Brenda QuinnWe had an opportunity to have a Q and A session with Brenda Quinn of Diva designs. We met her at her studio in Hillcrest.

Q: When was the first time you fell inlove with fashion?
A: I was around  19 years old.

 

Q: How long have you been in the fashion industry?
A: I have been in the industry since 1994.

 

Q: How has your brand and designs evolved over the years?
A: My brand has been very much like a wheel, going round and round and round but for ever evolving from Evening and cocktail wear and then back to today wear and then back again.I will feel where the market is taking me at that present moment and move with it. Fashion is forever changing but somehow old trends come back again . So as a designer you need to be prepared to change with it. You need to be flexible and adapt quickly.

 

Q: What has contributed to your success as a designer and a brand?
A: Understanding  my market. Your customer will always be the one to guide you in the direction you need to go. Listen well to what they have to say by fulfilling there needs , you will always have a happy client. I never stop aggressively marketing  my Brand, I am always looking for an opportunity for growth. I set goals , small achievable goals. One of mine is to make sure I have made 5 new contacts a day , everyday.

 

Q: How many people are under your employ now?
A: 12

 

Q: You’ve showcased at DFF previously, how has this platform helped your brand?
A: Showcasing at DFF has helped me to create awareness of my Brand , it has opened doors to a new audience. It has given me the opportunity to grow my business.

 

Q: How does SA fashion compare to the rest of the world?
A: I think we are getting there , we just need access to do Trade Shows and Fashion Weeks in other countries. We need the World to start noticing us . We need to embrace our culture of vibrant people and not be afraid to use our beautiful African printed fabric. We need to get the word excited about what we do.

 

Q: Will you be exporting your brand to other countries?
A: I am exporting to Namibia at present and I do have an export license. I was exporting to The UK a couple of years ago to a Shop called Blue Moon unfortunately there was a change of ownership and it fell flat
I am at present looking at trying to export into Africa and into the USA. I have done a fair amount of homework and have contacted a few people but at present still working on it.  Work in progress .

 

Q: What is one thing that you wished somebody told you before entering the fashion industry?
A: Do your homework first , have a business plan, know how you are going to turn this business into money  , because without money there is no business

 

Q: What advise would you give designers that are about to enter DFF mentorship program?
A: Fashion is not a game , it’s not about glamour and recognition, it’s about hard work, determination, blood , sweat and tears. it’s about falling down and getting back up, Its about believing in yourself, being self driven and motivated to succeed. The bottom line is , how are you going to turn your passion into a viable business. If you don’t understand the business side of fashion , how are you ever going to make it as a successful designer, Fashion shows , newspaper articles and the glamour part is all part of marketing yourself, but it does not pay the bills. You need to think out the box all the time. If you are doing a show you need to think very hard on how you are going to turn that very show into making money .

 

If you are lucky enough to enter the DFF mentor ship program, work hard and I mean really hard. Show commitment . Your have been given an opportunity of a lifetime, don’t throw it away.
Enjoy what you are doing.