Niche South African clothing brand, Pride Journey, designs, produces and sells exclusive ready-to-wear pieces for professional women with curves to ensure a perfect fit and comfort while maintaining a graceful sense of style.
LoA found out more about this great new niche clothing brand and the visionary woman entrepreneur behind it.
What does your company do?
At Pride Journey, we design and produce ready-to-wear business attire for professional women with curves.
What inspired you to start your company?
A few years ago I worked in a corporate setting where business attire was a norm. It is during this time when this vision for Pride Journey was born. I found it incredibly difficult to find well fitting business attire. Store bought clothing was either too small or too big, especially items like shirts. I felt that clothes were either made for people who are quite small or plus size women. No one seemed to cater for the middle, which for me represents women with curves as they do not necessarily fall into the plus size section but they would either have a bigger bust that standard sizes don't cater for or wider hips. When we refer to curvy, these are the women we refer to. These are the women who have no option but to tailor their clothes as standard sizes just don't work.
"At Pride Journey, we design and produce ready-to-wear business attire for professional women with curves."
Why should anyone use your service or product?
When we did our research we found that a lot of women had stopped wearing shirts and formal pants and they rather stick to dresses because of fit problems. We cater for a very specific market and these women have almost given up on the idea of finding ready to wear items that fit well. The women who either have to use safety pins or constantly have to put blazers on even when it's hot for fear of looking inappropriate, with their shirts riding up. Women with big buttocks who no matter what they do they will have an inappropriate and unattractive gap above the bum if wearing formal pants. Some of these women can never close their formal blazers if it's in their standard size. Either that or they have to buy a bigger size which will look too wide and unflattering. We cater for those women who are tired of the struggles, who would like well fitting clothes that are effortless yet stylish.
Tell us a little about your team
At the moment it is me, myself and I. I work with a lovely pattern maker who is also a woman who spends hours tweaking and changing patterns according to the feedback we get from our fit models.
"We cater for those women who are tired of the struggles, who would like well fitting clothes that are effortless yet stylish."
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
I do not come from an entrepreneurial background but my mother was what one would call a "business minded woman". When I was young I never realized the importance or the value of what she was trying to achieve and so never learnt to have that business mindset. My journey has been a very steep learning curve, but I always take courage form people who have made it and who seem to have started worse off than I did. Iremind myself that I am fortunate enough to at least have access to materials and books on how to navigate through some of the challenges of an entrepreneur.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
It is my dream that the company will represent and be synonymous with powerful professional and business women who have had to fight for their place in the world who are now in a place of significance. I would like the company to provide them with clothing that will allow them to grow in confidence as they represent themselves as well as those women who go before them. I see the Pride Journey woman being a role model to so many girl children in Africa who need the kind of role modelling from people who act and look the part.
"It is my dream that the company will represent and be synonymous with powerful professional and business women who have had to fight for their place in the world who are now in a place of significance."
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
I have spent so much time fitting samples and reworking the patterns. There is nothing that gives me more pleasure that to see a woman fit one of our garments with disbelief in their eyes. The way the garments fit brings such a sparkle in these women as they realize that they don't have to tuck or pull, the clothes just fit as if they were custom made for them.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Be clear on your reasons why you are embarking on your entrepreneurial journey, this will be the one thing that pushes you forward in the down times when everything seems to be against your progress.
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Why LoA loves it….
As any woman in business with curves knows, feeling comfortable and stylish with clothes that fit in all the right places, helps with confidence. But finding great fitting clothes can be a continual challenge. Not any more with Funeka Bango’s great new brand, Pride Journey. She understands how good it feels to have well fitting clothes and has designed her business to create great looking and importantly great fitting shirts and other pieces that cradle every curve perfectly. She is creating the ultimate niche business, understanding her clients’ needs and providing solutions. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa