Why did you join the shoe industry?/Where did your journey begin?
I think I've always had a passion to make things. Since I was 14 years old I've made my own clothes because my mother refused to buy me the things I liked, so I bought the patterns and materials and made my own clothes. I even made my own wedding dress.
Then I started a shop in Pretoria in 1996. then I bought over the 2 shops in cape town. Tourism is the second biggest industry in South Africa after the mining industry, and I thought I would be silly if we didn't tap into that market.
A lot of people don't know this, but you actually have a huge connection to the company name, can you elaborate?
I grew up on a farm in the Freestate where my African name was Matsidiso. When I decided to engage with the tourism market, I thought the company needed a name that people could connect with, and that’s when Matsidiso the brand was born.
What keeps you going on days where you feel like nothing is working?
You’ll always have problems. Some days you’ll have more than other days you’ll have less, but it's up to you to solve them.
What are your words to live by
Lift yourself, by yourself and refine.
Do you see yourself a mentor? Someone people in this industry can look up to?
Yes, definitely. I think I should be mentoring more people, (laughs) but I mentor quite a few people already.
What is your ultimate favourite Matsidiso shoe?
The Dineo bootie in green. I actually have a few colours already, but I like the green.
A lot of people don't know this, but you actually design & help make Matsidiso’s sandals. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Jinae will send me reference images and then I see what I can make from that. I also see what other people are wearing and see if I cant recreate something like that in my own way.
What are your thoughts on slow/sustainable fashion?
I think its absolutely amazing and it's definitely the way we should go as a brand.
What is one of your guilty pleasures?
I don't have guilt when I have pleasure. I have my pleasure and I enjoy it, sorry. (laughs)
Why do you think it’s important to support local brands?
because it's for our own survival. If we don't support local brands then how must they survive? It's like being disloyal to your family.
How does it feel to be a woman, in a mostly male-run industry
I feel just like a male would. I stand my ground. It's quite surprising that they (men) expect you not to know nothing, but once they realize that you are part of the industry they do accept you, its never really been about me being a woman.
What is your favourite process of this business?
If the quality of the products are amazing and we’re able to ship on time.
If we can fulfil the agreement of delivering on time then that makes me happy, because then the customers trust us to order from us again.
How do you successfully run a company?
Follow your heart. I think there's a lot of ideas and out there but you have to adjust the recipe in such a way that it works for you. It's your recipe.
Wise and inspiring words to live by, thank you, Antoinette, for sharing a bit of insight into your journey in footwear.