How two Friends made Business work for them
What happens when two friends decide to go into the wedding industry together? In the case of Nerine Uys and Jamie-Lee van Schalkwyk of Le Fleur Vintage, it was the perfect marriage of great taste.
Narine and Jamie-Lee were inspired to start their bridal boutique after their personal experiences getting married in Namibia; both of them felt that the biggest part of their wedding preparations was finding the gown, but ultimately they both found their dream dresses in South Africa. For them, it wasn’t so much what was on offer, as the experience they had while on the hunt. Nerine relates that when she thinks back to her dress, her memory is inexplicably tied to the experience itself: “When I think back now, I think back to the shop, how we walked through it, the woman that helped me, who made me feel so special; her focus was on me.” For Jamie-Lee it had been the same, and so the two friends decided that they wanted to bring a special experience to Namibian brides that was on par with what they themselves had expected.
Being a bride is about feeling absolutely special, and the ladies have perfected the art of the experience down pat. “The common factor between all brides in Namibia is that they want to feel beautiful and special.” The girls agree that when it comes to picking the perfect dress, a future bride needs to have an open mind and be willing to try on a few different styles, “We’ve surprised clients with what we show them, but in the end that’s what they walk out with.”
When it comes to the business side of things, one is surprised to find out that these two nuptial super-nova’s run Le Fleur Vintage part-time, its their so-called “side-hustle”. “Even with a full time job we could still do it.” Whereas Nerine was in the retail industry (and currently runs the Windhoek City Market), Jamie-Lee works in advertising, and both of them bring their unique set of skills to Le Fleur. And with the help of social media, these ladies got word out, using Facebook and Instagram as their main tools.
One look at their brand and its clear that they know what they’re doing and aren’t afraid to do it. “It’s what’s wonderful about a brand, developing everything around it.” For them, it was the creative side that attracted them to the idea in the first place, and its this creativity that is the golden thread that runs throughout the business.
Tips to pick the perfect wedding dress:
- When you close your eyes you shouldn’t feel the dress.
- Choose a dress according to your personality: if you like to dance then you should be able to dance in the dress, but if you like a feature dress, and you just want people to oooh and ahhh over your dress then that’s what you should get.
- Be open minded and try on a lot of options.
- Know what your budget for the dress is.
Quick questions with the dress queens:
What is the motto or life mantra that you live by?
Nerine: “Life is lekker when you are a lekker person,” if you don’t make life fun its not going to be a fun life. One positive thought can change your day for the better.
Who’s the person that inspires you the most?
Nerine: My mom: she’s the coolest person, she never freaks out, she can do anything, she can multi task and she always stays calm.
Jamie: My husband, Henri, he’s amazing, how he handles people and business, and he’s always looking on the bright side.
Which is the best book you’ve ever read?
Nerine: Harry Potter (laughs). The last book I read is Girl on the Train, but its not the best, because Harry Potter is the best.
Which app or technology can you not live without?
Both: My cellphone.
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