Shweet success for Gonubie mom
Vibrant, handmade shweshwe products even find their way overseas, writes Madeleine Chaput
After years of dedicating her afternoons to her children’s every whim and need, Gonubie local Roxy Nass has finally found the time to do something a little “shweeter” for herself.
Starting out with some newfound time and a creative eye, the mom of two teenagers established Shweet in 2018.
Using locally sourced genuine Three Cats Shweshwe material from Da Gama Textiles, Nass has learnt to make anything and everything out of the vibrant material; from stylish laptop bags to totes, placemats, pencil bags, aprons, sling bags, Christmas stockings and so much more.
“I have been privileged to work a half day and afforded the opportunity to spend every afternoon with my children and share in their special moments.
“All my time has been devoted to my children but as they’ve grown older, I’ve been in a position to spread my wings and pursue some of my own dreams,” said Nass, who has worked for the Berea Gardens Retirement Foundation for almost 14 years.
“I’ve always loved being creative but time didn’t always allow for that.
“With the ever declining economy, it became difficult to stay afloat.
“I needed something to supplement my income and to find something I loved doing.”
After coming across a picture of a bag she really loved, Nass decided to give her minimal sewing skills a try and hasn’t looked back since.
“I inherited a second-hand sewing machine, purchased some fabric and decided to start somewhere.
“I wanted to create something unique and then I fell in love with shweshwe.
“I got going, with no sewing experience of my own, my mom, my mom-in-law and my husband helped me tremendously, and I was on my way,” said Nass.
“I will forever be thankful for the help and assistance I’ve received from my family. None of this would have been possible without them. ”
But it wasn’t until local cafe and boutique, Madison’s Market, was looking for new products that Nass’s shweshwe-centric business took flight.
“I saw an advert at Madison’s Market Cafe for a tenant that sells bags and accessories and that’s how it all officially started.
“I bought fabric, patterns and had so many ideas.
“I think I had three weeks to make stock for the shop and I worked non-stop.
“With the loyal support of my customers, I have been able to grow in leaps and bounds,” said Nass, who hopes to one day own her own outlet selling anything and everything shweshwe.
Nass said she loved coming up with new ideas for Shweet and shweshwe was the perfect material to work with.
“I generally get bored quickly, so I love how versatile shweshwe is.
“The material has such a strong African heritage, rich in colour, design and tradition.
“The fabric is durable and nothing compares to the quality of Genuine Three Cats Shweshwe, I love local,” said Nass.
“I have always tried to offer a variety of products that are suited to everybody’s budget and I still don’t have the time to put all my ideas onto the shelves,” she quipped.
From the perfect gift, to the prettiest practical items, Nass’s handmade shweshwe range is diverse, offering something for everyone.
“There are days when I am completely overwhelmed by the sincere compliments and this just encourages me to make more.
“I’ve received a lot of requests to make gift items for people to take overseas so I am humbled knowing Shweet is proudly South African in many countries,” she said.
“My range is based on bags and accessories.
“I don’t necessarily like to label each item as there are so many uses for each item and I simply love creating them all.”
While sewing is not Nass’s number one passion, she said thinking up new designs and ideas and seeing them come to live was incredibly fulfilling.
“I definitely enjoy the creating and designing part of Shweet, more than sewing the items together but I’m always so proud of the outcome.
“My standard and quality is always my priority,” she said.
She said compliments from clients had always inspired her to keep going and keep creating.
“The best compliment I ever received was when I was at a local market.
“Two Da Gama employees, one a designer and the other a printer both popped in at different times and said I had done their product proud.
“I was simply blown away and so very thankful,” said Nass.
“Kind words really inspire and motivate me.”
I love how versatile shweshwe is. The material has such a strong African heritage, rich in colour, design and tradition. The fabric is durable ... I love local