What were you doing before the pandemic?
I’m a qualified graphic and textile designer and had been working in the clothing and textile printing industry for 13 years while I’ve been running Frockabilly since 2011
Frockabilly has always been your passion project, did you ever imagine that you’d be able to go full time with it?
Since I was a teenager, I’ve always had aspirations of owning my own fashion brand. Actually, maybe younger than a teenager. My Barbie’s always wore exclusive couture 😉 Frockabilly started as a creative outlet for my mental health and it has been slowly growing over the years. In 2018 I had a 5 year plan of going solo with Frockabilly (so as of 2023). The pandemic changed that, however, and it has been a blessing in disguise- pushing me to move my plans forward.
Tell us about your experience during this pandemic with your job, the lead up and when it happened?
We closed, along with the rest of the country in March 2020, for level 5. I was working from home, as design work can all be done digitally, but was only receiving 1/4 of my full time salary. At the end of May the employees were suddenly told that the company would be claiming voluntarily insolvency and that we would be retrenched at the end of June.
What were your initial thoughts? Were you nervous?
I was incredibly nervous and still am! It’s the fear of the unknown that I don’t like. I suffer from an anxiety disorder as it is, so having the Universe push me into the deepest part of the deep end, and telling me to swim, is very scary. Luckily my first project, custom face masks, kept me very busy and motivated to keep going.
How has the pivot worked out for you?
I am always humbled by, and will always continue to be humbled by, the love and support my amazing customers have shown me. Frockabilly has been shown nothing but encouragement and kindness since I announced it was my full time gig. Being my own boss has been the most liberating experience – I’ve always wanted to be a fierce career woman. I feel I have achieved that goal with the added benefit of being my own boss. Working from home has also allowed me to spend more time with my elderly father, and take care of him when need be.
What would you say to those that are in the same situation right now?
Never be afraid to ask for help! If you feel you can’t afford to hire someone on a cash basis; reach out to smaller businesses and ask them if they’re open to a trade deal. Work for work, or time for time. There really are a lot of amazing humans out there who are willing to help those who are stuck. It’s also incredibly rewarding to work with other creatives. Just don’t pull the “It will be great exposure” card 😉
How can we support you?
If you are able to support me financially, and want to add some amazing pieces to your wardrobe, I ship my products to anywhere in South Africa. I’m also open to trade deals (at my discretion). Social media support also helps small businesses more than people realise so a simple follow on Instagram and Facebook is always appreciated. The more likes, comments and shares the better! I also love seeing picture of my clients in their Frockabilly wear so make sure to tag me!