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Colourful creative

Keke Moeca oozes classic glamour and a sunny persona. A creative at heart, she chats about her love for all things leather and DIY projects.

In heels, a gorgeous dress and with her killer smile, she looks every inch the showstopper. We saw that at our cover shoot. During lockdown, she missed dressing up so much that she drove around the block … looking as chic as if she was about to strut her stuff on the runway.

But, don’t be fooled by her looks … she easily rocks the mom jeans and sneakers look to get her hands dirty with her latest DIY project or to create stunning pieces with leather.
‘I am a creative at heart who thrives on building something out of nothing. The truth is that once I’ve started a DIY adventure there’s no looking back! It’s addictive and there’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when you stand back and admire something you created, designed or built yourself.’

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Mother of two busy (and very adorable!) toddlers Kwadiwa and Kgabo, Keke works in the Corporate and Investment Banking division of a bank as a graphic designer, and is also the founder and owner of Rustic City. They craft exceptional leather products, ranging from belts, sunglass pouches, toiletry bags to tote, laptop and travel bags in their home studio.
She and husband Kevin started Rustic City in 2016 and have since established themselves as a premier brand in the leather industry. But how did it all started?

‘So many women spend a fortune on their wedding dress, I being one of them. I simply didn’t want it to gather dust in my closet, hoping that one day my daughter will wear it, so I figured I’d sell it. I didn’t want to blow that money on something frivolous, but rather reward myself with a new skill or hobby that would also enable me to generate an income. My love of self-empowerment made me explore leather crafting. With my mother’s assistance, I enrolled for the course. Once Kevin saw some of my creations he got inspired and we started Rustic City.

‘Having originally crafting leather bags for friends and family, we have since evolved into supplying handcrafted leather products to clients all over the country.’

Although they are creating their leather products after hours and on weekends, it is a dream to do this on a more permanent basis. Keke and Kevin used to do everything from start to finish, but with both working full time they often engage the services of a skilled person to assist and to ensure there is no delay in getting the final product to their clients.

Although there are four basic grains or qualities in leather (full-grain, top-grain, genuine and corrected-grain leather), Keke’s favourite type of leather to work with is full-grain.
‘Simply put, full-grain leather is the real deal, the best you can get. When people first hear the term ‘full-grain leather’ they sometimes think it means that the leather will look grainy or pebbly. That is not the case. Full-grain refers to the full, unadulterated hide in its natural form. As full-grain leather ages rather than wearing out, it burnishes and beautifies, developing a much sought-after patina and unique character that cannot be duplicated easily. Truly, the more you use it, the better it looks and feels.

‘Leather gives you value for money – it is durable, timeless, and who doesn’t love the smell and feel of it? Next, I would love to include leather shoes and jackets in our product range. It’s a classic wardrobe staple that can last years if you take good care of it.’

And that is not where Keke’s creativity stops … She loves nothing more than getting stuck into DIY projects, and repainting and decorating as often as possible. For her, there’s no greater satisfaction than perfectly accessorising a room.

‘We’re constantly looking for ideas to spruce up our home. The most recent project is the German smear wall we did in our braai area (the wall used to look so blah), all done following some Pinterest boards and Instagram pages. If you’re looking for a cost-effective upgrade to an existing exposed brick wall without having to redo or compromise the structure, then you should definitely consider this whitewashed/ shabby chic finish.

As if Keke is not keeping herself busy enough, she is also a Mrs SA Top 50 semi-finalist who will embark on a journey of fundraising, networking and self-development.

‘People have a lot of misconceptions about women entering beauty pageants. They tend to think that it is all about flaunting your physical beauty. I feel I must go on a growth journey by stepping out of my comfort zone. Your comfort zone is not where the magic happens and I firmly believe as women and community builders, we have to give from a full cup – we cannot care for others without caring for ourselves first. I hope my journey to self will inspire women, young and old, to be kind to themselves, always.’

Details: www.therusticcity.com or follow them on Facebook and Instagram

WIN! We’re giving away an Aviwe toiletry bag to the value of R950. To stand in line to win, simply visit our GetItJoburgWest Facebook page, like the post and tag a friend. Entries close September 30. Ts & Cs apply.

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