I love pretty underwear so was most excited to come across Takkleberry's lacy knickers and bralettes, locally designed and made in South Africa. I caught up with owner Taryn King, whose passion for the brand is evident; she shares her inspiration, entering the local market, her future plans and dreams:
The gorgeous owner Taryn King
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I live in Cape Town with my bullterrier pup, Badger who has taught me to throw caution to the wind, to not take life too seriously and to live in the moment. When I'm not in the studio or having conversations with dogs I meet in the park, you'll find me getting lost in the mountains. I'm an avid trail runner and like to keep my office-to-mountain hours pretty much balanced. Getting out into nature completely relaxes me, providing me with perspective and energy. I love the feeling of heading out into the mountains with bare essentials, literally unplugging from the world.
About the name T a k k l e b e r r y:
My nickname from when I was a kid was Takkie which then evolved into Takkle. I heard somebody call me 'Takkleberry' once and I liked it! A Takkleberry is also like a hardcore utility belt, (think moonbag on steroids! ) used by superheroes and officers to carry their weapons, which I thought was pretty bad-ass!
The Inspiration Behind the Brand:
I've always loved pretty, feminine things; polka dot socks with frilly trims, floral headbands; delicately embroidered scarves, pjs with lace trims and pockets and ruffles and mostly I love pretty underwear! My wardrobe is a collection of beautiful pieces that mean something to me, whether there's a story behind how I came to own them or because of the way they make me feel when wearing them.
'Some days are blue jeans and white t-shirt days and some days I want to be a fairy with flowers in my hair. But it's not everyday you can leave the house in a Clown Suit just because you woke up feeling playful and ridiculous! And that's the beauty of underwear - it's for you alone. You can be rocking a pair of baby-blue-highrise-knickers and a frilly bralette you picked up in a thrift store in Sorento, no matter what the dress code calls for'.
'I'm all about delicate fibres and textures that feel wonderful on my skin. The tricky thing when it comes to underwear is finding pieces that are both beautiful to look at AND which feel beautiful on! I recently cleared out my lingerie drawers and tossed so many items which I had held onto for so long because they were just too lovely to part with and trying them on again, I remembered just why I have never actually worn them- life is too short for camel-toe and hungry-bum underwear!
I am always on the scout for pretty, comfy panties to add to my collection. And to be honest it's a battle. Finding underwear in South Africa that is vaguely affordable, well made and not mass produced in China is next to impossible. T a k k l e b e r r y 's vision is to change that.
How it Began:
'I did research on producing my own line and there are some disheartening stories about the clothing manufacturing industry in South Africa; the many factories bought by Chinese companies just to be shut down. As a result there are so many highly talented seamstresses, machinists, pattern makers with decades of experience and world class skills, that are now out of work'.
'I met many wonderful men and women who have been sewing garments for 40 years, who found the industry they had dedicated their lives to implode around them. The disappearance of big factories has meant that some have since started up mini home-based factories of their own, but in order to compete with the big dogs they end up working for next to nothing".
My business partner:
One of the amazing women I met is vibrant and sassy Claudine, an incredible machinist, and best of all , is an 'ideas woman', helping me shape, visualize and run the Takkleberry brand as a business. Meeting wonderful people like Claudine with their heartfelt stories had me rethink my own purchasing habits as well as the impact I have as an entrepreneur.
Claudine's dream was to start her own clothing manufacturing operation, but lacked the capital, so I was able to invest in Claudine's vision, and together we are a rockstar team indeed! Claudine's in charge of the production team, quality controller, head machinist, and most important, the person who keeps me in check and keeps me laughing. My best days are spent in Claudine's studio, drinking coffee with the ladies, laughing and talking about our big plans.
Plans for the Future:
Our focus is on creating beautiful underwear to happy bums around South Africa. We're overwhelmed with the way TAKKLEBERRY has been received since launching in December, and already selling at our current production capacity, which is fabulous! Our plan within the next few months is to do some collaborations with other local brands which emulate our business philosophy and to stock physical stores as well. Watch this space!
On the CMT side of things, our growing team is moving into bigger studio space to allow Claudine and team the opportunity to take on more contracts from other start up businesses who share our mindset. Our dream is to see the clothing manufacturing industry in Cape Town rebuilt in a way which is is sustainable, fair, collaborative and inclusive.
The way forward:
I am so excited to come across entrepreneurs and designers who are following the global movement toward sustainable and ethical fashion and lifestyle choices. It's no longer okay to shop unconsciously, nor okay to run a business without your impact on your community and the world around you being at the forefront of your decisions. Like all things, this takes time, but I believe we'll get there.
For now, we have a responsibility as producers to educate other producers; to collaborate; to share ideas and resources. Not to exploit local independent producers but rather to empower them and help grow the industry we operate in. To upskill our people and offer opportunities for the younger generation to get involved to protect the longevity of the industry and of our own businesses.
Most importantly we have a responsibility as consumers. To talk to our friends, parents, colleagues, children about how we can contribute; and to put each other under pressure to think about the bigger impact of our actions and choices".
(I love Taryn's passion as not only talented, but is one of the gorgeous models in images above -HOT or what!!)
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Happy Friday peeps!!