FROM THE GIRL NEXT DOOR TO SHAKING WALLS IN THE DESIGN INDUSTRY
Joan Nyambe, was shocked to hear that her designs would appear on the popular South African wedding show, Our Perfect Wedding, a moment she recalls as one of the greatest milestones in her business.
“My moment on ‘Our Perfect wedding’ made me shed some tears as my mind started envisioning the whole journey I have walked and the heartaches of business I have met along the way. We had just opened our South African Jo’s Couture branch that we met Amanda and her husband. When we did the clothes for them and their team they never mentioned about OPW until one Monday 25 November 2019 Amanda called and said she was very happy with our service and would love to feature us on her segment which was later aired in early 2020,”
Joan’s journey began in 2014 and happened perchance. After a devastating experience with a buying and selling business, she was inspired by her brother to get into Ankara skirts trade which later developed in personalised orders which grew exponentially.
“Before starting Jo’s Couture l was buying and selling clothes from South Africa and Botswana. l had come back from Botswana where l resided for almost 3 years in search of greener pastures (2007-9 era). I couldn’t get a job when l moved back so I decided to have a shop called Nenyasha closet. This shop died a premature death when the shop we were renting was broken into and we lost stocks worth $6 200usd. This was a big blow and in the efforts of trying to make ends meet and reviving my clothing business l bumped into the Ankara high waist skirts business through my brother. I then decided to look for a tailor to make more orders and this was the best decision ever that started placed our journey on a pedestal!”
Nyambe’s friends saw her business potential more than she did and helped her professionalise. Influenced by her past experiences, she was afraid of a fast-paced growth but the business kept growing.
“Jo’s Couture wasn’t planned – friends would just come in and make suggestions as they saw the potential more than l did. At first, l would outsource labour and three months later a friend helped me with professionalising my business including coming up with the name –Jo’s couture. Couture is French and means designing and tailoring apparel specifically for an individual which aptly describes what we do.”
Joan Nyambe employs a unique marketing strategy that has seen her attracting a diverse market of people in different countries. Her storytelling prowess engages her audience which also includes public personalities, some of whom are her models.
Asked on her marketing skills she said; “I do the marketing and advertising of the brand by myself and it is something I enjoy.l have a gift in writing comic short stories which I use to attract people as l advertise our products. Currently, l am running with stories about Mhofu whose exploits leave my clients and followers in stitches and the suspense makes them look forward to more.”
Jo’s Couture has become a household name with branches in Zimbabwe and South Africa. The company is the go–to business for public figures’ fashion designs and their use of regular models targets the day-to-day African man or woman who identifies with relatable models.
“ I live a life of testimony. I am just a girl from poverty who now affords to put a meal on the table and in the process also creates employment for others.”
Jo’s couture continues to rise with the two shops in Harare and in Kempton park doing well