Coming from humble beginnings, Strand businesswoman Yvonne Manyiki embodies strength, warmth and charisma.
The 35-year-old local crafter, wife and mother is the owner of Dimzique Enterprise, designer and manufacturer of handcrafted jewellery which has taken the local market by storm.
Yvonne will be showcasing her products at the 25th Decorex Joburg exhibition as part of the South African Craft Collective (SACC).
The SACC comprises 60 local craft entrepreneurs featuring a variety of handmade home, gift and fashion accessories that reflect the warm South African cultural heritage across the nine provinces. The exhibition started yesterday, Wednesday 8 August, at the Gallagher Convention Centre and continues until Sunday 12 August.
Born in the small town of Ficksburg, bordering South Africa and Lesotho, in the Eastern Free State, Yvonne spent most of her childhood in Lesotho where she attended primary school.
She completed her high school education in Ficksburg.
Her creativity sprouts from her mother who Yvonne watched closely growing up, fondly remembering how inspired she was by her mother’s creations.
It’s been a long but fruitful journey since, which started way back in 2002 when she first moved to Cape Town.
“I developed a desire to start my own business while I was working my first job as a sales person in one of the craft market stalls in Cape Town.
“In 2006, I registered a sole proprietor company called Yvonne Designs. The company was in the business of buying and selling ladies’ accessories such as jewellery, watches, bags and hats, and my first stall was at Top Deck at the Cape Town Train Station.” she recalls.
From 2007 to 2011, Yvonne slowly introduced her own wire and beaded jewellery, and found a good spot to set up her stall in the Riverside Mall in Rondebosch.
“I had to close the business when the mall was renovated and there was a change of management.
“In 2012, I took a break and dedicated the entire year to attending entrepreneurial workshops at CCDI (Cape Craft & Designs Institution), now known as CDI (Craft & Design Institution). It was during this period that I discovered a gap in the market for contemporary beaded costume jewellery. I began to learn weaving and beading with seed beads with a combination of a great beading book and some YouTube videos,” she shares.
Dimzique Enterprise was officially registered in 2013, and has steadily developed a good client base, supported by locals and tourists alike. Yvonne says their target market is mostly middle class women between the ages of 20 and 60 years, across all races and religions.
“We design a variety of unique high-quality jewellery pieces, such as necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, barefoot, sandal and hand jewellery. Our products are made of glass pearl beads, crystal beads, fresh water pearls, wood and seed beads. We use nickel free sterling silver findings, for weaving and threading we use fishing line for added durability and rigidity to the product. Where needed, a strong beading thread is used to enhance flexibility,” she explains.
The products are showcased at various craft markets in the Western Cape, such as the Country Market, Lourensford, Kirstenbosch and other markets like Kamers, Decorex and Cape Town Jazz Festival.
“We now are [also] members of Proudly South African and part of the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurship programme.”
Yvonne is currently enrolled in a “Start and manage a small business” short course at the University of Cape Town.
Yvonne says the biggest lessons she’s learned from starting her own business is that one must be willing and able to spend money to earn money.
“Never go into business unless you are willing to part ways with your hard-earned cash. Starting a business is not cheap; one loses a lot of money before beginning to realise the fruits,” she relays.
What are three characteristics every businesswoman should possess?
“Have faith, be self-driven and be a risk taker,” she says. She encourages other women who dream of opening their own business to “follow your passion, not the money”.
“Don’t be an island. Surround yourself with people who believe in your dreams, find a mentor or accountability partner such as a spouse or family member and friends. Don’t rush into earning a salary from your business, but rather take time in building the brand by reinvesting your earnings back into the business. If you can borrow money from friends and families, do so – the bank must be the last resort.”
Yvonne says she hopes to supply boutiques with their range soon and showcase their products in well-established local and international exhibitions, with the dream of exporting their products.
Commenting on her invitation to Decorex, Yvonne says it is not her first rodeo, having been invited to the exhibition before.
“This opportunity allows [us] to gain the much-needed exposure in growing our client base and brand awareness.
“The setup of the show allows all small, medium and big businesses to draw inspiration from one another and equally benefit from all the marketing work done. It is truly a one-stop store where most of a customer’s needs are fulfilled. The show has been growing every year and the business has been good to traders alike.
“I am looking forward to the positive creativity rivalry on display from various traders, but, most importantly, I am hoping to make more sales than last year”
In light of Women’s Day celebrated today (Thursday 9 August), Yvonne shares her message of encouragement to the women of South Africa:
“Believe in yourself and trust God. Find your purpose in God and walk in obedience in fulfilling it, there will be difficult times but that doesn’t mean there will be no sunshine after every storm. Happy Women’s Day! May God bless the works of your hands and creativity of your minds.”
To browse the selection of products, visit www.dimzique.com.