The Happy Go Lucky Club is happy to introduce you to Rita Schalkwyk, this week’s Women of Wonder.
Like Marni, Rita identified a gap in the South African market and took a chance. With a lot of hard work and determination, Blossom Accessories is a thriving online business where you can find the latest trends in fashion accessories, handmade by Rita and her team.
Name: Rita Schalkwyk
Birthday: 19 February
Business: Blossom Accessories
My name is Rita and I live in a cosy home in Centurion, Pretoria with my husband, two fur-ball dogs and one cat. I’m currently expecting our first child and I’m feeling a healthy mix of excitement and fear. I’m not a big talker, but I love being around people. I get lost in the details and that also means that I’m usually late. I love drinking wine and attending festivals. I enjoy people who are open minded and aren’t afraid to question everything. I enjoy intellectual talks and absolutely suck at small talk. I’m a big reader and just finished reading Shantaram (Gregory David Roberts) which might have been one of the longest books I’ve ever read but it was totally worth it. I hate Sunday nights, forgetting someone’s birthday, traffic and feeling bored and restless at the same time. I got really lucky when I met my husband because he is the smartest, most generous, sweetest and amazing person I have ever met. I’m surrounded by close friends who I’ve (mostly) known a really long time and I am amazed at the level of support and inspiration they are always offering me.
I started Blossom Accessories almost three years ago, after visiting family in London. The popularity of online shopping in England really struck me during my visit and I felt sure that online shopping was going to boom in South Africa. Now, three years later, I’m happy to see that the prediction was right. My husband was supportive of the idea and I quit my day job a few months later. We lived on what we called the “Baked Bean Budget” for a while as it was some time before the business generated an income. The fact that we didn’t have any children just yet, and that my husband had a secure job at the time, made the decision possible for us and I feel extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to make that leap.
My dream for Blossom was to have an online shop that sells high fashion, handmade products at a reasonable price. I wanted to create a solution for the trendsetters who are able to spot a trend early on, but always have trouble finding the product in South Africa. We release new products on the website twice a month and only small quantities are made of each style. People are also able to contact me about a specific product that they want and if it is possible, I will make it for them. Making sure that my customers are completely satisfied is very important to me and apart from being able to create constantly and working from home, my favourite thing about my job is opening mail from happy customers who are always generous with their kind and supportive words.
- What makes you happy? Making people laugh, creating something from scratch, bad dancing and good wine.
- If there was only one thing you wanted the world to say about you, what would it be? She did things her own way.
- Who inspires you in life and why? I’m inspired by non-conformists who make people look at life differently. People who choose to take a different path just to see if the view is better. People like Jack Kerouac, Frida Kahlo, Virginia Woolf, J.D Salinger, Chuck Palahniuk.
- What is your superpower? I’m Super-Song-Lyric-Knower Woman
- How do you handle criticism? I appreciate it when someone trusts me enough to be honest with me about my faults.
- In one year from now, what will you be celebrating? My son’s first birthday!
- What has been the hardest business decision you have ever made? When I quit the job, the grey believers…
- When did you know that THIS is what you wanted to do for a living? When we attended our first market and I saw people trying on our products and hearing that they love it!
- Where is your happy place? At a festival surrounded by friends and strangers having a good time.
- What’s one quote that inspires you?
If our Women of Wonder don’t inspire you, we aren’t sure what will.
Happiness & love,
Mia & Blair