After a degree at the University of Cape Town, she lived in London for five years, starting her career in digital advertising, but didn’t find it too glamorous, so returned to South Africa, and with a little help from “a family member” (who she has to repay in five years), bought the Bloss & Co business in 2014, turning entrepreneur at 30 and building it up.
Her “affordable luxury handbags” are available in tony boutiques in Parkhurst and Dainfern. They are also at her Parktown North showroom, and their USP, she says, is personalized service, the cappuccino and warm environment.
A company of three employees, including two other partners, they source the leather and metalware from markets in China. Going forward, there are plans afoot to manufacture in South Africa and collaborate with local talent, as they did most recently with South African botanical artist Kelly Higgs, who designed beach bags for them, showcasing South African fauna and flora.
Blackie’s structured posh totes in bright colors are the most sought-after.
“Our vision is bright colors and versatility – a backpack that can be used as a clutch and sling bag; a clutch that also turns into a cross-body bag. What we have found is that the SA market does not follow what happens in the catwalks of London and Paris. It comes down to practicality… They are bags that look luxurious but don’t cost R50,000 ($3,120).” A genuine leather Bloss & Co bag would only set you back R2,499 ($156), so it’s worth a look.
Blackie married a commodities trader in December last year, but she has a busy year planned: to roll out a luxury range in Lagos, and a “sophisticated” Afro-chic line in London.