The Community offers fab fashion and a story of hope
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Sometimes a ray of hope during dark times can come in the form of a new business venture, as was the case for mom and daughter team Christine and Charissa Beukes.
The Gordon’s Bay duo founded their sustainable online shop, The Community, to bring in extra income and in honour of their late husband and father, Tommy Beukes.
Tommy died of cancer in 2019 and was a lover of the annual Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Charissa said that she remembers how he would always bring her something from the festival each year.
“My dad always brought me a jazz festival branded tote bag as a souvenir, and I carried it with me everywhere, to school and university. I always felt so cool with it,” she said.
Charissa, 21, said starting The Community was a light at the end of the tunnel after her dad's death.
“It’s so easy to feel defeated after the loss of a loved one, but we used this as an opportunity to uplift ourselves.” she said.
She added: "My mom had a sewing machine for years but used it less in the last few years because of how ill my dad became. My dad's jazz festival memories inspired us to start making and selling tote bags."
The Community is a sustainable online store that sells tote and drawstring bags, scrunchies and accessories that are handmade by the mother and daughter pair. All off-cut material from the tote bags is used to make the rest of the items, to minimise waste.
“I’ve been aware of the negative effect of plastic use on the environment. Our bags are reusable, and we want to play our part in taking care of the environment," Charissa said.
Charissa is currently completing her Honours degree in Chinese at the University of Stellenbosch. Throughout her BA degree, NSFAS paid for her studies but stopped doing so this year.
"We started The Community for extra income and to contribute to a sustainable lifestyle. Now I get to pay for my education as well.”
Christine Beukes, 60, is a stay at home mom who previously worked as a secretary and now helps her daughter with the business.
“When we started this business, we didn’t know where it would go, but I wanted to support her because I knew the profits would go towards her education.”
She added: “I’ve learned not to underestimate the beginning of small things. We are hopeful that it will continue to do well.”
The Community was named after the theme of inclusivity and always wanting to empower people.
The Community was named after the theme of inclusivity and wanting to empower people.
“We are here for the community. We’ve gone through a lot together and we know there’s power in being present for your community,” Christine said.