Luxury craftsmanship, to “tread lightly on the planet” and created a unique market as opposed to those being flooded with synthetic Chinese imports, were the main drivers for South African, Candice Johnson.
Using South African raw materials and local, traditional skills, Miss Knitwear came into being. Candice calls it “the story of a dream and a goat.” Realising that the world was turning its attention towards handmade products with a green footprint which also supports the communities in which the business is run, the time was ripe for this young woman to become an entrepreneur.
With a father whose enterprising spirit rubbed off on her, Candice had a vision for a luxury knitwear brand, made from beautiful kid mohair and ostrich feathers, once one of South Africa’s most in-demand exports.
Miss Knitwear is a celebration of traditional South African talent and skills featuring not only beautiful accessories, but even wedding dresses with a difference. Candice says her products are created to make women feel nurtured and luxurious.
This Cape Town-based designer’s product line is unique, focused on quality, durability and warmth. “The hollow fibres make it very light in weight and it does not have scales, like wool, which irritate the skin” says Candice. It creates coolness in summer and warmth in winter as the fibres adjust to body temperature. Every one of her products is hand-made and the range is constantly added to. With new styles and innovation at the heart of the business, much needed employment is also created for local people.
The Miss Knitwear team of a dedicated group of knitters works from a factory in the Mother City. Candice says she is proud of the relationships she had built with her team, since the time she worked as a as a senior knitwear designer at a local manufacturer.
The super soft and plush fabric is finished off with feathers, beading and labelling, designed by Candice herself. She does her own marketing and promotional work and sales.
After 15 years in the knitting and clothing industry, Candice is au fait with production processes. Armed with skill, talent and the support of especially her father, there was never any doubt that Miss Knitwear would be a success. The brand already has a strong identity, appealing to men and women looking for luxury, softness and excellent quality.
Candice aims to become a well-known name in the South African luxury goods market and then take the talents of her knitters to the global stage. She had already taken steps to expand Miss Knitwear into the European market and is currently supplying a boutique in the South of France, where her products are much sought after. She says that clients are thrilled with the standard and quality of this unique local product.
Her advice to those who wish to become entrepreneurs is to understand that hard times and difficulties are part and parcel of a business, but to stay focussed and not worry too much about making mistakes. “If you are following your passion and your heart is in it, the universe will do the rest and send success your way,” Candice says.