Female-empowered household inspires young architect to launch her own jewellery brand
Mthatha-born architecture student Sesethu Mbonisweni has fused her passion for fashion with her love for architecture and design with her accessories label, Hey Sessy. Her love for expressing herself through fashion was birthed by her love for her grandmother’s style.
“My grandmother was a person who loved wearing hats whenever we would go out. Even if it was a funeral she would want to stand out from a crowd,” shares Mbonisweni.
Hey Sessy takes its name from a number of friends who would often mispronounce Mbonisweni’s name after she moved to Johannesburg. While Mbonisweni initially started creating her own accessories for personal use, she found that she could still make a profit from her talent.
Hey Sessy products are made from timber with an expansion to silver, gold and marble. Starting the business was no easy feat. To market her business and increase sales Mbonisweni put up posters and shared about it through word of mouth at church and campaign T-shirts.
Thanks to the woman she has been brought up by, Mbonisweni says she has a big focus on empowering other women. Mbonisweni says she wants other women to know that they do not have to depend on men to succeed.
“I’m a black woman studying architecture and I am entering a male-dominated industry,” says Mbonisweni. “I am trying to push that you can do it, no matter what, no matter where you come from.”
Other than her own savings, Mbonisweni received a lot of support from the women in her family who helped leverage her with start-up capital. With her business officially registered, Mbonisweni says it is very important that young entrepreneurs do more research prior to starting their own businesses.
“Talk to as many people [as possible who have been in the industry, talk to people who are also starting, talk to your banks.”
To see more of Mbonisweni’s creations, you can follow her @heysessy_ on Instagram.