Nondumiso Mkhatshwa found a purpose in life when she discovered beading, which she found way more satisfying than her nine-to-five job. She found so much joy and fulfillment in the craft of making various accessories, that she named her business Nondi’s Creations, which reflected her gratitude to God for this gift and her love to create. A little less than six months after she started her beading, she was already designing earrings for one of South Africa’s most-loved celebrities and singers, Lira.
That opportunity, she said, flung the door wide open for her. Mkhatshwa told Vutivi News that if there was any kind of business she was hoping to get into, it would have been making clothes. “When I was in university, I worked with a friend of mine and we crocheted clothes while we were studying,” she said.
“The business did not go further than that, so I was definitely not expecting to be making accessories from beads.” Mkhatshwa, who is based in Tshwane, said that her business was established in 2017 when she was looking for something to help her with stress relief after a day at being at work, she turned to bead.
“I started going to a nearby bead supplier and would buy different beads and experiment with different styles as my interest grew,” she said. “I sent some of my sampled work to my friends and family and they were so stunned and impressed by my work that they encouraged me to start a business and post my craft online.”
Mkhatshwa makes various accessories including bangles, bags, personalised bracelets and necklaces. She told Vutivi News that she did not wait for something to land in her lap to build her business, and instead got proactive. “Six months after I started making accessories, I reached out to songstress Lira on Instagram,” she said. “I started liking her posts and she liked my posts in return and that is where our conversation started. She started supporting me by buying my accessories, and as a gift of gratitude, I designed earrings especially for her and sent them to her.
“She liked them so much that she wore them at a performance she did with international R&B artist Eric Benet,” she said. Mkhatshwa said this created many opportunities, including supplying two upmarket shops in Sandton and Illovo until they had to close due to the pandemic. However, this had not stopped her in her tracks.
“I regularly collaborate with other designers where we do pop-up stores,” she said. “I worked with fashion houses like Indoni Fashion House and others.” And she has other plans. “I won’t stop until I impart my beading skills to the children of my community in Mpumalanga and create employment opportunities,” the designer said. “I also want to expand so that my name can reach even the furthest corners of Africa, and eventually, the world.”