Bedfordview businesswoman Di Thompson is one of those women with a personality which lingers like a thought, or rather like the perfect mixture of a subtle fragrance.
As soon as the quick introductions were over and Di had the floor, it was clear her passion lay in what she did for a living as she shared her story which led to the creation of the award-winning SA fine fragrance, dimanzi eau de parfum.
She also recently launched a new men’s fragrance, diMANzi for men, at an exclusive event held in Bedfordview.
Growing up as the only child of late Springbok cricket legend Eric Rowan and her late mother, June Callaghan, a SA ice skating champion, her bar in life was already set quite high, but the drive in her parents also instilled in her discipline and determination to succeed.
After matriculating from Jeppe High School for Girls, Di completed a BA degree at the University of the Witwatersrand, majoring in fine art with English and French as subjects.
Building a career
She was invited to study at the prestigious house of Guerlian, Paris. While in Paris, she fell in love with the beauty industry and returned to SA to take up the position of the Guerlain area manager in KwaZulu-Natal.
Despite her success, the entrepreneur in her called for her to start her own business, so she opened Le Visage Boutique Salon in Bedfordview.
Le Visage has been running for 30 years.
“For me, Le Visage is a haven where you can come pamper, perfume and play.”
She described the most satisfying part of her career as, “Doing what I love and loving what I do. I also have the opportunity to empower other women.”
“In 2014, Rowan, my late son, discussed the development of products for Le Visage. He felt that I knew so much about this industry and that it was time to have my own brand.
“We started off with our Le Visage Esprit room reed diffuser, which has been extremely successful.
“This led to the idea of developing a fine fragrance for South Africa on the same level as existing top brands.
“After some deep thought we decided to call it dimanzi, which originated from my name Di and the Zulu translated word for water, ‘manzi’.
“We loved the name because we felt it identified with our enchanting African spirit. We needed a fragrance that resonated with the name, so our first dimanzi for women is a fresh, floral and energetic composition.”
There sure is a certain flair about dimanzi. Not only in the fragrance but also in the choice of the bottle and the finer detail, which rounds off the package and spells excellence and elegance.
Although dimanzi is produced locally, they use essential oils from Grasse in France, which is home to the world’s greatest perfumes.
Di described dimanzi as a rainbow floral green fragrance with fresh and woody notes, capturing the essence of our African spirit and aligning it with true French chic.
For Di and her team, dimanzi is a dream in the making and a day-to-day experience.
“We were truly excited to be awarded Editors’ Choice of 2018 by the SA Pharmaceutical Revue. It was not expected but it was truly gratifying that our efforts had been rewarded.
“We were further honoured by the SA Department of Trade and Industry, having acknowledged us and invited us to an international beauty expo in New York City in March, which, unfortunately, was cancelled due to Covid-19.
“A huge disappointment but we are not distressed. We know our brand is powerful and we have gone ahead with many challenges to launch diMANzi during these trying times.”
And yes, they have many exciting plans for the future to add and expand the dimanzi brand, and these are already on the dream board to create even more magic.
One of her biggest challenges in her career was losing her only child, Rowan, and trying to stay focused and regain her purpose.
“Somehow, this tragic event gave me renewed spirit and determination to leave a legacy and be grateful for his unwavering inspiration and support.
“As a little boy, he was my precious pebble and later on he became my creative rock.”
Your motto in life?
“In business, Rowan and I shared the motto of ‘there are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going’ and so we never compromised with the quality and service at Le Visage.
“On a more personal level, an old Chinese proverb has always influenced me. ‘Life is like a tiger…you either lie down and let him put his paw on your back or you get on his back and you ride him’. Failure is only failure if you don’t dust yourself off, get back on your horse, dress up, show up and never give up. It is about choices, not circumstances.”
Di shares fragrance facts
- Choose a fragrance that captures your individuality and makes you feel comfortable. I believe the way we smell reflects our personality and well-being.
- Take your time choosing a fragrance. Always remember there’s a difference between a fine and synthetic fragrance. Synthetic fragrances tend to smell the same on everyone, whereas a fine fragrance will adapt to the PH of your skin, and give a true reflection of how it resonates with your personal chemistry.
- A fragrance suits you if you like the smell, and if you get compliments when wearing it.
- For the best results, never apply fragrance in moderation … rather in abundance. Start by layering it on your underwear, particularly in your cleavage area and behind your neck in the hairline.
- When you are dressed, spray on your clothing from a slight distance. Avoid your jewellery and any silk type garments. People make the mistake of just putting a dab on their pulse points.
- Always avoid wearing any fragrance where the skin is exposed to the sun, as this causes pigmentation in the long run.
- Remember a fine fragrance is created with essential oils and has a true evaporation curve. In the first few minutes, you will smell the top notes, afterwards the middle notes and finally the base notes when the fragrance has completely settled on your particular skin.
- During the day, if you’re in a working environment with other people, you need a fragrance that is not too invasive. Whereas in the evening you may wish to wear something stronger and sensual. My opinion is that fragrance choice is more for an occasion.
- People also often want to know whether they should choose something flowery or spicy. Again, this is a personal preference. Floral fragrances tend to be more sweet, and spicy ones more exotic. Depends on your pallet!
* Text: Carina van der Walt. Photo: David Dodds.