A swimmingly good idea
Nomvuyo Treffers’ determination to find a swimming cap that covers her dreadlocks led to an unexpected business venture called swimma.co.za.
afteran intensive but unsuccessful search for caps that would fit and keep her hair and that of her daughters dry, Capetonian photographer Nomvuyo Treffers ordered some custom-made swimming caps. Less than a year later, she is selling her larger-sized caps to swimming schools, at Swimma’s business premises in Salt River and online. She shares some of the lessons she’s learnt from turning an idea into a business.
What was the driving force behind Swimma?
My daughters, aged 10 and eight, love water and they would invite me in every time we go to a swimming pool or the beach, which is often because we live in Cape Town. I naturally made excuses for not getting into the water with them because I didn’t have a swimming cap that fits. When you have hair like mine, a cap is not only used for hygiene purposes but also needs to keep the hair dry as wet dreadlocks equals hours of drying.
It really frustrated me that I wasn’t able to join in the fun and swim with them. My girls are growing and I didn’t want to miss out on these precious moments with them. I searched everywhere for a swimming cap to cover my dreads and when I couldn’t find one, I sourced materials and decided to have some custom-made for my daughters and me.
What motivated you to start a business selling swimming caps for big hair?
The biggest motivation was my children and realising that this problem is not unique to us. We live in a country and on a continent where the majority of people have dreadlocks, afros or weaves, which prevents them from swimming because there isn’t a proper swimming cap to fit their hair. I believe that big-sized swimming caps are a necessary and inclusive product.
What did you do prior to starting Swimma?
I am a photographer and still run my own photographic studio. I have loved taking photos for as long as I can remember. I became the person who is asked to take photos at friends’ parties and weddings. I was about to travel when my small point & shoot camera broke in 2010 and I replaced it with a DSLR camera. I wanted more lenses and spending on camera equipment adds up. I thought if I had to invest in my hobby, I needed money to buy more equipment and that’s how I became a full-time photographer in February 2011. I opened my studio in November that year. I love people and I enjoy capturing special moments and freezing time. I do corporate photography, family portraits and weddings.
How did the name for Swimma come about?
The name came about because my first
Nomvuyo Treffers Founder of Swimma