Some people make an impression within the first few seconds of you being in their presence. Entrepreneur, perfumer and frequent North Coast visitor Di Thompson is one such person.
She floats into our offices in a waft of beautiful fragrance and it is immediately obvious that Di’s personality is as captivating and classy as the scent she has created.
After quickly introducing herself, the ambitious Johannesburg-based business owner, who is clearly passionate about her craft, starts to share the story of her life and the path that led her to creating her signature perfume, Dimanzi.
“I grew up in Johannesburg and am a very proud past Jeppe girl. I’ve always loved sports. My dad was a Springbok cricketer and my mother a South African ice skater, and I think this is where I got my discipline and determination to succeed. After school I graduated from Wits with a degree in fine arts and I was given the opportunity to further my studies in beauty technology at the prestigious House of Guerlain in Paris.”
It was while she was in Paris, Di says, that she fell in love with the beauty industry and when she moved back to South Africa she took up the position of Guerlain area manager in KZN. While heading up the marketing and training for the company in Johannesburg Di travelled extensively marketing the products around the world.
Despite her successes in the corporate world, Di’s entrepreneurial spirit was strong and she decided to open her own business, a beauty salon called Le Visage Boutique Salon in Bedfordview, which she has owned and managed for the past 30 years.
Having been immersed in the beauty industry for most of her life, and having spent a significant amount of time in Paris, Di says creating a fragrance was always her dream.
It took two years of research and hard work for Di and her team to create the scent she is so incredibly proud of today – Dimanzi Eau De Parfum.
Everything about Dimanzi, from its name to the bottle it comes in, is indicative of Di, her family heritage and her passion for excellence and elegance.
“I wanted to create a fine fragrance that was produced in South Africa, but using essential oils from Grasse in France, which is home to all the world’s greatest perfumes.”
Her love for Africa is evident in both the name and presentation of the fragrance. The ‘Di’ is her name and ‘manzi’ comes from the Zulu word for water. The bottle, sourced in France, is in the shape of a ‘D’ and the small zebra-striped bead tied around the neck of the bottle is an ode to her family name, ‘Burchell’ (like the Burchell’s zebra) and is handmade by rural women in the KZN Midlands.
“My goal when creating this fragrance was to maintain the same quality and standards as leading international brands, but at more competitive prices. This fragrance embodies French chic and our enchanting African spirit and is perfect for women who are energetic and spirited but also classy and elegant.”
When she isn’t running her business in Johannesburg or travelling overseas, Di spends a lot of time in Ballito and Salt Rock, where she has a holiday home and a number of close friends. Her motto in life, she says, is ‘dress up and show up – wearing your Dimanzi, of course!’.
The 100ml Dimanzi Eau De Parfum is R1450 and the Dimanzi Voyage travel kit (including a funnel and handy 20ml travel bottle and a 60ml refill) is R890.