Women Entrepreneurs are making an undeniable, positive impact on our South African economy and Amy Portman is no exception. In the short period that she has been in business, she has created employment and earning opportunities for a number of people. Amy employs a full time seamstress, 2 packers and outsources different aspects of her business to local CMT’s (Cut, Make, Trim), printers and embroiderers.
We value our FRIENDS and are blessed to have Amy as a FRIEND of MOMentsbydjzinhle
I am Amy Portman, wife and expectant mother, born and raised in Johannesburg. I have always loved and been drawn to brands, especially fashion and lifestyle brands and hoped one day I would have my own brand. I come from a big loving extended family and adore children and spending time with friends. I pride myself on being unique, passionate and not being afraid of hard work. I tried the corporate route for a while but ultimately decided to take a chance, follow my dreams and become an entrepreneur.
The names Lullaby Rock (Pty) Ltd and Nova couture Girls Clothing, came about when I decided to merge three of my passions, music, fashion and my love for babies and children. I have unique range of baby and children’s clothing and accessories that focus on edgy and fashion forward trends while still staying comfortable for your little Rockstars to play in all day.
The Lullaby Rock range focuses mainly on boy’s clothing as I saw I definite gap in the market but I do consider the range unisex or rather gender neutral, thus giving you the freedom to dress to your unique little bundles in a unique way.
The Nova Couture Range is completely opposite of LR, it is girly, frilly, pretty and full of florals. The range is small and more couture so, again, focusing on the unique aspect.
I am inspired by adult fashion trends but converting them in a way that will compliment little one’s and make them stand out from the crowd. I believe we all dress to show our personalities and why not show off our little ones personalities as well.
I started my range a little over two years ago called Lullaby Rock – Rocking baby Apparel.. which says it all really! I have been inspired by music, motorcycling, tattoo’s, lifestyle brands and fashion. A couple of my best sellers include Faux leather vests, jackets and vests, as well as, Rock n Rolla Rompers, matching sets, Spit happens bibs and Microphone Rattles. I also launched a sister brand earlier in the year called Nova Couture Girls Clothing which is very unique couture, girly, full of flowers, bows and lace and is basically the complete opposite of Lullaby Rock and yet they compliment each other well and you can mix and match between the ranges for a very cute and edgy style.
There are a lot of challenges to overcome when starting your own business, including the obvious ones such as not having a set salary and starting up expenses which are always more that you initially estimate because there are unforeseen costs and trial and error when trying to be innovative. The hardest part about starting a business is starting. I take my hat off to every single Entrepreneur out there because actions really do speak louder that words. It sounds cliché but it is true, another truth is that if it were easy everyone would do it.. The “teething phase” for my particular type of business includes challenges such as finding the right fabrics, printers and manufacturer’s or seamstresses. Then designing the range myself comes with a lot of hours of questioning my designs and wondering if what I like is what the customers want to see and more importantly, what they “have to have”. It’s pointless having “cute” stuff that doesn’t evoke emotion in the customer and make them buy it.
The most important factors to keep in mind when dealing with customers in my industry are made up of 3 key factors. Firstly, my customers really appreciate good service and that includes point of sale, one on one interaction, and after sale service. Secondly, my customers appreciate excellent quality, especially because it is going to be worn by baby’s and children. Thirdly, customers are constantly evolving and searching for something unique and different so I am focused on staying current and ahead of trends.
I think customers should look at the fit of the garments and the quality of the fabric of the garments. All my designs are screenprinted and embroidered with high quality paint and threads. The softest fabrics are used to promote comfort and well-being for your little ones.
I am launching the Online Store this coming November… so watch this space!
Also, as the brand continues to grow and expand I will be stocking more shops all over South Africa.
My top 3 business tips for aspiring female entrepreneurs:
#1 Be authentic and stay true to your brand. Don’t be swayed by what other people are doing. Always be original.
#2 Have a vision for your brand and set short, medium and long term goals. Write down your goals and make sure they are attainable and measurable so you can tick them off the list as they come to fruition.
#3 Take calculated risks, you never know where your opportunities are going to take you. With risk comes reward.
There is nothing I would do differently, life is about the journey and every step takes you one step closer to where you are meant to be.
The most effective marketing tool for my business would definitely be the Mama Magic Baby Expo at the Dome, I have gained so much exposure from having a stand at the show now and it has helped me reach my target market in ways that other platforms haven’t.
Women I look up to and draw inspiration from ….
I definitely look up to my nan and my mom, they inspire me every day to be myself and trust myself, to do my best and be the best I can be.
I think a big factor we face as women, is the fact that even though times have changed and traditional gender roles don’t always apply, we as women still have to and want to balance raising our family while running our own businesses so there is added pressure on both fronts to succeed
I also have a showroom in Boksburg that is open to the public by appointment only.
The Online Store www.lullabyrock.co.za will be launching in November 2015 as well and it will also have a list of my stockists and how to become a stockist.
We met Amy at the Mama Magic Expo in Johannesburg in May this year and fell in love with her designs. She will be at the Mama Magic Expo in Johannesburg at the end of November so visit her stall if you are going to be there. You won’t be disappointed !!!
Wishing you all the best for the rest of your pregnancy Amy, stay blessed ….