By Charndré Emma Kippie
Chanayé Pillay is a Durban-born entrepreneur from Port Shepstone, now living in Sibaya, Durban, who has grown up in the clothing and textile manufacturing industry. She is the driving force behind HUGIO – a new proudly South African manufactured sleep and loungewear brand which has launched just in time to celebrate the upcoming Christmas season.
After studying Business Management, Chanayé cemented herself in the industry solely by her passion and love for the industry and not due to being technically trained in the discipline. She was always intrigued at how magazines like Vogue have shaped the fashion industry and gave designers a voice. This led to Chanayé attending the Vogue Intensive Summer Course at the Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design in London, in 2015.
After working in the industry for such a long time and with deep respect and appreciation for good clothing, coupled with something unique to offer, a fashion brand has always been set on her heart. Hence, HUGIO was born.
Please tell us a bit about your background
I grew up in and schooled in Port Shepstone, and studied business management at varsity college. Following which I joined the family business, in 2015. I attended a Vogue Summer Intensive Program at the Conde Nast School of Fashion and Design in London.
How did your journey into entrepreneurship begin?
I’ve witnessed my parents become successful entrepreneurs for the most part of my life. At 23, I joined their garment manufacturing business. I started learning the processes of every department, and really worked my way through it. It was significantly challenging as the industry is excessively demanding and high pace. Inherently I’ve always wanted to create in some form or other. I found a deep love for fashion and simultaneously fell in love with processes and systems. Surprisingly my first venture into creating was in fact a system. It was nothing fantastic at the time but a few years later became the footprint into creating and developing a manufacturing ERP System for the company. Through the years, despite my eagerness and desire to launch something in fashion, I focused on learning as much I could within the industry and the business. I failed numerous times but learnt all the more. Launching Hugio at this time and moment in my life, felt fitting.
Congratulations on the launch of your business, HUGIO. What is your vision for the future of this brand?
Thank you! I see Hugio being a household name, synonymous for comfort and quality. The fit is truly everything in clothing. The goal is to create collections that provide need based items with a bit of sass and flare. To create trustworthiness between customers and the brand, to be reliable and grow the platform to develop stores nationwide.
When people purchase your products, what do you hope their experience will be?
To be honest I truly hope they feel a sense of love. Simply because, even in the smallest acts of development I poured a lot of love into it, and truly envisioned various scenes of families on Christmas Eve. I hope it adds a bit of joy and sparkle and becomes a memorable Christmas for them. I hope they appreciate the detail and quality of the product as well and that they feel as though their money is well spent and that they’ve received value for it.
What 3 tips do you have for young women entrepreneurs?
- Know your craft well, extremely well. Learn everything, as much as there is to know, and be the best at it and never stop learning! Work smart, but work hard, every laboured effort adds value to you and your business.
- Don’t be afraid, especially If you’re certain of yourself and sure you’re able to realise your dream. Just go for it! Anticipate setbacks, don’t be discouraged by them. Reset as quickly as possible and persevere to move through it.
- Produce quality work, in simple things, from writing out waybills to selling your products. It goes a long way and leaves a lasting impression.
What’s the best piece of business advice you have ever received?
“Never buy things on credit if you don’t have 50% of the value to deposit”
Are there any outreach initiatives, social projects or community work that you’re involved with at the moment?
A few years ago I started a praise and worship band called The Shift, where kids of various youth groups and orphanages would come out and connect and praise God together. We’d provide food and drinks each month and best council or redirect those struggling with personal challenges or in need of assistance.
Have you read any books that have inspired you as an entrepreneur?
The last book I read was called The Esther Anointing: Becoming a Woman of Prayer, Courage, and Influence by Michelle McClain-Walters. It’s not business related in any regard, though it did help me realise my value as a woman, particularly as a woman on the brink of stepping out by faith and pouring myself into something new and being completely dependent on Christ for it.
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