Lights, Camera, Fashion
Jodi Deerling is fast becoming one of the leading creatives in South Africa. From entertainer to successful entrepreneur, Deerling’s brand, the JD Collection, offers handmade accessories to South African consumers.
PREMIER caught up with Deerling (J.D) to hear more about his journey, and what is next for this dynamic entrepreneur.
PREMIER: You have done everything from television and radio, to founding your own clothing company. To what do you attribute your success as an entrepreneur?
J.D: It is always surreal to read what I have done thus far. I am on a journey of self-discovery and through this I find myself drawn to what I truly believe I am worth. Growing up I was made to believe that certain dreams are for certain types of people; my goal in my career has definitely been to challenge myself. I have been given great opportunities and with these opportunities I have decided to make a living for myself.
PREMIER: Paint a picture of your early professional background leading up to your interest in the fashion industry.
J.D: I was always drawn to the creative industry. As a child I embarked upon a ballet career and then moved into the world of acting. I relocated to Pretoria and enrolled at an art and drama school. Surrounded by others in the industry, I found myself right where I was meant to be. I auditioned for the South African soapie, Isidingo, and landed a role playing alongside industry heavyweights like Ilse Klink and Kim Engelbrecht. Knowing that the entertainment and the fashion industry worked hand in hand, I wanted to grow as an entrepreneur and I decided to design my very first bowtie.
PREMIER: What drove you to pursue a career in the fashion industry?
J.D: Fashion has always been a part of this journey; I learnt from a young age that what you wear is an expression of who you are. This made me wonder about pursuing another passion, and I launched the JD Collection. I understood the challenge of breaking into an industry where I was not well-known, but was ready to take it on. I knew that I could have the upper hand if I used my career as an entertainer.
It was not easy for me; I suddenly became a marketing manager, sales person, fashion designer, and business owner. These challenges helped me grow as an entrepreneur and allowed me to have firsthand experiences in the fashion world.
PREMIER: What is the competitive edge of the JD Collection over other clothing brands in South Africa?
J.D: The mission for the JD Collection is to become the number one handmade accessories brand in South Africa. All our products are designed and manufactured in-house – this is exactly the edge we have in this country. We make sure that every customer knows they are buying handmade products of great quality from South Africa.
PREMIER: What has been the best form of marketing for the brand?
J.D: Every marketing opportunity is a great one, and it is important to be visible everywhere! I always say, “Having a great product is just that, but if you are not marketing yourself and pushing your brand, you will never have a business.” We focus on personal relationships with each and every client, corporate and private. We know the importance of the association of our brand to various companies and other brands and have protected her like a little baby.
PREMIER: Could you let us in on some of the inspirations behind your designs?
J.D: The designs are pure and honest. We are very much South African, but we find the shweshwe fabrics have been overdone and most people are playing in this realm. We add everything around us as South Africans into the details and designs. We love to challenge ourselves to go beyond what is expected. The inspiration is South Africa and all of us in it.
PREMIER: What makes it all worthwhile?
J.D: I love to shop, it would not make sense if I did not. But this is where I get to change the game. I get to redesign the elements of great service, going the extra mile for the consumer. I enjoy the surprise people show when they order from us or work with us. I enjoy knowing that only the JD Collection could deliver what they have. I enjoy doing what I love.
PREMIER: Give us an insight into some of your future ventures.
J.D: Just like the owner, the brand is forever evolving. I do not put pressure on the brand, which turns five this year, I simply allow it to grow. I am the parent of the JD Collection, and I would love for it to become the top brand of South Africa. The less you try to control something, the more it seems to surprise you.
With his desire for success and love for his trade, we look forward to seeing what the future holds for this dynamic entrepreneur.
For more information on the JD Collection, visit www.jodideerling.co.za.
The JD Collection
The JD Collection