In 2012 and 2013 so many friends and colleagues came to me with little sewing oddjobs and repairs (a sewing machine was a boon in university residence) that I decided to try market my skills a little bit.
I sent out Facebook posts and even flyers to the rest of campus advertising that I could do repairs, alterations and a few simple garments. Most students just needed a button replaced or a seam redone, but I got quite a few more interesting jobs too.
At first I was doing the oddjobs for my friends as a favour, but after more people took an interest and I started to advertise more, and offers of payment were regular, I decided to accept small payments for my work. Don’t get me wrong, to me a button and a loose thread are not worth more than 50c, and I didn’t ask for anything for ages. (I think this gave me a good rep – I was closer and more accessible than the local seamstresses and tailors, and definitely more affordable, and – in my opinion – more flexible and nice about it).
For small little jobs we traded what we could afford to offer – I often got payments in the form of a slab of chocolate, a small tin of coffee or a pack of cigarettes. Essential student things.
The beginnings of a label
It was after my first proper sewing job at uni that I realised I was an entrepeneur. I’d slipped into the business world without noticing. All those primary school business venture projects paid off! Of course, this realisation spurred on the need to have a name, a brand, worth marketing. Something I could put on a tag in my garments. A short and sweet reminder to the world that I made this.
I came up with Brinnjal. It was one of my mom’s nicknames for me (my middle name is Brinn). I also happen to love brinjals (eggplant to Americans, or aubergine to most of the rest of the world). Turns out the word ‘brinjal’ isn’t just used in South Africa like I thought, but also in South and Southeast Asia as well. Another fun fact, it is also known as a melongene, garden egg, or guinea squash. Apparently it came from a species of nightshade (eep!) and is related to both the tomato and potato. That is so apt – the purple tomato-potato plant is a good description of it! Garden egg sounds so cute as well. I think this plant has more names than it has recipes to use it in.
That’s enough learning for now (thanks Wikipedia) – back to the point. I had a name, and a design for the logo (a brinjal, obviaaaasly). I Googled extensively to make sure it wasn’t being used already by anyone.
A logo somewhat lacking…
My first use of my logo!! It was for the aforementioned sewing project. I used satin in livid pink and green teeshirting and glued them down. The writing is in Typex, and I am appalled at my handwriting. The whole thing was done on a box (the one my PC motherboard came in) painted black. It was further decorated in lace and used as the ‘wrapping’ of the dress, which was a birthday present. We even lined the inside with black fabric and threw in rose petals for extra prettiness.
This was the affirmation that what I was doing was worth other people’s attention, that I was good enough at it to share it with people other than my immediate family (who would love anything I made, regardless). Yay, me!
UPDATE: This is a very old post. Check out our latest blog post that shows the evolution of the logo into its current form.
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