The South African fashion industry is growing rapidly and the appearance of online clothing stores is growing even faster. One online store that caught my attention on Instagram was Nude Co. Their #FaceOfNude competition attracted hundreds of followers and potential customers - probably due to the chic and trendy layout of their brand that everyone wanted to be a part of. I interviewed the founders of Nude Co, Jessica and Dean, to learn more about the development of the business and their personal goals.
What are your interests?
Jessica: Personally, I have many interests and narrowing them down is quite difficult. But to be broad, I'm just really interested in learning. Fact[s], life, new skills, anything.
Dean: I like to be outside so I'm into anything that can be done outdoors. Also, adrenaline. I dig any activity that will make me feel closer to death. My interests include poetry, literature and fashion.
Why did you decide to start an online clothing business?
Jessica: We had the idea for about 2 years, but never really had the means to go through with it. I saw how successful online clothing stores were, and how much fun people who owned them had whilst working. It wasn't until Dean got super interested in the idea that we decided to go through with it together. He's actually the one that motivated us to go through with it.
Dean: Both of us are super independent and we're always looking for ways to be less dependent on our parents. We both are into fashion so it kind of made sense to open a clothing store.
What drew you to get into business with your partner? (Why did you choose Jessica/Dean as your partner in this business?)
Jessica: Being in a relationship with someone is easy compared to being in a business relationship. We figured, that because we work so well together in a romantic partnership, we could work just as well in a business relationship. We knew that it would challenge our relationship, but that's what made us more excited to work together. We both love a challenge. Yet, it hasn't been challenging at all so far!
Dean: Constantly looking for ways to push our relationship further and further to get it to a mature and stable level that I think we both want. It's one thing to be partners in a romantic relationship but it's a completely different ball game being partners in a business relationship. With that said though, I think we're both on the same page when it comes to being mature enough to be able to balance both. I'd still choose Jessica as my business partner if we weren't a couple because she's focused and has a natural business mind. She's just brilliant!
How are you different from the online clothing businesses in South Africa?
Dean: We strive to be unique. A brand that stands out from the crowd. We don't just stick to one type of clothing. We have variety. We have street style, beach wear and our classy side as well. Our business caters to all style types. We also try to bring the fashion that people see online into South Africa. We feel like a lot of people see really stunning apparel but can't find it anywhere in the country. By us ordering it from overseas and bearing the risk of non arrival or bad quality, it kind of takes that worry off our customers. Being a Durban based company, I'm sure they'll feel a whole lot more confident when ordering from us.
What is your main goal for the business?
Jessica: Honestly, just to create something that (if it doesn't succeed) we can look back on and think "Hey, doing that was a lot of fun." We don't want this business venture to be a negative experience. We just want to have fun and make people look good!
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
Dean: We want to have actual stores, in Johannesburg, Cape Town - all around South Africa- and have our clothing be available to international customers as well!
What is the biggest challenge you've faced thus far?
Jessica: Negative feedback. There's been a lot said about us, attacking who we are as people and our judgments etc, not even just our business. But at the end of the day, these negative people won't get in the way of us moving forward.
What are your personal goals?
Jessica: To own an animal shelter!
Dean: I don't aspire to make loads of money but I do want to become successful in the sense of I want to put all my effort into the things I start and to see things through. I want to be a living, breathing invitation to believing in better things. My biggest goal in life is to really just figure myself out and manifest into the best version of me that there is.
Where do you see yourself personally in 5 years?
Jessica: On a beautiful island doing what I'm passionate about, working with my partner and saving animals.
Dean: In 5 years I wish to be 100% independent. I want to have my own place, own car and a decent and stable job. I believe that a person's 20's are vital for self discovery. Finally feeling the full load of a financial burden helps grow a person and same goes for plenty other life lessons we encounter on our journey.
What is your favourite quote?
Jessica: "Do you ever know what the birds are singing? You don't. But you listen anyway. So, sometimes with art, it is important just to look." - Pablo Picasso
Dean: My favorite quote... I can maybe only think of three other questions that would be harder to answer than this one. Um, it's difficult for me to choose one since a quote that cuts you deep usually depends on life situations you're going though or have just overcome. If I had to choose one that is really "up there" on my list for this interview I'd go with:
"Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision." - Salvador Dali.
Jessica and Dean are the type of people that excite me. Their attitude towards life and work are pure elements to lasting success. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for them (fingers crossed for those stores in Jozi and the Mother City)!
For more information on Nude Co., visit their Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/nude_co
Love and light,