At Tomy, we believe that women entrepreneurs should be celebrated. That’s why we’re committed to spotlighting and supporting their success stories. We’ve been privileged to feature several exceptional female-founded enterprises so far, and we’re excited to introduce our next spotlight; ONEOFEACH, a luxury African fashion brand located in Cape Town.
Where It All Started – The Family Business
ONEOFEACH was founded by local mother-daughter dream-team, Pauline and Tamburai Chirume in 2014 and from the beginning, the two brought their own creative experience to the table. Pauline has over thirty-five years of experience working as a fashion designer and contemporary visual artist. This, combined with Tamburai’s experience in retail fashion management and working with major fashion magazines, made them the perfect duo.
Committed to Sustainable Fashion & Upholding African Traditions
One of the many things that makes ONEOFEACH so special is Tamburai and Pauline’s commitment to keeping their handmade items sustainable, by using off-cut material to craft each of their products.
“Our customers understand the value behind sustainability and the fact that having ‘one of each’ means that we are not mass producing, but that we are taking our time to create and craft something that is unique and different, designed and made with them in mind. I think this is the direction in which conscious consumption is headed,” says Tamburai, who serves as Managing Director.
ONEOFEACH products range from handmade accessories, coats, bags and even home décor. Each item is created using modern fibres inspired by traditional ethnic prints from all over Africa. Making use of handwoven fabrics like Kente, Bogolan and Ankara cloth, their products are dyed naturally, before adding embellishments, embroidery, and beaded-detail to create high-quality, well-thought-out, artistic masterpieces.
Giving Opportunities to Local Women in our Community
Social responsibility is just as important as business and environmental sustainability at ONEOFEACH. Tamburai and Pauline are striving to build an impact-based fashion empire and are passionate about working with young women, mainly from underserved communities, who aspire to be the future pioneers of the African fashion industry.
“We believe that if young women learn fashion skills, they have the ability to do so much. That’s why we launched The African Academy of Fashion to teach young women the skills of constructing garments and accessories from start to finish,” says Tamburai.
Since 2019, Pauline and Tamburai have provided hands-on training to over 100 women and have helped to place 60% of these women in employment in the fashion industry so far (with more to come!).
ONEOFEACH – Growth and Future Success
ONEOFEACH’s store is currently based at the Waterfront in Cape Town, serving locals and tourists. The women-led business has organically attracted an international market with most clients coming from the USA. In fact, in 2021 and 2022, ONEOFEACH was awarded the South African Exporter of the Year Award for its export successes to the USA under AGOA (The African Growth and Opportunity Act).
Being a slow fashion brand means producing less, however ONEOFEACH aims to keep contributing to diversity and equality, while reviving the traditional artisanal craft and manufacturing industry.
It’s not just a brand name. It’s a culture, a movement, and a lifestyle.
Do you know any women-founded or -led businesses that you think are doing the most? Let us know on our socials @tomytakkies, and they could be featured next!