STARTUP COSTS: ‘‘I had some savings, so I put down the money for fabric and a few products; that's all I really started with.'

TURNOVER: ‘We launched at the end of 2017 and have grown phenomenal­ly since then.'

‘There’s just something empowering about wearing gorgeous lingerie under your clothes that only you know about,’ says Taryn King. Whenever she travelled, she’d stock up on lingerie for herself, but she struggled to find beautiful, affordable, locally made lingerie for friends’ bacheloret­tes. ‘I realised this didn’t really exist in SA.’

At the time, Taryn (who has a degree in finance) was working at a corporate in Cape Town but dreamed of having more flexible hours, and the freedom that comes with being your own boss. ‘One never feels “ready” to take the plunge, but I drew a line in the sand, and that meant that I had to be as ready as I could be. I realised that this was something I could do. There was a need for it and it was something I was passionate about.’

She signed up for a sewing and pattern design course. ‘My mission was to design the most comfortabl­e, affordable panties I could, based on my own most comfy pairs.’

Taryn initially looked at using the CMT (cut, measure, trim) services that factories offered to make her products, but she struggled to find manufactur­ers who met her high standards. But it wasn’t all for nothing: through them, she met her business partner, Claudine.

‘Claudine told me that her dream was to run her own CMT and upskill and empower women in her community – she just needed the capital to do it.’ Taryn saw an amazing opportunit­y and invested in Claudine.

‘Meeting wonderful people like

Claudine with their heartfelt stories had me rethinking my own purchasing habits, as well as the impact I have as an entreprene­ur.’

By July 2017, she had samples of what she wanted to sell, and the Takkleberr­y website went live. In their first two weeks of operation, Takkleberr­y sold 1 000 panties.

In the beginning, Claudine was the only seamstress, operating from the loft of her Cape Flats home, but Takkleberr­y was growing so rapidly they needed more space – and more people. Claudine brought in local seamstress­es that she knew from previous jobs, but also women who had never sewed anything in their lives. Today, Takkleberr­y has five seamstress­es, two of whom Claudine trained herself, and their new Heideveld studio is within walking distance of all their homes. ‘This was important to me, as they have kids at home that they need to be there for.’

‘Takkleberr­y doesn’t have employees; we have business partners,’ says Taryn. ‘They work for themselves. We provide the machinery and fabric, they sew the garments and sell them back to us.

‘I’ve turned them into suppliers, so the more garments they produce, the more money they make,’ she says. ‘This system also gives them the freedom to determine their own working hours and take charge of their careers.’ It’s made for a great working environmen­t. ‘I have extremely loyal seamstress­es.’

And the name? ‘I was playing around with a few names around the word “lingerie”, then I realised that if we wanted to diversify, it would be limiting.’ Her nickname among friends is Takkie or Takkle. ‘One day, someone called me Takkleberr­y; I thought it was super catchy!’

‘I have such loyal customers. I swear they’ve cleared out their underwear drawers and only have Takkleberr­y,’ she laughs. For

Taryn, lingerie should make you feel empowered, but comfortabl­e too. Her favourite product, next to thongs, are the high-waisted knickers, which one customer described as a ‘bum cloud’. ‘They’re comfortabl­e but still sexy!’

But it’s also the knowledge that the product is empowering a community of women that draws customers, she says.

‘Our products come delivered in a beautiful reusable cotton bag, with a handwritte­n note.’

By mid-year, Takkleberr­y will release their bridal range, and soon, Taryn hopes, open a store. Beyond that, she’s happy with the way things are. ‘I don’t want to build up a panty empire,’ she laughs. ‘For me, we’re already a success because I’m challenged every day; this has made me grow and believe in myself. I’ve created something I never dreamed would be possible.’ Website: takkleberr­y.co.za Instagram: @takkleberr­y

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 ??  ?? Taryn King wearing her own designs.
Taryn King wearing her own designs.

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