Designing clothes for her dolls as a little girl inspired Eulenda Sambo (33) to become a fashion designer, and now she gets to dress people instead of toys.
Growing up in Daantjie in Mpumalanga, Sambo used to watch her mother sew curtains at home. One day, her parents bought a toy sewing machine for her, which functioned similarly to a real machine.
She would cut her mother’s head-wraps to create clothing for her dolls, which she would sew using her toy machine. Little did she know that one day she would own a fashion design business called Eullydoll Designs and Screen Printing.
She is the sole owner of the company, which she established in 2010.
“The first item I made for myself was a skirt cut out from my late dad’s camouflage jacket while I was a Grade 10 learner. It was hand sewn,” Sambo said.
“I do not have a fashion design qualification; I taught myself everything I know,” she said.
When she arrived in Pretoria to study for a qualification in media studies and journalism almost a decade ago, the first few places she familiarised herself with were fabric shops in the city centre and throughout her tertiary years, she used to wear her own hand-crafted designs.
Today, she designs and manufactures clothes for clients in Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Gauteng.
She has dressed individuals who participated in events such as the Miss Mpumalanga and Miss Tourism Universe South Africa beauty pageants.
Her company was invited to Torino in Italy to showcase its very first ready-to-wear 20-piece collection at Torino Fashion Week 2018 and again this year, to showcase 25 ready-to-wear designs at the 2019 event.
Sambo is also looking forward to Mozambique Fashion Week 2019, where she will also be showcasing a collection of 15 ready-to-wear pieces.
“This was made possible by the support I received from the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA),” she said.
SEDA helped her address the challenges her business faced, including the lack of proper marketing tools and limited business management skills.
Through these interventions, Sambo managed to get more customers, make more profit and is able to manage her business better.
Sambo works from home and has managed to create two permanent jobs through her business.
“I design and sew the clothes. My mother also assists with finishing touches,” she said.
She hopes to create more jobs in the future, once the company has its own studio.
“I honestly believe that as women in business, we have the power to move mountains, but we have to start by moving stones first,” she said.