Lights, Cam­era, Fash­ion

Premier Magazine (South AFrica) - - Motoring - Text: Kelly Eas­ton Images © Jodi Deer­ling

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.

Jodi Deer­ling

The JD Col­lec­tion

The JD Col­lec­tion

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