Background info on Prisca Kloot
I’m a 22-year old bag designer who lives in Cape Town. My mother is a talented seamstress and businesswoman and I learned a lot from her when I was growing up but never took the time to learn how to sew. After matric, I took a gap year and found I really enjoyed knitting and sewing, and also started watching YouTube videos to learn what I could. I made some scarves, clothes and bags, and even started selling some items at that time. I reached the stage where I wanted to make a coat but got stuck when I had to draft a pattern. Someone told me about the Clothing Production course at Northlink College so I decided to study. I carried on sewing bags while studying and I also worked as an intern at various companies during the college holidays which helped me understand something about the fashion industry. Clothing Production was a really great course and taught me entrepreneurship skills, fashion illustration, pattern-making, and how to sew menswear, ladies wear, evening gowns and tailored suits.
How Coupe & Couture came about
After finishing the course at Northlink, my husband (I was married by then!) and I started talking seriously about starting a business. We didn’t really know what to go into but after thinking carefully, we realised that making bags was something I had always enjoyed and was good at, and Northlink gave me the skills to pursue this passion. In February 2017 we registered our business which we called ‘Coupe et Couture’ which means ‘cutting and sewing’ in French
What were your challenges when you started out?
One of our challenges early on was finding a suitable place for the business. I could have worked from home but we both felt that our little flat would become too crowded so we started looking for a space. We considered different options and eventually found a studio in Woodstock in a building called The Mason’s Press which is a re-vamped warehouse that is popular with designers from different industries. It is also convenient worked out really well for our business because it is surrounded by fabric shops.
How did you overcome them?
We started off with a domestic sewing machine – an Empisal – which was good enough for simple fabric bags. Later on, we bought a second-hand industrial sewing machine for more heavy duty work. I love combining different fabrics and started working with leather but soon realised that we needed a special machine to sew leather properly. At the moment, these machines allow us to do most of what I need to.
What sets Coupe & Couture aside from similar businesses?
I love new designs, working with fabric that touches my heart, and making bespoke bags for people. This is actually what sets us apart from other businesses. While we do have a range of bags – like other companies – we specialise in bespoke design which means that we work with you to make your own unique bag, using the material you choose.
Values that describe you and your business.
As you will see from our logo, quality is important to us: we want our customers to be happy with what we have made and so work on ensuring top quality workmanship. We also value integrity in business, and aim to always keep our word and do everything with honesty and integrity.
Their marketing strategy
You could say that our marketing strategy is content creation where share journey with the friends, followers and customers that have joined me along the way. I love new designs, working with fabric that touches my heart, and making bespoke bags for people. This is actually what sets us apart from other businesses. While we do have a range of bags – like other companies – we specialise in bespoke design which means that we work with you to make your own unique bag, using the material you choose.
Advice to aspiring business women?
My advice would be to surround yourself with the right people – ‘misery loves company’ is something that Gary speaks about, a marketing and advertising expert. Something else: be patient. Building a business takes time and you need to persevere. There will be times when things don’t go your way. It’s also important to know what your strengths are – and go all in on these – as well as your weaknesses. Try to partner with people who can do things that you are not good at for a good team. For example, my husband does the accounts for the business because I am not good with numbers! As you will see from our logo, quality is important to us: we want our customers to be happy with what we have made and so work on ensuring top quality workmanship. We also value integrity in business, and aim to always keep our word and do everything with honesty and integrity
Where can people find you?