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Hometown girl with big dreams

Single, sassy and successful

She describes herself as feeling sassy while living life solo, which is the best way to rediscover herself and focus on her business and passion for fashion design. Get It catches up with OKgrl’s Urshela Schutte to chat about her dreams, challenges and success.

She has her roots set firmly in the place she calls home.

“I have been living here most of my life. I love the vibes of Alberton. It’s a quiet hometown where I can run my business from and live my family-oriented life.”

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Urshela worked as a marketing executive for a fashion retailer for 20 years. Yet, it was always her dream to own her own fashion and clothing brand.

“It just took me some time to take the leap. This happened when I realised it is never too late to pursue anything in your life, no matter how big or small it seems.

“Out of my dreams OKgrl Fashion and OKgrl Talk Magazine was born. I am extremely proud of how far we have come for such a young business.

“When starting OKgrl, my challenge was to relay the message to women to accept their own body types and dress comfortably but still look and feel sexy. Women need to find confidence within themselves and not in the clothes they wear.

“I wanted all woman to know that they can decide what they want to wear instead of being dictated by the trends the industry sets.

“I believe your fashion sense and style should be unique to you. This is why I started Made to Measure. It is as simple as you sending me a picture of what exactly you want and we make it.

“It seems like something small, but this means that you chose your own fashion path instead of doing exactly what the display windows in malls tell you to do,” she said with a smile.

Having a blast

“OKgrl is a family business run by me and my daughter Melissa. Then there is Nicky, who I also consider my daughter.

“Together we are an amazing team. We believe in having an absolute blast every single day. We believe the old way of running a business is just not how it works anymore.

“Because of this way of thinking, we found exceptional seamstresses and tailors who believe and live by the same motto. We are not just a business, we are a family.

Urshela’s dream and goal is to become the biggest female fashion brand for all women and young girls.

“I want OKgrl to be a name that every woman and girl knows. Something they speak of with pride and something they can feel part of.

“OKgrl is friendly and welcoming. This makes it extremely special to me. One of my favourite things about it, is that I don’t just get customers, I make friends.

“It has become a community of women who all feel the same way – it’s easy and it’s beautiful.”

Online living during lockdown

“Well, this sure is not as easy, but we are fortunate enough to be involved with projects that can keep us busy and this can be done online.
“Between myself, my staff and our wonderful customers, we are still making sure everyone stays warm this winter with our amazing winter range and we make sure we put the fashion straight into our masks that we’re making.

“I am extremely humbled by the strong community I see every day and I am so proud to say that OKgrl is part of it.

“We are involved with Apprentesses SA – Ster Status. We try our best to make sure we contribute to their strong relationship with charity work and this is something we take much pride in.

“We also recently started making masks for Stepping Stone Hospice. They use these masks for the patients’ families, so they can visit them during these difficult times.

“I decided to take this on because of my personal connection with the hospice. I consider it very near and dear to my heart.”

Support brings success

“I have two children. My son Wayne, who is married to Megan and they have two beautiful children. I absolutely adore my grandchildren. I am extremely proud of them and they are a beautiful family.

“I work with my daughter, Melissa, and as I said, business time is actually fun time for the two of us.

“I have a very good relationship with both my children and I see them as my greatest accomplishments. I am extremely proud of what and who they have become.

“They are very supportive of my entrepreneurial career and this makes me want to work harder every single day, setting the example of what can be achieved if you pursue your dreams and passion.”

She is also very aware of taking time for herself – something she enforces among her staff as well.

“Me-time is very important. From taking my dog for a walk, joining the odd yoga class or going to a session with Body20.

“I use this time to remind myself that taking time away from my work is important for my soul. It helps me grow my passion because there is a true feeling of being refreshed and this is how inspiration grows within me.

“I believe that taking care of myself and my own well-being is important. Every women should apply it in their lives.”

Quality time with those close to her is an absolute must.

“I love people, my friends, my family and this is why I always make time to talk to them or to spend time with them. I believe that every person is only as amazing as their support system. This is why I love keeping my friends and family close, to support them and to soak up their support.”

Anything you are doing differently?

“I definitely rediscovered some of my passions, like my passion for cooking and I make time to read a book, something I’ve always loved doing. Taking time for myself by exercising and being active has also started to become more important to me again.

“I know Lockdown is very frustrating but it has forced me to review my quality of life. It has given me time for reflecting, keeping myself motivated and optimistic. I had time to build my fashion brand and making it relevant for the new world we will live in – in short it has forced me to think outside of the box which has brought a whole new world of ideas for me. After all of this I believe my attitude is everything, with every new day comes new thoughts, new ideas, new strengths and new choices. I have a new drive and the belief that I can become one of the biggest female fashion retailers in South Africa.”

QUICK FACTS

• Do you prefer food, travel or art?
Travel, food and art. There is beauty in all those things and you can find a way to appreciate them in all shapes and sizes because they go hand in hand for the most part.

• What is the one thing people don’t know about you?
I have a huge love for Italian history – the depth thereof fascinates me.

• Your ultimate spoil?
Sweetie Pies. This has to be the one thing I am most easily bribed with.

• Wardrobe must-haves?
Sloungerwear. It is as cute as a jumpsuit, something you can wear at home and out, not that you should be going out now.

• I never leave the house without?
My iPhone because I am always on it for business

• Indoors or outdoors?
Depends on my mood. I love being outdoors, there is something about it that can reset your soul. But with that being said, I do not have anything against binge-watching a Netflix series.

• What is your pet peeve?
Rude people. A little bit of kindness and friendliness goes a long way.

• Guilty pleasures?
Pleasures should not be considered guilty. The sky is the limit and I love being silly and enjoy life to its fullest.

• The motto you live by?
Stay humble, kind and honest.

• If you win R1-million, what will be the first thing you do?
Definitely plan a return trip to Italy to soak up the history a little bit longer. Start a fund to help women in abusive relationships to get back on their feet.

Text: Carina van der Walt

Photo: Melissa Schutte

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