STITCHING her way to success, seamstress and self-taught fashion designer Wilhelmina Iimene (24) continues to use her passion to produce quality handmade crocheted garments.
Iimene established the Namibian clothing brand KalaCrochet in 2019.
The brand impressed during the MTC Windhoek Fashion Week Fashion Pitch Night, held in collaboration with Launch Namibia in 2020, when they made it to the top five finalists and ultimately scooped the second prize.
According to Iimene, KalaCrochet garments are perfect for all seasons, with the specific type of wool chosen to best suit each garment being created.
“The products are passionately made with love, and with every stitch the brand strives to keep its customers coming back for more.”
Iimene says the brand started as a small idea and was initially just something to pass the time.
“At the start, it only specialised in making simple bralettes and halter tops.”
However, at the start of 2020, Iimene took a leap of faith and stepped into the business arena, offering custom-made clothing items on order.
“It built its foundation in the saturated community of already well-established businesses, which only served as motivation, because if others could do it, so could I,” she says.
Iimene stands firm in the belief that while many people can crochet “nobody can do it like KalaCrochet”.
This type of thinking has cemented the brand's foundations, and as their social media following increased, so did word-of-mouth referrals.
This was a dream come true for Iimene.
In 2021, the brand became a registered business, operating as a sole proprietorship, and finally moved out of the owners' bedroom and into a working studio. And this year, the brand opened its first-ever online store, allowing clients and new customers to purchase ready-to-wear items.
“Now, KalaCrochet custom makes literally anything, including picture portraits,” says Iimene.
Iimene was born at Iikokola-Elombe in the Oshikoto region. She studied English and linguistics at the Namibia University of Science and Technology, and describes herself as a curious and creative being, who is always keen on trying out new hobbies to fuel her many passions.
“My aspiration in life is to be happy and filthy rich, so much so that I don't look at price tags.”
Her plans for this year include employing one or two people to help run the business, allowing her to focuses on bigger things.
“I have a lot coming. The main goal is to go international. So, I hope the website attracts international customers and potential investors.”