JOURNAL ENTRY JUNE / JULY 2017
Okay, so when I was setting up the website I was asked to give a little information about who I am, my experience, my education and all those things that have become so important in this marvelous world.
And Yes I am educated and yes I do have some Diplomas, including an interior decorating diploma, floating around somewhere that I can attach to my CV if ever needed and yes my experience in life has turned out to be my most fulfilling.
A teacher once told me many many years ago and I will never forget it, she pulled me aside one day after an accounting lesson and she said, Vanessa a person doesn’t have to be clever in life but they can be smart. Well that is something I have carried around with me, and whenever I couldn’t spell a word or do a multiplication or had difficulty trying to achieve something I really wanted, those words stood fast and I found a solution. However just to add I still can’t spell.
So here goes
I owe my life strength to my amazing huge family, being one of 7 children you learn everything, how to bargain, how to pass blame, how to negotiate, how to share and most importantly how to love and pull though with faith at any trails in life.
My late husband and two amazing Children have given me the gift of knowing how to truly deeply love and be loved.
My school years foundation was set at St Roses Convent (jip, Irish Dominican nuns).
Although my young jobs were an amazing introduction to the working world, I am going to hit straight to where my love for Fabrics, design and textures arrived.
I arrived at Court Fabrics where the interview was organized by my loving late husband and he still helped me with filling in the application took it in and got me to the interview on time. To my surprise I was hired. At that time it was Courthiel Velours and had just been taken over by Claas Daun.
Over the 21 years, with the support of the people and management that allowed me to grow and study and learn first hand what warps and wefts were. The weavers that taught me to do a weavers knot and some tough Afrikaans words.
My eager enthusiasm and perseverance led me to new heights within the company and as it was in South Africa at that time, Woven textile designers had to come from overseas and this was just another field for me, that hard work and will power and lots of looking over shoulders to see how it’s done and studying the manuals till late into the nights earned its fruit. It opened chapters in my life that got me designing for Woolworths and Boardmans and then the overseas market and traveling to World Trade shows, putting up stands in Belgium and Italy, having the stress of boxes landing up in Amsterdam and leaving only but a few hours through the night to put up stand and have it all ready for the opening.
I was also given the position to head the Design department and we were an amazing team.
Then disaster stuck, the once thriving factories, started closing down one after the other as the imports kept flowing though into South Africa costing thousands and thousands of true South Africans their jobs their livelihood and their many generations of passed down experience.
Court Fabrics sadly, was one of them and I was fortunate but sad to be kept on to close up and with a new team of people, we cut up the factory to make ready for new tenants. This also included setting up a temporary outlet for Tommy Hilfiger clothing that had come in.
When all this was done it led me to help with sales in the Boland area for Fabric Library who at that stage still belonged to the group.
I then got a phone call from Jimmy Ferondinos who was also experienced in a big manufacturing company and with his wife and partners started up Linen Drawer.
I took on one of their agencies. Well it was like I had three customers in the beginning, but over the many years now and with amazing top end product and a very supportive team of people, I am so proud to say Linen Drawer has grown from strength to strength and so grateful for the many wonderful customers.
Jimmy and Mary have become more than employers to me, they are people that still carry integrity and loyalty and people to be trusted. I already have a huge family, but to me they are like an extension of Greek family to me.
A very good friend and I also tried our hand at setting up a company with a collection of South Africa woven fabrics where we wanted to use beautiful cotton warps with silk and linen wefts in sort after trendy colours. This unfortunately had to come to an end as the setting up and most yarn suppliers had also closed down and was working out to expensive, as we had to bring the yarns in from overseas, and I was using a mill in Pretoria, so lots of flying to and fro.
As life can always knock you down with one wind then lift you up with another, I got a call from a human resource agency who I had met with at the closing of Court Fabrics and he asked me if I could help out at Nettex doing fabric sales in the Boland/ Winelands and surrounding area.
Yes of course I would, so I stepped into my shaky stilettos and white dress that I wouldn’t normally wear and off I went. Well it was a factory and I mean it must have been built like maybe a century ago or okay maybe not that old but old. And then while waiting for the interview I spot one man come out of the office with a neck brace (Factory manager) and then a few minutes later another man comes through opposite doors also in a neck brace ( I am not even going to say what went through my mind, but I persevered) only much later found out he was the MD, and he was in and out the interview I was having with Adolf, and after a few days that I had started working their Adolf said, you do know Adrian is the Managing Director hey? So, then we were formally introduced, and this time no neck brace.
Where do I start, If I had to tell you that all the years of corporate image and what to say and not to say, all the acquired ego one needs to perform in the corporate world, it wouldn’t have meant a thing to what I had just stepped into, but read on cause maybe for the very first time in my life I had to learn to “chill” yes as I started to get used to this other way of working where really nobody is superior to the next it’s a platform where everyone says it exactly as it is, a place where the kitchen lady had as much say as the managers, if not more, and the mindset I quickly learnt was, there is no bosses we all here to do our job and that is that.
Fridays were my best, it was the one day a week that I came into office be there for a meeting or not, cause if sales were up and orders coming in I was told what do you want a meeting for? So again, I learned to chill this over excited highly strung body and mind.
If Trevor Noah or Marc Lottering think they are funny, they should have stepped a day in at Nettex, because the sense of humor and the personalities I am yet to come across. We also had the highlight of having the movie THE GIVER with certain sets shot at the factory and you would think that with all these international super stars like Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes and Taylor Swift to name a few, there would be chaos and staff wanting to get closer looks and autographs, but no it was like any ordinary days at Nettex. I even got excited when I happen to arrive one day and walking to the office, here Meryl Streep comes chauffeur driven through the gates in a big black car with her big shades on but I held myself in check and behaved.
Nettex, together with Linen Drawer was to be my forever jobs, but it wasn’t to be as the news hit my ears that another factory was closing and jip dear Nettex it was. A company that got me to laugh again and to see the funnier side of life was now going to close.
So with the tragedy of losing my precious husband, my dearest mom and Nettex closure all within about a year and half, it left me in shatters.
And that brings me to my new venture which came about through many 3am tears. I have stood up blown my nose and started SHOW ROOM ON WHEELS, something that came to me through the wee hours of the morning and within three weeks had it up and going with 5 wonderful agencies. Is this my gift from above?
I also have to mention, that I have been so privileged to be able to do many years of voluntary works in helping and bringing comfort within organizations in Paarl, to Vulnerable children as well as Ministry to aged and sick. A calling that humbles and keeps me grounded and so grateful for the many daily blessings taken for granted.
I begin the next chapter in my life, and looking so forward to working and supplying wonderful product to you all.