Women in Business

Category Market Trends and Industry News

A Women's Week Feature: Annie Swan, a broker from Find An Office in Cape Town, recently signed a deal with Hoiden, a fashion design label. They will be moving into their new High Street premises in Rosenpark soon. Annie interviewed the owners, Marjorie van der Merwe and Esté Chambers. Here's what they had to say...

Where did your dream of owning a South African Fashion House originate? 

Marjorie and I studied Fashion Design at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth together. After our studies we both created our own separate casual wear labels. We did many fashion shows together and quickly realized that we just love each other's work. I was then invited to showcase a range at SA Fashion Week which is where we decided to launch a label together called Hoiden. We were very young (22) and very excited about our new venture, but I don't think we ever imagined that we would be where we are today.

Names of celebs seen wearing Hoiden? 

Miss Universe, Ziphozakhe Zokufa, as well as model and TV personality, Mikaela Oosthuizen.

Which celebrity would you like the most to present your brand (local or international)? 

Anyone attending a Royal wedding!

I noticed that you two share a birthday? 

Yes, we were born on the same day, but we are not twins or sisters! Sometimes it is scary how we can read each other's minds, or think the exact same thing at the same time. We always joke that it is because we are birthday twins.

Any tips for “brides to be”? 

Just enjoy the day. We see so many brides who are so stressed about everything and in the end they realize that it wasn't worth the stress. 

Could you highlight a few of your favourite milestones? 

Our first big milestone was employing a seamstress. For 2 years Marjorie and I were sewing everything ourselves in her bedroom. (We now have 20 seamstresses on our factory floor.) Then opening our first shop in Port Elizabeth and now off course opening a branch in Cape Town.

What advice do you have for other young female entrepreneurs out there? 

It might sound cheesy and predictable, but the key to success really is to just not give up and not be scared of new opportunities. Our favourite saying is "What if I fall? Oh but darling, what if you fly?".

What advice do you have for other business owners looking for premises? 

If it's meant to happen, then it will happen. If not, then there is probably something better out there for you. Annie from Find An Office made our search really easy, especially because we are in another city and couldn't do the viewings ourselves. She was magnificent in helping us find the perfect spot.

When can we expect the Cape Town launch? 

Our opening is on 25 August and we are looking forward to meeting all our new and existing Cape Town fans.

To view more of Annie's office listings go to

Author: Nicky

Submitted 07 Aug 18 / Views 1023