- A woman has managed to make headlines in Paris with her stunning handcrafted purses made of used teabags
- After failing to get attention in South Africa, a French designer discovered Gracious Dube during her vacation
- Now, she makes enough money to afford an apartment in Hout Bay and provide the best education for her son
Gracious Dube has made it big, with her handcrafted teabag purses making their all the way to Paris, one of the world’s fashion hotspots.
Dube, a 33-year-old Zimbabwean residing in Hout Bay, makes stunning handbags out of used Rooibos tea bags.
“I love drinking Rooibos and it was whilst drinking a cup that I came up with the idea of creating a purse from tea bags. Initially, I tried making it with lots of different tea bags, but the Rooibos teabags were ideal. Not only do they give my purses a beautiful rich colour, but they also tend to be a lot stronger than other tea bags,” Dube said, after she was asked why she used the particular tea brand.
Dube immigrated from Zimbabwe, where she got involved with T-Bag Designs, a company founded by Jill Heyes, which aimed to poor women in Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay.
There she learned how to use tea bags to craft amazing arts. Now, she uses the techniques she learned to make her bags.
The purses have a silk lining, to which the teabags are glued or sewed on after she ironed it out.
But, just how did Dube’s designs make their way to Paris? Briefly.co.za learned French fashion designer Carine Khalil spotted her bags in V and A Waterfront, while vacationing in South Africa.
Khalil was so intrigued by the handbags, that she decided to go into a business venture with Dube.
Huffpost reported the French designer worked with Dube to sell her rooibos purses at Ithemba Design Ethik, a top fashion and decor boutique owned by Kahlil.
The handbags, which did not quite make it in South Africa, is sold for €26, around R303, to women in Paris who see the bags as a must have item.
“Khalil knows the ins and the outs of the fashion industry and has given me lots of advice to help me grow my business.", Dube said about her experience working with the French designer.
The opportunity she received to work with Khalil has changed her life. The money reportedly helped her secure an apartment in Hout Bay, where she lives with her 11-year-old son and mother.
She said she also has the financial stability she needs to make sure her son gets a great education, which would open doors for him in the future.
But, it’s not the end of her designing road, she plans on making more money with the new ideas she has.
"I have so many ideas buzzing in my head, and I can't wait to try them out. My mom and son are also very supportive and just love that my purses are making headlines in Paris.", she added.
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