Home Lifestyle & Travel Lifestyle Stitching her way to success

Stitching her way to success

For Rianca de Wet it all started with a reasonable request to design and make a unique men’s button-down shirt. Today she is the founder, co-owner and director of the biggest Afrikaans online shopping website in the country.

‘About two years ago, Johan Jansen van Vuuren and I were on our way back from visiting my parents in Bethlehem. Whilst admiring the Free State’s rolling hills and wide golden plains, Johan, out of the blue, complained that there was a serious lack of stylish men’s button-down shirts.’

Still engrossed in the awe-inspiring surroundings, Rianca happily promised Johan she would design and make him a shirt that would take his breath away.

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And that’s exactly what she did!

Her promise led to her making six shirts, nine ties, two pairs of trousers and a bow tie. Johan was so impressed he convinced her to oil her sewing machine and start designing clothes for everyone in South Africa.

‘We love following the latest fashion trends. We joke and say we like our money where we can see it every day … hanging in our closet!’ And since both were looking for a new challenge, they took the plunge and started Klerekas.com a month later, and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

Although Rianca studied to become a teacher, and was a modern dance and ballet instructor for six years (nowadays she only has time to dance in the shower or in her car) she has had a knack for and interest in clothing design from a very young age.

‘My sisters and I loved everything about fashion and made sure that our Barbie dolls were dressed in the latest trends. Luckily, my mother is quite the sewing pro and she spent hours behind her sewing machine to make us the trendy clothes we wanted but could not find in any clothing store.

‘Honestly, I have no formal training in fashion design. I just have my mother to thank. She taught us the basic skills of fashion and clothing design, which came in handy when we started the Klerekas.com adventure.’

At Klerekas.com you can shop for pretty much anything you can think of clothing- and accessory-wise, for both men and women. They only make use of local designers and resources, and give other entrepreneurs the opportunity to sell their products on the website. One of their success stories is the stylish handmade face masks. During lockdown, they created more than 40 jobs to assist with making and packing the masks –  they were one of the biggest suppliers in the country.

‘One of our favourite projects to date is definitely our vellies. Who would have thought that the plain, boring veld shoe will get a second chance and become a fashion statement to young and old? We make our own from 100 per cent leather, in a variety of styles and colours. Once you own a pair it’s hard to go back to wearing any other shoe. Not only are they versatile but they can be dressed up or down, and will last forever! I don’t see them going out of style very soon.’

Rianca is currently working on the site’s Spring/ Summer range, as well as baby and toddler products, which she cannot wait to share. For now her lips are sealed, but she promised us that there are a few lekker surprises customers can look forward to.

As for customers … they have quite a few celebs who love their products … think Joshua na die Reën, ADAM, Frank Opperman, Kaleidoskoop, Leon Gropp, Len Muller, Donnalee Roberts and Ivan Botha.

‘They say that when you love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. I love what I do, so my job doesn’t feel like work at all. It makes the long hours, and the blood, sweat and tears worth it. I live by the saying that at the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling.’

 

Fun facts:

• She would love to design an outfit for Nataniël

• Her friends describe her as the blond girl, wearing a tutu dress with high heels

• She has a chaotic closet that is too small for all her clothes and accessories

• Her five springtime must-haves are scrunchies, a dress, sneakers, sunhat and beautiful hair clips

• She will never be seen without lipstick and mascara

Follow Klerekas.com on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Text: RIALIEN FURSTENBERG. Image: DANÉ VAN NIEKERK.

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