Thuleka Duze is a Gugulethu woman who went from flight attendant to soaring entrepreneur.
She is the co-owner of ATG EKASI Handbags and Apparel, a clothing line which uses colorful prints and vibrant fabrics from across the continent.
ATG EKASI designs and makes handbags, clothes and even refurbishes shoes. The bags are made from scratch using, fabric, foam, glue and stitching.
It all started in her backroom in Gugulethu, and her business has grown in leaps and bounds.
Duze says she always knew she had a knack for fashion but had to stick to her day job as a flight attendant.
She started her range in 2014 while still working for SAA then took a leap of faith and resigned the following year in August.
ATG EKASI was sponsored space to exhibit at the Design Indaba earlier this year and have since attracted some intentional clientele.
Duze also enrolled at the University of Stellenbosch’s Small Business Academy which aims to support townships entrepreneurs.
She says this has helped improve her business skills and ability to market ATG EKASI better.
She and her co-owner employ three other workers and are currently based on Long Street at the Pan African Market.
Duze explains that the use of African prints has been inspired by her travels and her Ghanaian business partner.
ATG EKASI is planning to expand to other premises and provinces and grow the range of the business as demand increases.
Duze says she hopes to establish a skills centre that creates jobs for unemployed youth in the next two years.
Listen to the inspiring interview here: