think that the sense of community that the space has created amongst entrepreneurs, to me, is just something that you can’t put a price tag on.
Co.Space also offers a professional environment in which to work and meet clients, that working from home just can’t match.
There are a number of fashion designers in Co.Space and being here has allowed me to link up Mbali Nxumalo, the owner of Dash Fashion Couture, and pursue a career path together. Although we have separate businesses, our work and processes are similar and being at Co.Space has allowed us to join our resources in order to achieve our goals and meet our objectives.
Advice for other entrepreneurs
Being an entrepreneur can be painful. I know it might be a cliché but it really is full of blood, sweat and tears. Think about what you want to do and what you want to achieve. Your reasons for starting your business cannot only be about making money. They have to be deeper than that and you have to commit yourself to making your business a success. You need to have a plan and a vison. Your passion is what drives you to succeed.
If you would like to know more about Andiswa and her eYami Fashion and Lifestyle business, contact her via:
Want to get down to business? Want your business to operate on your terms? At Co.Space, we’re all about making your business easy to start and grow. Send us your details and we’ll help you find the right office, workshop, showroom, studio, storage and parking space for your business.