How to make it in textiles

26 Apr 2018

Lenyaro Sello

Digital content specialist

Tame Custom Apparel owner and Investec CSI Young Entrepreneur Tamlyn Sadie reflects on her business journey from teaching herself everything there is to know about textile manufacturing to opening a factory and producing custom-made clothing for major companies. 

At the age of 23, with no business, fashion design or manufacturing experience, Tamlyn Sadie decided she wants to make clothes for a living. Ten years later, she is producing anything from custom-made jackets and dresses to bottle covers.
 
Her business now boasts a factory, she opened in 2013, employing over 20 people in Newtown, Johannesburg. It hasn’t been an easy journey, with tough economic times in the country hitting the textile industry hard in recent years.
 
But having the space and capability to move production in-house changed the business.
 
“Our big unique selling point is our turnaround time, we work on a two to three-week deadline whereas the industry is four to six weeks.”
 
“When we moved everything in-house that’s really when the business exploded in the sense that we had more control over quality, deadlines, staff and also the other thing was to keep local manufacture alive and to employ people.”
 
She has found innovative ways to stay ahead of her competitors and push the boundaries in a struggling industry.
 
“Our big unique selling point is our turnaround time, we work on a two to three-week deadline whereas the industry is four to six weeks.”
 
But in 2018, her biggest challenge is limited fabrics in South Africa, something she hopes she can find a solution to during the Investec CSI’s Young Entrepreneurs Programme textile trip to Berlin.
Tamlyn Sadie

When we moved everything in-house that’s really when the business exploded in the sense that we had more control over quality, deadlines, and staff.

Tamlyn Sadie, Owner of Tame Custom Apparel

Tamlyn’s five tips on becoming a successful entrepreneur

 

Don’t lose sleep over the small things

In the beginning, I did – I lost countless nights and there is nothing you can’t fix tomorrow. You will always make a plan and you will always make sure everything is okay. Don’t lose sleep over that. 
           

Service your clients properly

Always service them and make sure they are looked after, or they will go somewhere else. That is something I have been very big on, giving them the best service.
 

Look after your staff

Making sure that they have a place to come to that makes them happy.
 

Believe in yourself

You must believe that you can make it work and that’s what I did from the beginning. I knew that I wanted to make this work and I was dead set on never being employed by someone else again. So that was my driving force.
 

Look for growth opportunities

Decide where you want to be in the industry, do you want world domination? Do you want a massive factory? Or do you want something that is comfortable that you can control?

Investec CSI's Young Entrepreneurs Programme

A global programme

Our young entrepreneurs’ platform exposes South African entrepreneurs to global business thinking. This year's trips include Israel, Berlin, Singapore and Helsinki.

Sector focus

Every year Investec, in partnership with En-novate, sends a group of young entrepreneurs from various sectors to specifically selected countries in order to gain global exposure. 

Networking opportunity

Each itinerary provides them with opportunities to network and to engage with venture capitalists, funders and captains of industry.

Inspiration

The aim is for them to return home not only stimulated and inspired, but also with a list of potential partners, funders and markets for their product or service.  

Apply for Investec CSI's Young Entrepreneurs programme

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About the author

Lenyaro Sello

Lenyaro Sello

Digital content specialist

Lenyaro is a key member of Investec's Global Content team, based in Johannesburg, who focuses on relevant and topical issues for internal and external audiences including clients. She is a well-travelled multi-skilled multimedia journalist who previously held roles within eNews Channel Africa (eNCA) and Eyewitness News (EWN).

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