I grew up in a small country named Swaziland, landlocked between South Africa and Mozambique. My parents moved in the early 70’s to raise my siblings and I. Not only was my mother strict, she was also very conservative and would alter any and all clothes that I made if she felt they were either too tight or too short during my primary years.
My passion in designing clothes was yet to be realized then, as I never got to wear any of the re-modified dresses or skirts, so I began making doll clothes for my little sister’s dolls. When she turned 9 years old, she declared she was too old to play dolls and that also meant I couldn’t continue satisfying my designing talent.
I later returned to South Africa at age 18, and I studied to receive my diploma in Marketing Management at Varsity College in Durban. During that time, I would add different finishes to any store bought dresses to try and make them unique. I always dreamed of owning a sewing machine, and in 2007 for my birthday, I finally received one as a gift. I made my first official dress and wore it to my friend’s wedding that year. My friends began requesting me to make them dresses, and I haven’t stopped since. In 2013, I was laid off from JPMorgan Chase and took the opportunity to launch BlackPhumelele Designs. Aimed at presenting a lifestyle, I partnered up with two non-profits in creating awareness for the brand.
Today I am looking to develop a strong brand through working with a web developer to update our website to increase visibility and marketing activities. I have created an easy to wear Kimono for all occasions that I plan to use as my signature piece and my goal is to be recognized and hopefully sell my designs in big department stores here in New York City.