SEARCH engine Google and social media Facebook are at the forefront of a scramble to win over new Af.
Opened just over a year ago in the Morningside Shopping Centre, Johannesburg, the Si Belle exclusive ladies boutique has brought with it an expansion of owner Khosi Princess Mtshali's wardrobe-focused philosophy.
With her keen sense of style and fashion Mtshali has helped clients bolster their closets with essentials, while mixing in fun and more fleeting pieces.
Si Belle Exclusive Fashion Boutique attracts an eclectic clientele, including celebrities and politicians.
Unique pieces accentuate the female form and are fashion forward in a city that is constantly on the lookout for the latest trend.
Mtshali says her secret is that her clothes are not over-designed and are on par with current fashion trends.
"It's very hard to build a business on just an idea," Mtshali says. "You need facts, you need to do thorough research. Choosing items by feel, I gravitate toward sophisticated design over "in" colours or patterns. I like to introduce new silhouettes.
"This season, expect to see more structured garments at my store."
Mtshali left the corporate environment as a senior human resource adviser on the biggest rail project in South Africa, to pursue her love and passion for fashion. And thanks to her for giving ladies the latest fashions at affordable prices.
Having travelled abroad regularly to Paris, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong and Perth, among other major cities, presented her with the opportunity to do her personal shopping overseas. And she started getting orders from close friends and others.
This triggered the birth of Si Belle and the possibility of having her own boutique that provides limited quantities of unique styles, carefully and passionately selected from suppliers in Paris, Australia and the US, including collaborating with fashion designers.
Si Belle has adorned the likes of Miss SA - Bokang Montjane, Basetsane Khumalo, Sonia Sedibe, and Cosmopolitan editor Sbu Mpungose.
Si Belle's clothes have also featured in magazines such as True Love and Move.
Mtshali emphasises: "I strive to give clients current and timeless fashion trends. What we keep at the shop is a true reflection of the founder's style, so we source clothes women would love to wear over and over."
Si Belle also has plus-size fashion for fuller-figured women who don't want to compromise on style. The boutique focuses on ladie's' wear, costume jewellery, belts, hats- fascinators, bags and lingerie.
Advice for aspiring boutique owners?
"A person who is interested in becoming a boutique owner must have a grasp of the fashion industry. The boutique owner should also be ale to determine what type of fashion will sell in the part of the country where the boutique is located. Some fashion designs, while beautiful, simply won't sell in certain places," she says.
"A boutique can be full of beautiful clothes, but if no one is buying them, the boutique will go out of business."
Mtshali adds that fashion boutiques are more chic or upscale and offer personalised service and a cozy ambience and unique merchandise are offered here.
And patrons expect nothing less.