Starting from selling skirts from the back of their car VW Beetle car in 2000 to friends and family. Vanya and her husband, Thando have built an enviable fashion business in South Africa encouraging citizens to not just be fashionable but embody the DNA of the South African fashion in their everyday lives.
Vanya was inspired by the way countries like Nigeria Zambia and Congo proudly wore their traditional attires in the most fashionable manner and was craving to start that same revolution in her home country.
“When I’d get off the aeroplane in Nigeria, I’d know I’m in Nigeria, because of their traditional wear. But in South Africa, it was not always the case because fashion didn’t exist as we know it today. It wasn’t always like this. It took a collective effort of community that was transitioning,” says Vanya.
It was those trips that encouraged her to start her own business in fashion. It was not easy. The challenges they faced were almost insurmountable but they pulled through.
The Mangalisos had five stores in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg but because managing all shops wasn’t easy, they closed three in 2009.
“We didn’t have a system that allowed us to manage a shop that was in Durban when we were in Johannesburg so we had to restructure our business. And we opted for the quality of the profit margin as opposed to the quantity,” says Vanya.
This was not the only problem the couple faced. R2 million ($150,000) got wiped out in one day as a result of a flood at their Rosebank store – a terrible moment for them.
In addition to the bad luck suffered because of nature, there was also an armed robbery at their home in Atholl in Johannesburg, in the middle of the night.
However, they rose above all these challenges and are growing stronger. Even at their worst time in business, they were creating products to make money.
For us at Leading Ladies, we love that with the Mangalisos it is all or nothing.