- Thandeka Ntuli taught herself how to sew by watching YouTube videos before starting her own business
- She beads by hand, sewing colourful patterns inspired by her Ndebele tradition onto shoes, handbags, wallets and watches
- Her business has grown since 2014, and she now employs 7 other women in an effort to expand into international fashion markets
Thandeka Ntuli is Thandeka the Fashionista, a designer who creates gorgeous beaded fashion, inspired by her Ndebele tradition.
"I graduated from the University of YouTube, teaching myself clothing design by watching tutorials which showed me the basics. My late friend taught me bead work from a young age, when we were working for her grandmother, Mama uNoSinky Mahlangu," Thandeka said in an exclusive interview with Briefly.co.za editor, Laura Slyer.
In 2014, she left her job as an electrician at the Public Utility Transport Corporation (Putco), and started her fashion company, Thandeka the Fashionista.
In 2017, Thandeka began to incorporate traditional Ndebele design, beading shoes and later, handbags. Now, the company produces beaded handbags, shoes, watches, and wallets.
"Soon after Thandeka the Fashionista clothing brand was born, I was inspired by our Ndebele culture, and decided to specialise in traditional clothes and beaded shoes.
"We have to check the space on the items we will be working on, because that's what gives us an idea of what patterns will suit the shoes."
Thandeka added that the demand for her shoes have grown so much, along with other products, that she's had to hire seven other women to help her with the work.
"Some of them were already skilled, but I help with training and pattern design as well, because I want to create the best product I can, and it's my duty to make sure my employees are skilled enough to create beautiful designs.
"My ultimate aim is to sell our shoes at leading fashion outlets internationally."
Take a look at some of her gorgeous designs below:
Would you wear a pair of Thandeka's shoes? Let us know what you think on our Facebook page and we could feature your story.
To stay up to date with the latest news, download our news app on Google Play or iTunes today.