“I literally clapped for myself after handing in my resignation letter. I felt so free and liberated,” says entrepreneur Inga Sebata who took the bold step of quitting her 9-to-5 job to start her clothing business, Stitched By Inga.
Sebata, who formally started her company in 2019, says she initially started making clothes as a hobby.
“Stitched By Inga started as a hobby, something I wanted to do outside of being a mom and wife.
“I never had intentions of it being a fully-fledged business with employees. It was really just a passion I wanted to do on the side,” Sebata tells IOL Wealth.
Leaving her full-time job to focus on her business “was a bold and proud move for me....”.
Sebata says her clothing business is different from others because of the home consultations she does for clients who aren’t able to come to her.
“The experience at my business is not just about clothes and fashion; we make clients feel valued and important,” Sebata says.
Sebata says the idea for her business came from her love of fashion, class, timeless pieces, accessibility and affordability.
The online store sells the latest in fashion items and is aimed at all women “who are looking for comfortable and daring ready-to-wear clothes”.
The entrepreneur says her business has grown considerably in three years. She initially started with one R8000 sewing machine, a dream and passion – now she has five sewing machines.
“Without revealing numbers, revenue has more that tripled and this makes me so proud because I’ve worked really hard to get it to where it is today.”
She also built a home studio, but her goal is to have a physical, brick-and-mortar store in Johannesburg. She also hopes to partner with other retailers to list her clothing line in their stores, as well as to have her brand known both nationally and internationally.
“Surprisingly, my business did very well during the pandemic and as a small business I saw a rise in consumers wanting to buy local in an effort to make sure some businesses don’t close down. This made the difference.”
Her proudest moment as an entrepreneur is seeing clients happy when wearing her designs, and she counts Basetsana Kumalo, Dr Precious Motsepe and Oprah Winfrey as her business inspirations.
For entrepreneurs who are think of quitting their 9-to-5 job to start a business, Sebata offers the following advice:
“Make sure you have enough savings and pay off any debts that you owe; business is unpredictable. Some months are better than others, but if you have a rainy-day account you won’t feel it, so save, save and save.”