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.

Finweek English Edition - - ON THE MONEY -

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

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